Cover Image: Wake the Bones

Wake the Bones

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Member Reviews

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. All of the opinions given are my own and have been given nothing for my review.
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I loved this book from the very first page. The writing is lush and atmospheric, and I'm obsessed with Kilycone's descriptions of the setting and the creatures within her story. There were a couple of elements that weren't fully explained and were kind of confusing, and the primary love story between Laurel and her love interest wasn't super well developed in my opinion. But otherwise, this book is absolutely incredible, and I can't wait to read a physical copy in 2022!
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I love a good YA southern gothic with devils and witches, so the second I saw Wake the Bones I fell on it without thinking twice. Kilcoyne's debut brings us to Laurel Early's farm in Northern Kentucky, where she's working her uncle's tobacco field with three lifelong best friends--Garrett, Isaac, and Ricky. Laurel is a recent college dropout, feeling unsettled about her life and future. Upon discovering a ritualistically slayed deer on her property with the boys, Laurel feels like something isn't right with her property. Someone is threatening her, but who? So begins Laurel's descent into horror, ghosts, and devils. It's a little like The Raven Boys meets Old Gods of Appalachia. 

Normally I would get more into the plot here, but this is one of those books that absolutely steeped me in rural Kentucky life to the point where I honestly feel like the plot got a bit sidetracked. There is such a thing as too much, and Wake the Bones is just an absolute torrent. It's hot out. It's humid. The trees (all the various types), the wildflowers (all the types of those, too), the insects, the various animals, the various equipment you find on farms, the various foods you would find in a junky convenience store/gas station, all the ways you can say how a character feels piled into a paragraph...Wake the Bones will not stop describing things. 

The plot gets absolutely lost in the minutia to the point that it's overwritten. In places it's a slog to follow even the dialogue. There is a story underneath all of these lengthy diatribes on humidity and sunburns, but part of me felt like the book was more interested in writing a love letter to the region and its people than developing the story. I'm not sure what Laurel ever really wanted, or how she really developed by the end. The horror is broken up by lengthy sections of interpersonal relationship drama that doesn't feel like it develops upon previous scenes--characters just randomly do things without anything else driving them. There are inconsistencies in the narration and more than a few instances of headhopping. Some characters could have been cut completely--what was the point of Christine when Anna was right there giving Laurel witchy lessons?

At the end of the day, this book had a solid southern gothic concept that the writing makes near impossible to wade through. The plot is in there, and there are some really cool visuals, but they are few and far between all the words packed in to distract from the lack of character development and internal stakes.
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Deliciously dark and gothic, Elizabeth Kilcoyne weaves a debut that's bristling with atmosphere and horror. 

A college dropout, Laurel returns to her family farm, where she makes a living selling animal bones online. But her homecoming spells danger for everyone that she loves – a dark shadow that follows her, inexplicable summer mirages in the field, pressing warnings from the dead... Struggling to understand the debts her dead mother has passed onto her, Laurel is joined by her family to break free of the curse that threatens them all. 

While at first, it was hard to discern from the many POVs, Kilcoyne succeeds in fleshing out why people live in their small towns and why others leave. The dichotomy created rare friction in the genre, particularly for the age bracket, grounding real issues among deals with the devil. 

Another aspect that I loved while reading was the prose! Kilcoyne writes such lush scenery that it feels like the southern heat comes straight from the pages, the dry crumbling dirt beneath your feet, flowers pasted to the windows. It is not only beautiful to read but serves a strong purpose in building the atmosphere needed for a southern gothic. Honestly, I could go on for ages on how well done Kilcoyne did on this alone. Combined with the nuanced takes on gender and power, what made Laurel and Christine's dynamic crackle on the page, had to be some of the best parts in the book. 

While there were small issues, one of the romance arcs felt fumbling toward the middle; I wish there were more exploration at the start of Laurel with her abilities; Kilcoyne writes a strong debut about the ghosts and demons one tends to keep in the dark. WAKE THE BONES is a lush read perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater. 

An ARC was provided by St. Martin's Press/Wednesday Books and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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This was a very unique book that I don't think I can even begin to explain but it had some really creepy imagery and I know it comes out next summer but I got the arc from netgalley and had to pick it up.
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Initial Thoughts 
I wanted to read this book for spooky season but was about a week too late. But, definitely keep this book in mind for spooky season 2022!

