Cover Image: Road of Bones

Road of Bones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you to @stmartinspress @netgalley for the digital ARC in return for my honest review.
My thoughts…
😧. That’s the “scary” emoji by the way. Because it scared me. And any thrillers/horrors with little girls are creepy AF! So, I was going to describe this as old school Stephen King and Dean Koontz, when I actually saw a review of this by Stephen King where he said, “tightly wound, atmospheric, and creepy as hell” supernatural thriller. And it was. The title “Road of Bones” attracted me because of the history behind it: I stayed for the story and fear factor. If I wasn’t feeling cold enough because of the Canadian winter, Golden’s description of cold and desolate Siberia, and the danger that comes with it, would have frozen me to my bones. The plot progressed so well that, you felt trapped, isolated and cold, along with the characters. Great world-building.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I would have. I loved the whole premise of this book and that cover is spooky - in a good way. The story was so well written and I really found this setting to be super eerie.

This is a quick read and one I would definitely recommend for thriller lovers. Again, it’s a shorter read but trust me every page has something forward to read about.

Was this review helpful?

I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley, all opinions are my own. Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review the book, it comes out today January 25, 2022.

This book was fast paced and the world building was excellent. If you a looking for paranormal horror to read this winter, this is it! We got a few inches of snow over the weekend while I was reading this and I swear I could feel the cold coming through the pages. This follows Felix Teigland or Teig on a research trip as he works to put together a documentary in the coldest place on Earth with his friend and cameraman Jack Prentiss. Teig is full of great ideas, but many of them have not panned out, but this is his last ditch effort to pitch a unique documentary about The Road of Bones. The stretch of road was home to the Soviet gulags and many people died along the road and are buried beneath it. Teig and Prentiss are accompanied by a local Yakut guide who can help them with the language, people, and locations they want to scout for their film. They want to put a bit of a paranormal twist on their film as the Road of Bones is full of ghost stories. When they reach their destination they get their fill of paranormal activity in a form they did not expect to encounter.

I would have liked a bit of background on the lore surrounding the story. I think it would have added to the creep factor. As the synopsis indicates a malignant shaman and the spirits under his command chase Teig and the people he has teamed up with through the night on the creepy Kolyma Highway. I think the author missed the mark on explaining why. We do get a bit of a reveal very late in the book, but again I would have liked a better explanation and resolution. The author delivers the creep vibes. The creatures are creepy and weird, the setting is stark and lonely, the road itself has an ominous presence. I thought the writing was good and this certainly was a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end.

Overall, I thought this book was unique in the setting and premise. It is fast paced and action packed. If you are looking for a paranormal horror book to read this winter, I recommend it!

Was this review helpful?

The set-up of Road of Bones is truly a horror lover's dream, in which a two-man film crew heads to northern Siberia in the coldest part of winter to film a documentary about life along the Kolyma Highway. This 1200-mile-long stretch of road is commonly known as the "Road of Bones" because it was literally built on top of the bones of prisoners in Stalin's gulags who died while building it, and were buried where they fell. *horror fangirl squealing*

But wait, there's more! Their ultimate destination is the northernmost village in Siberia, where their guide and his family lives and where they plan to acquaint themselves with life in the most frigid temperatures on Earth and plan out their documentary. But when they arrive, they find the village abandoned, except for one little girl who won't say a word about where everyone went, and why there are bare footprints through the snow leading to the woods. *squealing intensifies*

AND THEN, the group finds themselves pursued by malignant spirits as they retreat down the Road of Bones, battling not just the entities chasing them but also the environment itself...and maybe also the ghosts of the long-dead prisoners under their tires. *SQUEALING AT FEVER PITCH*

Needless to say, I thought Road of Bones was a fantastic supernatural horror novel, and Christopher Golden ekes every last bit of drama, tension, and terror that he can out of this concept. The novel is an intense thrill ride from the first page, and even though the book is relatively short and heavy on action, there is some incredibly nuanced character development that I appreciated. The supernatural forces are intriguing and frightening, relayed in disturbing imagery, and they inspired me to do my own research into Siberian folklore (I always love it when a book makes me want to learn more about a topic).

But the best thing about Road of Bones is that it is intensely atmospheric and transportative, drawing the reader down into its dark, frigid, claustrophobic setting. Golden makes the setting itself a character, completely immersing the reader in Siberia, an environment in which the air itself is malignant and can kill in minutes.

