Cover Image: Wake the Bones

Wake the Bones

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Member Reviews

I have been sitting on this book and I’m so glad I was able to get to it this month. The writing style is so vivid. I made the mistake of listening to this at night driving home and might I say, I was majorly freaked out. The story did what it was intended to do, GRIP you! Elizabeth has just gained a fan because this is the type of books I crave. Where the story is alive and in some sense believable.

That ending was so not what I expected and it almost left it feeling like it wasn’t over. It was open for a new beginning after all the darkness sucked all it could. I really enjoyed it, definitely perfect for the darker months of the year!

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She's into bones, this girl. Taxidermy? or more ? Her name is Laurel, she's full of love for the place she lives, right down into the dirt. She's full of interest in bodies this world's spirits leave behind. Which is interesting because there's mighty interest in her from the spirits on the other side. She has her friends, her support group, some helpful, some. . .well. Not so much.

That's as far as I'll go. Note to all those who dare to venture in. . . .don't be reading this a lovely woods, or meadow, or field, or forest. . .no roots or trees. Stay you inside that house, car or separated edifice. No guarantees, of course.

A Sincere Thank You to Elizabeth Kilcoyne, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.

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Although this wasn't a bad story it wasn't anything to really call home about or rave for. It had a good start, a middle, and an ending. The entire horror aspect kind of felt like it was in the background to the characters. So I would really call this a contemporary horror. If you could really call it a horror at all.

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The idea behind Wake The Bones was excellent and original but the execution left much to be desired.

From the synopsis, I thought I would be getting into a dark, magical realism horror story when in reality, it was really about an uninspiring college girl and a couple of her bland friends thrown in for some romance.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot! There WAS something bad happening around the farm, but let's not make it too scary and get those scenes over with and make it anticlimactic. And let's fill the rest of the pages up with babble about nothing of importance.

Although disappointed, I would love a rewrite of this novel with more character development and deeper reasons behind why specific characters are in the story. Additions and details to the action and horror scenes would also be fulfilling. Finally, I would wish for more meaningful dialog throughout the book as a whole.

Great idea, just needed a bit more.

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As a thank you to Netgalley, and Wednesday Books , I write this review on Elizabeth Kilcoyne’s debut novel “Wake the Bones” The novel follows Laurel, and her journey to reconnect with her family’s history. Laurel has always known a history of magic existed in her family and now it is her chance to unravel the magic laid in her past and create a new future for her loved ones and herself. The novel was dark in its presentation , its atmospheric setting, character histories added to my enjoyment of this novel. I would check out the audiobook narrated by Bailey Carr, they added their full and textured voice to its atmosphere and lured the reader into continuing with its story. I would definitely look forward to other works of theirs. Overall I give it a strong 3.5 ⭐️ and 3 star rating on goodreads.

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This definitely gets bonus points for being so different from any books like it. Laurel was just so weird but in an endearing way. This book definitely gets things going quickly which I love. I think it's so important on a horror/mystery genre to grab the reader early. I feel like at times though things got so weird that I was having a hard time staying focused on the book. I am glad I powered through though. Definitely a good break from the norm.

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I enjoyed this book more than expected. Yes, it leaned hard on atmosphere and less on plot, but it was engaging enough that I remained invested until the very end. (I am prone to dnf if that's not the case.) This book feels unique in the YA world at the moment due to the southern Gothic feel and the horror elements, but it still reads as YA to me (or upper YA). All readers will want to heed content warnings though. Author notes that the book includes themes of mental and physical abuse, violence, and suicide.
Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for providing an e-arc.

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One of the most fantastic books I’ve ever read. The flow of the words is like a creek in spring, and the horror creeps in like rot- so slow you don’t notice it until it has consumed you.

Highly recommend, I will be purchasing a physical copy. A digital ARC is not enough, this is a book that needs to rest in your hands, where you can feel the weight.

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The body horror in this is absolutely gobsmackingly wonderful. It's gory and horrible and frankly a welcome change from similarly categorized books. I loved how in-depth the story was, while the characters were a tad stereotypical, they were also teenagers and that's what teenagers are like so.