Some Things I Liked 
Small town vibes. This book is small town, a little country, a little off the beaten path in setting and all of that added to the ominous and eerie sense of haunting that is felt throughout the story. The reader is never sure if anything is real or part of the town or more. 
Dark themes. This book is DARK. Please be sure to read the description for any content warnings because there are elements of this story that not all readers would find suitable. That being said, the darkness was so well handled. It consumed everything and I felt so creeped out while reading in the way, I believe, the author intended. 
Romance. I definitely loved that there were two distinct romance plots in this book. Each represented a different kind of first love and they were a nice addition to the otherwise spooky story. 

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About 
There were some funky scene changes where I found myself scratching my head because I couldn’t follow exactly how we got from A to B (if you know what I mean). The author leaned on the magic and atmosphere to fudge some of the transitions so that was a bit disappointing to me. 

Series Value
This should definitely stay a standalone. That ending is so 🤯 and the reader needs to be left with that feeling. But, I would definitely read more from this author. 

Final Thoughts 
I really wasn’t sure if this book would be too spooky for me. It had its moments where I was afraid to turn off the lights or to fall asleep but overall, I wasn’t that scared. Definitely look out for this book in 2022. 

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3.5 stars, ish? Still thinking about that one.

This story is written in a way that makes you feel the sticky, hot humidity of the farmland. The prose is beautiful, making each thing feel tangible and each feeling worth empathizing with. However, the beautiful prose seems to take some away from the story. The story itself is in a category of horror that I consider myself a big fan of- weird horror. Yet, I found myself bored with the entire thing. As though the interpersonal issues of all the characters woven in with the horror made it feel like two separate books. If there was more horror, I would have loved it. If there were more character issues, I would have classed it as a contemporary but would have enjoyed the plot more. But because we allowed neither one of these things to take center stage, it kept the book from being as interesting as I think it could have been.
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Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Wake the Bones in exchange for an honest review!

This was so uniquely cool. I love darker YA fantasy and Wake the Bones definitely delivers. It gives me a lot of "Raven Boys" but if the undead characters weren't sexy boys named Gansy? Big recommend if you're a fan of the friend group dynamics there and are looking for something a little spookier.
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Thank you to the author and the publisher for a chance to read this book as a digital ARC! 

This would be a perfect summer read for those who like tales dripping with ghosts, tangled family histories, small towns stuck rooted under centuries of tradition, and the young people unsure whether they should get out or settle down. Daughter of the local town outcast, Laurel tried life outside her town but found herself pulled back to the place she calls home. Unable to make it in the bigger world, she figures she can fall back on farming tobacco and playing taxidermist on the side. She didn’t count on coming back to her home and finding out her land is haunted, and she certainly didn’t count on magic being needed to fight back. But whether she expected it or not, Laurel and her friends now are engaged in a fight for the life of their community and for their own lives. 

A gothic Summer book, this was written incredibly well written and will be a book I’m glad to visit again.
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I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wake the Bones was a really weird but interesting book. Like the weirder things got the harder it was to look/walk away from it all. I'll admit that Laurel was a strange character too. Mostly because she was a taxidermist and I don't think I could do that myself. It's definitely a me and not you situation.

After meeting her, and the rest of the characters, we start to dive into the mystery of it all. Especially when we dive into the hauntings and the devil. I had so many questions and thoughts floating around in my head while I was reading this. Things and situations never went the way I thought it was going to go. Which is probably why this is such a good book to digest within a sitting (or two).

Towards the end, I had a feeling not everyone was going to make it but I'm just basing that off of all the horror movies I've watched before this. It was still really weird, interesting, and entertaining though. I'm really happy that I got the chance to jump into this around Halloween because it's a spooky book that everyone deserves!
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One page in, I was transfixed by the author’s use of language and macabre imagery. Kilcoyne’s ability to immediately transport me to this small-town tobacco farm in the sticky humidity of summer had me turning on the AC here in November. I initially liked that the protagonist is a strong woman who is picking up the pieces after failure and loss. Plus, she’s super into dead things - like really into them. But, for some reason, I never really connected with her or the other assorted characters. 
The story is told in third person from different points of view, which should give us a better understanding of the impulses behind character decisions, but it didn’t. More than a few chapters of the book were just the main characters worrying about what to do with their lives. Beautifully written, but it got slow.
Once the magical/horror side of the story finally kicked in, things sped up, but it was too much too fast. I failed to understand the parameters and rules of this world inhabited by regular people, magical people, demons, ghosts, talking plants, etc. It felt like too many different plot points all competing for attention and I ended up with a lot of unanswered questions.
Even though this book wasn't my favorite, I am interested to see what Kilcoyne does next as I really enjoyed her writing style.

