Cover Image: The Bone Wars

The Bone Wars

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Member Reviews

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book just did not stand out. I'd say this is half my fault for requesting for an ARC when I was never really interested in this kind of stuff. Info dumps were slightly exhausting and annoying but it was overall a fine book. It was average.
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I never DNF books, but this one just couldn't drag me in. The title is super intriguing and the summary made it sound like something that would be right up my ally. Unfortunately it just wasn't for me. That is not to say that there aren't readers out there who might love it. 
I really like information to be released gradually and to make sense, but the info dumps were a bit much for me. I will probably come back and try to finish this one eventually since I never DNF, but we will see.
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Erin Evan gave me full fledged 80's vibes with The Bone Wars.  As if Jurassic Park and The Goonies had a book baby.  16 year old Molly discovers a new and unidentifiable fossil that will bring about a whole new world to the badlands in Montana.  While this book had a great storyline, the delivery felt forced and not fully developed.  A fun read, but not an in-depth one.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Y'all know that I hate DNF'ing ARCs. HATE IT. I feel this overwhelming sense of guilt anytime I don't finish a book if the publisher was kind enough to provide it for free. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get through this.

"The Bone Wars" is basically like if Jurassic Park met The DaVinci Code but for teenagers. I have no idea why Evan chose to write this story as YA, I think it would've made a million times more sense for this to be an adult novel. But whatever.

There are info dumps, and an MC who is a skilled paleontologist at the age of 16 somehow? Also, the writing just isn't that strong. On the first page along we have both of these nonsensical quotes:

"'Look up, Molly!' she'd say. 'You're missing the world.' Yet my eyes never left the ground." 
For context, this snippet is referencing how the MC's mom wasn't supportive of her dino-digging dreams. But like....why? I've not encountered many parents who would have an issue with their child becoming a respected scientist but....okay.

"The town felt slow, even from a thousand feet in the air." I don't even know what this means.

I don't know...the idea behind this is super cool but it feels like the execution was wildly off.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Inkshares, and Erin S. Evan for the opportunity to honestly review an e-arc of The Bone Wars: The Pirates of Montana.

Molly is a 16 year old with a passion for paleontology.  Over the summer, she is lucky enough to win an internship at an active dig site in the Badlands of Montana.  While there, Molly stumbles across the fossil of what could be a dragon, and after a secret society steals the fossil, she must team up with a group of renowned paleontologists to track it down.

This was an interesting read for me.  The plot itself was good.  The premise is interesting and made me want to keep reading, but the execution and the characters made me want to put it down.  Our main character, Molly, and her interactions with our supporting characters seem very unrealistic.  She is supposed to be 16, but is treated as an expert on many obscure topics without much questioning by the rest of the characters, who are actually experts in their fields.  Her random knowledge is taken as fact without much questioning and it just seemed a little strange.  

Another of the main issues I had was the voices of the different characters.  All of the perspectives sound almost identical when reading and, in some cases, it was only through the process of elimination that I was able to figure out who’s perspective we were following.  I don’t know if it was an arc formatting issue, or if they weren’t there, but having the name of the character with the chapter title might be an easy solution to this issue.

Now, despite those things, I really did enjoy the plot.  I loved the scavenger hunt adventure and the mystery kept me engaged and kept me reading to the end.  I don’t know if this is the start of a series or not, but if it is, I will gladly give the next book a read.
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It's a mediocre book. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either.

The characters did not stand out to me. The plot was basic and easy to follow, but I was not fully engaged in the story. The writing was OK. I was never absorbed in the story nor was I ever attached to the characters. Overall, it's a really okay book.
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While the story itself is entertaining the numerous paleontological facts continuously being referenced detracted from the story for me. As did the characters who lacked depth. It read as YA fiction. 

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for my ARC.
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This book had such a phenomenal plot, and I was incredibly interested going in. However the writing was slow and I struggled to make it through, so I can't form much of an opinion. Characters seemed strong, the writing just didn't keep up.
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I really enjoyed aspects of this book but found there were sections that I didn't love which brought my rating down slightly.

This book follows a group of palaeontologists when they discover a new bone fossil that is nothing like anyone has ever seen before. Overnight, everything they'd been working on gets taken away by a mystery group of people, taking everything, including their new find. This left the crew two options, forget everything they saw and what they didn't get a chance to learn, or go after their missing fossils. 

I enjoyed how this book easily and accessibly taught you about palaeontology and the history of dinosaurs. I found the facts stuck in my brain easily while also being incredibly enjoyable. I loved watching the characters develop and how certain pasts intertwined to give the reader a full understanding of the points of view you follow.