The ending is a bit muddled and there are a couple of very minor plot holes, but overall, Road of Bones is a relentless, tension-filled, chilling thrill ride of a book that I highly recommend for horror fans. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book -- thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for my digital copy.

Was this review helpful?

The premise of this book hooked me right away: Teig is a documentary filmmaker who wants to cover a ghost story within a supernatural road in Siberia that was built by thousands of gulag prisoners who died along the way.

The story deftly blends different genres together (folk horror, mystery, science fiction, suspense, thriller, fantasy) in an epic and interesting yet unsettling way. It's written so well that you can practically feel the chill of a Siberian winter as you read. The book is quite terrifying with a really spooky atmosphere. I enjoyed it a lot but I'm glad I didn't read this at night in the dark! I highly recommend this to anyone who likes supernatural thrillers.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher St. Martin's Press for providing an advance reader copy for review.

Was this review helpful?

Felix "Teig" Teigland is a documentary producer who has traveled to Siberia with his friend and cameraman Prentiss to film a documentary that he's sure will be a hit. They hire a local Yakut guide to take them to Oymyakon, the coldest settlement on earth. To get there, they'll travel the Kolyma Highway, otherwise known as the Road of Bones - a 1200 stretch of Siberian road. Under Stalin, at least eighty Soviet gulags were built along the route to supply the USSR with a readily available work force. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of prisoners died while working in the gulags, their bodies brutally buried where ever they fell, plowed under the permafrost, beneath the Road of Bones. Teig and his companions encounter strange creatures on the way to Oymyakon. When they finally arrive, the entire village has mysteriously been abandoned save for one silent 9 year old girl. Doors are left wide open, everyone appears to have simply walked away…

What a mood this book is! Perfect for snuggling up under a blanket on a cold winters night. Christopher Golden paints such a rich and detailed backdrop of the cold and desolate beauty of Siberia, with it's hard edge of danger. I felt the atmosphere right down to my bones. The isolation, the darkness and the extreme cold combine to create an almost overwhelming feeling of heaviness and being trapped by the elements, with nowhere to escape. Great world-building by Golden! I also loved the characters - their friendship and dialogue felt very genuine. My only complaint was that I expected the supernatural aspect to be more focused on the history of the region- I was a little disappointed that we didn't explore that further. But overall, a great read - a scary and chilling supernatural thriller. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for my opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and the author Christopher Golden. This book to me is hard to review as it was it was just that good. It is one of those books after reading it that you just look at your book and are just shock or you sit still for a bit after the read. It start off strong, middle was strong and it ended off strong. If the synopsis grabs you, most likely this will be a book for you. It is not like any other thriller that I have read.

Thanks again!

Was this review helpful?

Creepy. Will have chills dancing up and down your spine. Don't read it at night. I warned you. A heck of a good read. Happy reading!

Was this review helpful?

𝘊𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘱𝘺, 𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘸𝘰𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭!

A crazy and wild ride from start to finish, buckle up, dress warm and prepare for an action-packed story that will keep you turning pages until the very end. This is my first book from this author and it won’t be my last.

Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this gifted copy.

𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦: 𝘏𝘰𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘳, 𝘔𝘺𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘺, 𝘛𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘚𝘶𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘴𝘦, 𝘗𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘭.

Was this review helpful?

The setting alone made me want to read this right away! It takes place along the Kolyma Highway, aka Road of Bones, which is an actual highway in Russia. It earned its name because it was built by political prisoners of the Stalin regime, many of whom succumbed to the frigid temperatures and were buried beneath the road. With temperatures in winter reaching -60 degree Fahrenheit, it is in a region where the coldest temperatures outside of Antarctica have been recorded.

The book is one you cannot put down. A tension exists from the get go and builds throughout. Both the road and the cold are like characters in themselves, providing a consistent threatening presence. There is a supernatural element to the book, which threw me a little bit, but I appreciated where Golden was going with it. We are left with some questions at the end, so don’t expect everything to be explained or wrapped up all nice. That’s what makes this book even more awesome.

Highly recommend picking this up and reading on a cold day. I found myself researching the Kolyma Highway while reading, which was both disturbing and fascinating.