Thank you to Elizabeth Kilcoyne and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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“Wake the Bones” by Elizabeth Kilcoyne is a southern gothic from the hellish heat steaming off the pages to the horrifying creatures lurking in the shadows. Readers looking for a chilling read that will fill them with dread and make them question what they understand about magic should add this book to their reading lists. 

Laurel Early is presented as a regular college drop-out who returns home to the family farm and spends her free time as a taxidermist. Except, something on the farm has awoken and it wants Laurel. Bad.  Whether it’s the devil or something else entirely, it is pure evil and it wants nothing more than to hurt and ruin everything in its path until it has Laurel. Left with no other choice, Laurel must tap into her magic and dig into her family history if she has any hope of defeating the creature that haunts her before it destroys everything she loves.

Kilcoyne’s writing is insanely captivating, chilling, and full of beautiful passages that create an enriched world readers will easily immerse themselves in. The landscape, plot, characters, magic and unsettling atmosphere solidifies into a world that will feel tangible and realistic. Kilcoyne is one of those authors who manages to bring every aspect of their story to life in a way that is gripping and truly terrifying. 

The idea that everyone has a little bit of magic in them is a fascinating concept. While only a select few can access the magic within them, it felt like it was lingering beneath everyone’s skin, waiting to be released. At the same time, it felt contained to a specific place only a select few can access and wield to their desire. Either way, the magic was an intense aspect to the story that was an intriguing twist to unravel.  

On top of the magic, it will take readers no time to become fully engaged in the characters and the complexities of their lives. Each one takes residence and fills up space with their personalities and issues in this novel that brings a whole other level to the realism. Anyone who picks up this novel will relate to the characters and find they will want to stick around to see how everything plays out with their hopes and dreams. 

Of course, the horror aspect of this novel was incredibly terrifying and rich with gore. Kilcoyne’s imagination when it comes to dark and gruesome is untameably wild and spooky in the best way possible. While it would be amazing to see a book like this hit big screens, it’s the kind of book one is thankful to read because the creatures are so bizarre and frightening. Fans of horror will be thrilled with the kinds of messed up and off-kilter creatures that hurtle across these pages.

“Wake the Bones” by Elizabeth Kilcoyne is a book readers should not be missing out on. This deliciously horrifying tale is expected to be published on July 12th, 2022.

A big thank you to St. Martin’s Press (Wednesday Books) and NetGalley for inviting me to read this chilling e-arc and giving me the opportunity to share my honest opinion in this review.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an early copy of this book. 

Well, that was strange. I usually don't mind odd books. I like the strange, macabre stories as long as they are well written. Wake the Bones had an interesting premise, but as the story progressed it was just more odd than interesting. This was almost like a macabre version of Addie LaRue, where a young woman accidentally summons a devil and is bound to it. Like that book, there were parts of this story that intrigued me, but the parts in-between didn't seem to hold my attention. A lot of the chapters were very character driven, then there were some parts that drove the plot. The plot was slow, and odd, and most of the time not much was happening. It was also a bit weird that Laurel went knowing she had a bit of magic, to being able to summon an entire forest. While this had a bit of everything in the magical realism category - witches, magic, monsters, devil, death, and resurrection - it didn't flow well for me. The story wasn't that interesting, I wasn't invested. Everybody just kind of settled instead of growing and moving forward with their lives.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to review this book.

Laurel Early's life has been dominated by loss in her unforgiving town in Kentucky. After her attempt at college goes awry, she decides to come home and return to the family tobacco business and side job as a taxidermist. Strange, dangerous things begin to happen almost immediately, making her rethink everything she knew about her mother's death and life on the Early farm. 