I did find that the book was slightly confusing in places, namely when each chapter started with a point of view change. at the start of the book it was very hard to figure out who you were now in the point of view of, this did get easier as the book progressed and you started to understand each of the characters however. Personally I think this book would have been better suited to remaining in only Mollie's point of view for the whole book.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book to teens wanting an easy read, or people interested in learning the basics of palaeontology in a quick and simple way.
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The concept of this sounded really fascinating, but it's really infodumpy -- am I reading fiction or a textbook about dinosaurs and palaeontology? -- and I didn't find that the characters really came to life for me. It felt rather young, partly because of the protagonist (who is 16, but nonetheless super-duper great at palaeontology and experienced at everything etc etc). 

Just... didn't feel believable to me, which is always a kiss of death! I bet it'd be exciting to some young teens, though.
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Big oof. I had to binge this just because it was so annoying. If I had tried to take my time, I knew I would never have actually finished.

This book is trying to be some kind of YA Jurassic Park Da Vinci Code adventure. It succeeds in kind of being The 39 Clues, but without the fun gimmicks.

It has all the emotional depth of The 39 Clues as well; the only aspect that makes it more YA than Young Reader is that no kid would be willing to sit through so many regurgitated Wikipedia pages on fossils. The character work also reminds me of The 39 Clues, in that every person is given only one (1) personality trait and just runs with it as hard as possible.

There's dinosaur bones and evil secret societies and good secret societies, traveling all over Europe to desecrate museums in search of secret codes, a decent amount of repetitive yelling at each other, Molly knowing way more than every adult about every single imaginable topic, etc. The motivations and interactions get a little deeper near the end, but by that point I couldn't bring myself to care.

Overall, annoying. Not worth it.
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Dragons existed, and we have scientists and fossil hunters dealing with crazy people who want to keep that fact hidden away.

It took me some time to get into this because it's not a genre I'd normally read, and well, there is something off about how it's written. The characters are really badly put together, and I can't stand any of them; I was okay with the order killing them. For example, Molly herself is insane as a character; a weird testament to how you need crazy job experience just for an internship; but also she's 16 and should really not be traveling with weird strangers like this. She also knew more than all the adults in the room all the time, which made this read like a YA book instead of an adult fiction book. All the other cliches, like the villain's reasons, also took this a notch down; and I didn't understand Sara's reasoning at all.

However, the idea behind the book isn't bad. It draws on the fact that almost every culture in the world has a dragon myth', and so there has to be something to that idea. The author also includes some great facts and figures one can look up and really immerse themselves in the world, but most things are explained to keep the reader going and not having to take a break to look up a bunch of things. This is the sort of book that would make a great movie, that I would 100% watch, but I wouldn't recommend as a read. But this does seem to be a debut novel, which is why I'll give a sequel a shot because the plot isn't actually bad and I'd like to see if the ending the author has in mind is any good.

Thank you NetGalley for a chance to read and review this!
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Molly has spent her whole life looking down. With dreams of being a paleontologist, a summer in Montana working on a field site just what she wants. But when she stumbles upon a mysterious fossil that can only be described as a dragon, it’s stolen by a secret organization. Now, she and her mentor Sarah, along with fossil hunter Derek and famous paleontologist Dr. Oliphant are flying across continents on a chase to turn science on its head and put a stop to the Order, who want to destroy them and their fossils. The Bone Wars a quick, fun first book in a new series by Erin S. Evans. 

What I loved most about this book is it felt like a history book within a YA novel. The author uses real historical figures, famous 19th century paleontologists and scientists, to provide an alternate historical record that proves the existence of mythical beings. Likewise, the author does a fantastic job at explaining science along the way in the book, which makes the archaeological dig and the science that goes along with it seem so realistic. It added a whole new level to the book. That said, it sometimes impeded on the plot and character development. 

The shifting perspectives within the book definitely got confusing, as it never noted who was narrating the chapter and I was often a few pages into a chapter before I realized who was narrating it, so I wish that had been clearer. I also found that Molly as a character felt out of place among the adults. It felt unrealistic that they would pull her along to multiple countries without telling her dad and she was far too knowledgeable in to many convenient times to be a believable character. I almost wish this had been written as an adult book and gotten deeper into the adults of the book, as I found they were written slightly childish. 

Overall, a fun introduction into a series and I’ll be looking out for the next book.
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I adore paleontology and scientist stories about both lab life and the (mis)adventurous of collecting data, so the premise of The Bone Wars drew me in automatically; it has a really cool concept at its core, and a sharp and dynamically scientific spirit to boot (and no doubt the scientific proficiency to pull its ambitions off). That said, as a book it could do with some adjustments to how it chooses to chart a clear and coherent path for its story and characters.

The optimism I set out with derailed mostly as things progressed and it became difficult to disregard that its protagonists were pretty samey in narrative style - rather than distinct, consistent and developed, besides showcasing defining characteristics that went beyond the surface level - and thus just as difficult to connect to them separately. Personally, I also struggled to suspend disbelief when parts of the drift and substance of the novel - particularly the pop culture plugs and the plot structure - came across as a little overdone/dated (pun not deliberate, I swear). Still, I'm sure it'll appeal to a younger audience, maybe, and it definitely has series potential, if smoothed out.