Was this review helpful?

A supernatural horror story set in Siberia. Tieg and Prentiss plan to make a feature film about the Kolyma highway, a road built on top of the frozen bones of the thousands of prisoners who once traveled to work in the camps of Stalin’s gulag. They are hoping it will be a ghost story...but they get so much more than they bargained for. A bone-chilling story--if you are not freezing this winter already, you soon will be when you begin this story!

I received an arc of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

The Kolyma Highway is a 1,200 km road that goes through the most desolate, frigid parts of Siberia - in winter, it can easily be one of the coldest places on earth, so cold that one minute outside unprotected could kill you. Under Stalin, rich mineral deposits were found in this remote part of Russia, and unsurprisingly, Stalin ordered the construction of gulag after gulag to house "political prisoners" - anyone who did anything remotely anti-government - to forcibly mine these minerals. Tens of thousands of people died doing this backbreaking work, and their bodies were just plowed under the permafrost on the highway - thus giving it the haunting name "Road of Bones."

Felix "Teig" Teigland is an amateur film producer who's had a couple of one-off hits with Discovery and NatGeo that have now fallen through the cracks. After learning about the Road of Bones, he has a feeling in his gut that this is going to be his next hit - part wild nature adventure a la "Wicked Tuna" and part ghost-hunting, supernatural thriller. Along for the trip is his friend Prentiss, whom he owes a significant amount of money, and who's coming along to protect that investment.

Teig and Prentiss pick up their local Siberian guide and head down the Road of Bones to their guide's hometown - but immediately upon arriving, they know something is wrong. The town, which usually has some 500 people in it, is completely deserted overnight, doors left open and dinner frozen over, like people just picked up in the middle of a meal and ran into the woods. The only person left in the town is their guide's little niece, Una, left alone in her house, not saying a word.

On top of battling the bone-shaking frigid cold, now the group has to face other monsters unknown, from the wild Siberian wolves who can and will tear them apart limb from limb to the parnee, a shaman-like forest creature who follows them out of the town as they try to escape.

I was so, so intrigued and hopeful about this book when I saw the description. Supernatural, haunting, isolated town thriller? Added angle of a documentary? This was a pretty close formula for what I loved so much about Camila Sten's The Lost Village. But I just didn't vibe with this book once the action started. I found it extremely hard to follow, the gore and violence undercut by my confusion with what was happening where and to whom. Once the plot gets going, the end seems inevitable - pretty much no resolution is in sight, and the same sequence of escape - hide - get caught - run plays out three or four times. Maybe I just prefer a more slow burn, character-driven horror like The Lost Village, whereas this one was nonstop action - it gets exhausting after a while.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for the ARC via Netgalley.

Was this review helpful?

Wow- not my usual genre but wow. Teig has convinced his friend and financial backer to make a documentary on the Road of Bones, deep in frozen Siberia. What should have been a frigid but fascinating trip turns into a nightmare when they, along with Nari who they rescued from her broken down car, arrive at the town where their guide Kaskil lives- and everyone is gone. Everyone but one uncommunicative 9 year old girl. Something's very off and then the wolves come. Yikes. Can they escape? Where will they go? The wolves are shadowing them along the road but when they arrive back at the way station where they first met Nuri, things get, if possible, even worse. No spoilers because this unfurls in an amazingly scary way. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. This one will make a terrific movie (I can see those antlers.......)

Was this review helpful?

Christopher Golden uses Siberian folklore and the true history of the Road of Bones to create a hauntingly strange and terrifying thriller.
From the blurb: <i>Kolyma Highway, otherwise known as the Road of Bones, is a 1200 mile stretch of Siberian road where winter temperatures can drop as low as sixty degrees below zero. Under Stalin, at least eighty Soviet gulags were built along the route to supply the USSR with a readily available workforce, and over time hundreds of thousands of prisoners died in the midst of their labors. Their bodies were buried where they fell, plowed under the permafrost, underneath the road.
Teig, a struggling documentary filmmaker, thinks he's finally found a winning idea. Along with his friend and cameraman Prentiss, they travel to Siberia and pick up a local guide to take them to Akhust, "the coldest place on earth". But when they arrive, the town is abandoned, except for a nine year old girl and a pack of predatory wolves. On a road where it's 150 miles between gas stations and a breakdown is almost always fatal, the team is in a fight for survival against the elements and the otherworldly beasts hunting them.
I found this book truly fascinating from the striking cover that lured me in, the true history of the road, the haunting atmosphere, and the terrifying folklore. This book had me in the edge of my seat from beginning to end.
I received an advance reader copy of this book. The views and opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and given voluntarily

Was this review helpful?