This book was so creepy and dark!  It's been a while since I read a book that claimed to be dark and actually was. It was well balanced and paced well. The build up was also good. this book is about dark magic, death, bones, and most of all, family--that which you are born into and that which you make for yourself.
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I'm really enjoying small town horror stories right now and this fits the bill perfectly. The story is unique and does a great job of blending magic into the real world so that I can almost see something like this happening on a tucked away farm in the middle of nowhere. There are plenty of creepy moments and times when I wasn't sure which characters would make it to the end. The pacing kept me interested and the bits of romance softened it a bit and rounded out the story.

The main character Laurel has come back to her family farm after failing college. She's not sure what her future will be, but is working on taxidermy projects for now. When Christine, a so called "witch" tells Laurel that the farm is haunted, terrible things start happening. Laurel begins looking into her mother's death and realizing that her bloodline may have it's own magic.

I liked that Laurel was a bit jaded and sometimes hurt other's feelings. She's not perfect, just a girl trying to make her way in the world. Her friendship with the boys was sweet and gave her the motivation to stand up to the Devil and take back her home.

I enjoyed this one and if you like horror, it should go on your TBR for 2022.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book and all opinions are my own. Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the copy
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Page turning battle of good vs. evil - past vs. present - and facing off to save the "family" you've made.  Strong story that will grip you from the beginning - and pull you in to a world of friends and nature magic.  If you are a fan of "It" this has a similar feel ...
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Wednesday Books, 
Thank You so much for this widget! 😘 
I swear y'all 2022 is going to be the best year for reader's! 
Because.there are some amazing, fabulous books hitting the shelves next year!
A d I'm so grateful I've had the opportunity to read some outstanding novels for the badass authors......
Including this one by Elizabeth Kilcoyne with her new debut novel Wake the Bones!

Wake the Bones is an intense YA thriller/horror story!
Which had me so intrigued I couldn't put it down!
I'm pretty sure I neglected everything that had to do with real life while reading it.
I ignored the husband, my phone, social media.... Everything! And it was worth every second.

The way this writer can put details into her writing is something beautiful. 
I was hanging onto every word. I wanted more of it, and this was one I didn't want it to end. 
These characters are brilliantly developed. 
The magic...... Is lit and this plot is one no one will want to miss out on!
A tense, dark and twisted story that is bound to keep any age and genre lover bound to the story will love it!

Thank You again WB, NG and Author for this phenomenal book!
I will post to my platforms closer to the pub date!
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“Death did not scare her. Intentions did.” 
Wake the Bones is a can’t-miss YA horror title. Kilcoyne’s writing is highly visual and full of striking, frightening images. Her prose is beautifully elegiac and mournful—for lost people, lost relationships, places, hopes, and dreams. Death haunts this novel, from character’s backstories to the vivid images of taxidermy threaded throughout. Laurel is a complicated and charismatic protagonist—you root for her even as she struggles with interpersonal connection and painful choices. What haunts the woods outside Laurel’s house? You will love finding out.
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Okay here’s the thing. I hated this book. I hated everything about it and I couldn’t wait to finish reading it so I could move on from it and forget it ever existed. But that’s a me problem, not a Wake the Bones problem, and I don’t fault the book for it at all. 

This book is just so… Midwestern redneck. Four wheelers are the main means of transportation and the favored drink is the alcohol brewed in the barn, and enough cigarettes are smoked to make me feel like I’m getting lung cancer just by reading it. The characters were exactly what you’d expect of that setting, and I didn’t like a single one of them. If you’re a fan of that culture this is the book for you, but wow. I hated it. 

The plot was decent and the writing was interesting, but I hated the setting so much I couldn’t bring myself to care about the plot. I gave it four stars because overall it was well written, I just hated it anyways.
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Wake the Bones is a fantastic story about a girl who needs to find her magic to ward off a devil that has taken her land.  I probably described it wrong but that was the gist of it.  It was way more than I was expecting.  The story is not only a thriller with magic but also pretty scary at times.  I find blood magic kind of creepy so that did it for me. The characters are very well-written.  The female lead and the guys she hangs out with are all strong, believable characters.  The side character Christine, the witch, was also great but her place in the story was kind of short.  I wish we had more of her.  Anyway, the descriptions of the devil are quite something.  The battles were great and the end had me a little perplexed but I figured it out.  This is really a super good book with awesome sensory writing.
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