Thank you to NetGalley and Inkshares for kindly passing on this ARC! 💫
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2,5/5 rounded down.

I want to say that I enjoyed many parts of this book. Despite all its shortcomings, there were great bits in The Bone Wars and I’m glad I read it.

This is a young adult novel about sixteen year-old Molly’s adventures with a team of paleontologists. Passionate about dinosaurs and mythical creatures, she discovers a fossil that doesn’t look like a dinosaur and might be the remains of a dragon. Enters a mysterious group of people who steal the fossil ; Molly and the team of paleontologists then embark on a world tour / fossil hunt, in order to discover what that strange creature was and to possibly prove the existence of dragons.

While this was ultimately very different than what I expected based on the blurb, it had many things that I loved. It’s written by someone who loves dinosaurs and paleontology, and it shows! The Bone Wars is full of passion for these, the characters are representative of the various people you could encounter in this work field, it’s full of information and facts. Really, if you love dinosaurs, paleontology and geomythology, this is a book for you. It is about people who love science, it explores many scientific ideas and concepts about the living and the evolution of our planet. At its core are questions like what defines a creature, what makes a fossil a dinosaur and not something else. There are also bits about the history of paleontology and fossil hunters, which was interesting. While the first half is more focused on geology and working on excavation sites, the second one is a journey with mysteries, ancient artifacts and secret organizations. I loved the paleontological mystery and treasure hunting vibe! The novel also contains great scenes of characters discussing scientific processes and just being nerds, which I absolutely loved.

Sadly, I also had many issues with the book. The first major one was the various changes of point of view. Multiple POVs is something I love, but I need to be able to differentiate between them and above all, to identify who is narrating. It wasn’t the case here, the switches were confusing and I sometimes had to stop and over-analyze sentences to understand who the narrator was. I think the name of the person should be added to the chapters titles. 

The Bone Wars also required so much suspension of disbelief. It’s something I can excuse if done sporadically, and when there are other things that make me love the book, but nothing here was believable. A teenager traveling overseas without parental approval, this same teenager constantly knowing more than world famous specialists about literally everything. Like, at this point I wish dragons being real were the less believable thing, but it wasn’t. This really prevented me from getting invested in the story. I’d also say that it reads more as a middle grade novel than YA ; very one-dimensional and simplistic characters, awkward middle-aged people joking about everything millennial which leads to the teenager being the smartest person in the room on a bunch of topics. The villains were also complete stereotypes, with cliché scenes of betrayal and revelations that weren’t surprising or well-written at all and looked like they were pulled from an Indiana Jones movie. Also, if you don’t care much about paleontology, geology or the history of these academic fields, this will probably bore you to death, because it is detailed and provides lots of information that was not always necessary.

As I wrote earlier, this wasn’t what I expected based on the summary. I thought I would get a more complex story, told in different timelines. While the novel does include a few letters from the nineteenth century, it all takes place in the present time. There were great ideas in there, and with this ending I guess we can expect a sequel. I probably wouldn’t recommend this book unless you are really into dinosaurs and paleontology. This felt like watching a kids show where every adult is a full-on stereotype, mixed with an 80s movie and its glaringly obvious villains ; overall enjoyable but not very satisfying and definitely forgettable.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Inkshares for this eARC.

content warnings: underage drinking, description of a corpse, violence motivated by religious (christian) extremism, guns, kidnapping, non-consensual drug use, debilitating disease.
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thanks to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with the digital arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

i could not get through this book at all. it was too drawn out and fell flat for me very early on. the premise was interesting but the execution was poor to carry out the idea of the author, in my opinion.
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I found this book to be very disappointing. The jumping from one person to another in each chapter, without identifying who was narrating, was very confusing. The  idea that a 16 year old child would be so knowledgeable that she knew more than the experts was silly. And the ham handed, cliched Raid by the BLM was something you would expect in a bad movie. I gave up reading after that, it just was not worth my time to continue.
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This book wasn't for me. I found the beginning few chapters to be long and drawn out with way too much description for me to begin to get into the book. I am glad I had to opportunity to try it, but I won't be finishing this one!
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The Bone Wars follows Molly, a budding paleontologist, who finds an unusual fossil one day. First of all the whole premise of this book really intrigued me because I was once a wannabe paleontologist. However, I was a bit disappointed with this book to be honest. There was a lot of info-dumping and much of it seemed so juvenile that I had to check that I hadn't requested a middle grade book instead. Once double checked, yes, it is in fact YA. I don't think this is necessarily a BAD thing, but honestly, I think this book in the style that it's written would be better aimed at middle grade students as I think that fans of YA might find it too simplistic.
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