Can we talk about this cover for a second? I absolutely love it! And it fits the story perfectly.

Road of Bones is the first book by Christopher Golden that I have read and I will definitely pick up more. Teig, an American documentary producer, and his buddy Prentiss, a British camera man, have traveled to Siberia to put together a footage in order to pitch a documentary or reality show about the Road of Bones. The Road of Bones is where Stalin built gulags and thousands of prisoners died and were buried where they fell. Teig and Prentiss hire a local Yakut guide named Kaskil to show them around and translate when needed.

I am absolutely fascinated by the location of this story. The Road of Bones itself is its own character with temperatures that go as low as 60 degrees below zero. Vehicles freeze when not parked in a garage, hyperthermia and frostbite set in incredibly quickly. I cannot fathom why anyone would want to live in this part of the world.

When Teig, Prentiss, and Kaskil arrive in Kaskil's sister's village, they discover that the village is completely empty. The only person who remains is Kaskil's 9 year old niece, Una, who was hiding in a closet. Quickly the group realizes that something horrific has happened. They decide to flee the village for safety. After this, all hell breaks loose.

This book is creepy as hell. At 240 pages, I thought I would fly through this book. But I found myself reading small chunks. I really wanted to fully absorb what was going on. I would recommend that you read this one with a fellow horror fan so that you have someone to chat with.

Was this review helpful?

First off, thank you to St. Martins Press and Netgalley for the advanced copy.
Secondly, I was hooked by the synopsis. The premise of a film maker wanting to document a supernatural road in Siberia, that is so cold it makes my bones rattle. Teig had worked for a film crew “Ghost Sellers” when he was in college and wanted to make something of himself. But the road itself is dangerous, icy, and cold place to be. Who would make a road in the most frozen part of the world? Especially one who got its name from all the dead workers who built it.

The pacing for me was a bit slow. It even started sort of random and repetitive. And I think that made it hard for me to get into. I liked the lure of the story and the concept behind the story, just wish I liked it more. The ending felt like it was dragged on the find an ending.

Was this review helpful?

What did I just read?!

I was shivering in my bed reading Road of Bones and I'm not sure if it was from fear or the Siberian cold...
This novel has a little bit of everything. At first I thought I was reading a historical fiction horror. Then it turned into folklore horror. Then it turned into a mystery horror. And to top it all off at the end it became fantasy horror. I adore a genre-bending author, and Christopher Golden nails it in Road of Bones. 

The characterization created in this book was epic. The cold is the scariest character of all. I could feel the freeze in my bones. This was another atmospheric novel that took me to Siberia. I was completely engrossed in the setting on a lonely road in the arctic. The desolation paired so perfectly with the stillness and peace that a deep winter creates. If you choose to live in this world, you won't have the hustle and bustle of the city, but who will hear you when you scream for help?

I felt so much compassion for Teig as he sought to make peace with the guilt from losing his sister. His quest to make things right no matter what the cost was commendable. It led to some bad decisions and a Pan's Labyrinth-esque moment at the end, but I digress. 

The cherry on top is the beautiful cover.

Was this review helpful?

Welcome to Siberia, where mineral deposits are rife, population is nearly nonexistent, temperatures literally chill your bones, and exposure guarantees finality. Welcome to the Road of Bones.

Accomplished, gifted, highly prolific author Christopher Golden delivers a tale of Horror that rivals in spine-tingling intensity the Winter temperatures of Siberia, a region whose horrid bloodied history carries as much weight as does the American South or Eastern Europe-Asia. It is a region where History is always present and inescapable.

Lock the doors, silence the phone, turn on every light...
Welcome to Siberia.

Was this review helpful?

"It wasn’t the desolation or the darkness or even the climate that had persuaded him to invest in this trip. It was that name…Official maps referred to it as R504. It wasn’t much of a road. The pavement started at both ends but not long thereafter the pavement gave way to packed gravel…In many places, the road was barely wide enough for two cars to scrape the paint off each other as they passed. The landscape consisted of snow, skeletal trees, mountains, and the occasional guardrail, as well as settlements that were considered urban but many of which were made up of a few dozen buildings and the hardy souls who went along with them."
"It seemed like these people lived in a haunted, frozen hell.
To them . . . it was just home."

The Russians have a thing for giving characters in novels, and, it appears, real-world things, multiple names. R504, for example, is also known as P504. (no idea, don’t ask). It is also known as Federal Highway R504 and The Kolyma Highway. Locals call it The Kolyma Route. Plenty? Da. Complete? Nyet. It is also known as The Road of Bones. Construction began in 1932, during the Stalin era, using labor camp inmates. It continued using gulag prisoners until 1953. Workers die during construction? Permafrost in Siberia makes digging holes problematic, so the bodies were laid to rest under and near the road. Just a few, only somewhere between 250,000 to one million. Any chance a mother lode like that might attract a ghost hunter?

Not all the dead along the road were planted there due to construction. There are probably a million ways to die on the Road of Bones in winter. Run out of gas? You die. Flat tire? You die. Accident? You die. Vehicle breaks down for any reason? You die. Don’t go outside wearing glasses. They will get frozen to your face. Have a medical emergency that cannot wait three hours until you can get to the nearest ER? You die. And guys, don’t even think about stopping by the side of the road to pee. Bring a diaper or a container of some sort. Sounds fun. When are we leaving? (I love writing stories set in places where people shouldn’t live. Like WHY DO YOU LIVE THERE? - from the Dead Headspace interview)

Felix Teigland is a maker of documentaries. He has had some ups and downs in his career. He managed to build his own production company but he is still waiting for the breakout show that will keep him and his company above water for more than just now. He is a charmer and professional bullshitter, who means well, and has a rich imagination, producing a lot of interesting ideas, but far too often he is unable to make good on his promises. Felix needs a hit. But he needs a backer to fund it. Thus, his presence in this godforsaken land. He wants to take enough video, get enough of a story that he can persuade those with deep enough pockets to reach into them and toss enough rubles his way so that he can actually produce the project.

"Teig was a fast talker, always with a scheme he would trumpet with unfettered enthusiasm—a feature documentary from a fourteen-year-old director out of Argentina, salvage rights to a Spanish galleon, a TV series about World War II comic book artists who were secretly spies, a mock-umentary in which the history of Scooby-Doo and his gang would be investigated as if they’d existed in real life."

And what a project it is. Life and Death on the Road of Bones. Surely there are ghost stories aplenty, not to mention compelling survival tales. Teig has a background in supernatural work, having labored for several years on a TV show called Ghost Sellers.

"He had reason to want to find ghosts, but he’d never seen evidence of one, despite the show confirming twenty-seven “official” hauntings while he’d worked with them."

He is skeptical of such things, has doubts, but even more importantly, hopes. Maybe the ghosts he finds in Siberia will help him find the spirit he truly seeks.

"The grieving kid who’d lived inside him for more than twenty years had always longed for proof of the supernatural.
Careful what you wish for, idiot."

Teig is joined in this insane adventure by Jack Prentiss, a bear of an American, complete with a beard that would be at home in Brooklyn or the Yukon, a beer belly, and an imposing frame. Teig owes Prentiss a considerable sum of money, which gives Jack a bit of incentive to help make sure this project succeeds. Prentiss may be Teig’s only friend.

You can probably leave your swimsuit at home. There are only five hours of daylight this time of year, and even when it is above the horizon, it remains hidden behind clouds. Get used to the darkness. The average daily temperature in Winter is -47F.

They begin in the port town of Magadan on the Sea of Okhotsk, heading to the community of Akhust, the coldest inhabited place on Earth. I did not find an actual Akhust in my Googling, so presume it is a made-up name, standing in for Oymyakon, a twenty hour drive according to Google directions. Teig’s journey is supposedly sixteen hours, so maybe it is somewhere between the two locations. Guess it depends on extant conditions.

They make a stop to pick up a twenty-something guide, Kaskil, an actual local. He will not be their last passenger. There is a lovely lady in distress, Nari, with “cherry black hair.” Vehicle broke down and she needs a lift. When they arrive in Akhust, the coldest place on Earth, the entire town of several hundred is abandoned. Only one inhabitant remains, Kaskil’s nine-year-old niece, Ariuna, in a catatonic state. Shock most likely.

And then there are the odd things they have been seeing in the woods as they drove along. Trees moving strangely, oversized beasts, of uncertain shape, a Siberian tiger. Teig has odd thoughts urging him to give in to the cold. Whatever had driven or lured the residents of Akhust from their homes was now coming for them. And the chase is on, an army of creatures, led by a very large, human-like shaman is in hot pursuit. But why? Check, please.

The story is told through alternating POVs, not including everyone, but more than a couple. This kept things fresh, while also giving us the characters’ backstories, and reasons to care about their fates, maybe some understanding of their motivations. The action is pretty much non-stop. It is not a long book, but you might be out of breath by the time you finish reading. Lots of peril, lots of fleeing, a fair bit of fighting back. And questions. Um…why? I understand that the victims of Stalin might be pissed, but at people with no role in their killing? Are the members of this spirit army Stalin’s reincarnated roadkill? There is a character Kaskil refers to as ghost he has actually seen, who prays over the frozen dead. Does she have a role in this? The animal-like nature of the pursuers suggests also a rebellion of the natural world against a feckless humanity. Wrong place, wrong time. Who are those guys? Or is it something else? So what is the deal? Why are these spirits-made-material so intent on catching our small company?

Gripes are minimal. While there were multiple POVs, they did not all succeed in generating much interest in the characters. One character’s deep religious feelings define a life in an interesting and unusual way. Teig’s tale is given the most ink, and creates the strongest bond. The others? Some.

This is a chilling, acti0n-filled horror story, and it succeeds very much at that level. There is a lot of creativity on display in portraying these dark forces. And enough nuance to make them less than one hundred percent evil. Sound, in particular, plays a role here, not just in the songs noted in the text, but in the way sound can get into your head.

"I’m…always intrigued with the idea of turning the concept of monstrosity on its head, of looking at a conflict through the eyes of the character that we would normally presume to be evil or cruel." - from the Nightmare Magazine interview

You will want to dress warmly while reading this one. You may shudder along with the characters at the death-dealing cold they must face for the entirety of the tale, and add a quiver or three for the spirits on the warpath. Consider having at hand either a mug of something very warm to drink or a bottle of Stoli. A favorite pet on your lap might help as well, at least as long as they do not start to look at you funny.

"Here in this little scattering of human structures they could still convince themselves they were in the world of people, but once they passed into the woods, it would have been impossible to pretend they had control or authority over anything. Hunters and herders went into those woods or up that mountain from Akhust, and when they did they were surrendering to the primal nature of the world. Akhust stood as a stark reminder of how small a thing it was to be a human being."

Review posted – January 21, 2022

Publication date – January 25, 2022

I received an ARE of Road of Bones from St. Martins in return for a fair review and some extra warm mittens. Thanks, folks, and thanks to NetGalley for facilitating.

For the full review, with links and images, please continue along to my site Coot's Reviews

Was this review helpful?

Rating: 2.5 stars

Road of Bones is a supernatural thriller set in Siberia, where a film crew is covering an elusive ghost story about the Kolyma Highway, a road built on top of the bones of prisoners who were forced to build it. When they first arrive in the frozen terrain Teig and Prentiss have high hopes of telling the story of this isolated community and their ghost stories will be their big break. Shortly into the excursion, they arrive at a village that is mysteriously abandoned apart from a little girl. To get to this point, we have a very slow and repetitive setup, approximately 20% of the book. At this point, shit hits the fan and the fan doesn’t stop spinning until the end. Unfortunately, I felt the characters were a little flat and the setting was underdeveloped. Which made it difficult to care who lived or died as well as paint a picture of what was happening in my head. The root of the sinister events is a malignant shaman and the forest spirits he commands. Although this provided for some scary folk horror, I was a little confused as to why it didn’t focus on the spirits of the dead bodies buried below the permafrost on The Road of Bones. This is the name of the book, it’s discussed extensively in the beginning pages, but then it’s left by the wayside – I found this a little disappointing. Nonetheless, I felt the concept made for a fun horror story, but not necessarily my cup of tea.

Thank you St. Martin's Press for the gifted eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?