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This was a very ‘It’s not the book, it’s me’ kind of book

I think with this one I went in expecting lots of horror and therein lies the problem. There were beautiful, vivid macabre descriptions all throughout that haunted me long after I’d set the book down but there was also so much inner monologue within the characters that I personally found hard to get through, like I had to force myself to trudge through it when I wanted to be creeped out of my mind with every turn of a page.

Usually I’m all for inner conflict within character development and I know for this one specifically it ties hand in hand with the outer conflict and the home they’ve always known not being the home they’ve always known BUT it didn’t work for me here. There was just so much of it that dragged on and unfortunately made me not enjoy the experience.

I feel like I would’ve liked it a lot more if there were more suspenseful conflict scenes with the ‘devil’…. It was just a very ok book to me when I wanted it to be so much more.

Aside from that this was a spectacularly written book, the writing was beautiful, the dialogue flowed with ease, the characters faced conflicts that were relatable (aside from the obvious ‘devil’), and there’s so much that readers could take away from this!

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Dnf @ 23%. This one definitely has Rory Power vibes, but much less world building and creeping dread. I tried over the course of a month to get into this one, coming back and forth between picking it up and setting it aside, and realized it’s just not for me.

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This is a story about a living dead girl.

This book was one of the few I read this spooky season that legitimately unnerved me. There was one particular point that filled me with so much dread it was difficult to continue reading- which is exactly what I want in my horror! This was also a story about magic, & the kind of love that transcends the bounds of a lifetime. I loved it!

Thank you so much @netgalley & @wednesdaybooks for the e arc & for the audio listen!

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Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for sending me an early copy of this audiobook! All opinions are my own!

For starters, I'm never going into the woods again. I think the best part of this book is how deeply it draws you into the story and the imagery. There is no relenting to the creepiness, that hair standing up kind of feeling that everything in this book stirs within you. It made me not want to listen at night because I knew it was just going to envelop me and be all that I could think about.

I really liked the representation that this book provided. As someone who has grown up in a rural area, I thought the themes of this book were really well done. From the characters' needs to hide their differences to the way they simply felt they couldn't escape their hometown. I enjoyed watching them grow and learn, and they were relatable enough that everything felt real and believable.

I do wish there had been more plot twists, but I think that the ending was a slight surprise to me and I loved the way it was left up to the characters to fight for the lives they would want. It was a great coming of age story that left me inspired and wanting to make my own life into whatever the heck I dream of.

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I went into this book expecting a witchy, dark, southern gothic YA novel with spooky magic. And while it certainly took place in the south and had magic, it never quite came together for me.

The characters were underdeveloped, and all blended together, even our protagonist. There was very little to distinguish them, and the details we did get were told to us, not shown. The side characters were more interesting than our protagonist, and the romances were awkward.

The writing style wasn’t my favourite, either. An attempt at purple prose that feels a bit self-important but isn’t as beautiful or impactful as it thinks it is. Not only that, but the writing was so vague I was left not knowing what was happening until a scene was almost over, and even then, I wasn’t sure, sapping all the tension from what were, I assume, meant to be scary moments. Of course, there is a way to write a hazy thriller with unanswered questions, but this wasn’t it.

The magic was unevenly incorporated, and the world-building was so non-existent that it was never clear if magic was known to exist and in what capacity.

This book at an interesting concept at its core, and I see potential in the author, but it needed more editing and reworking to live up to its potential.

Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC for review, and thank you to the author for providing an extensive list of possible triggers at the beginning of the book.

Trigger/Content Warnings: suicide, guns, mental and physical abuse, dental trauma, animal death, blood, gore, death of a parent, taxidermy

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Yay! It's time for more paranormal reads (seriously, I love all the releases that drop around September/October every year). Time to dive into Wake the Bones, written by Elizabeth Kilcoyne.

Laurel Early has spent nearly her whole life on this sleepy little farm. She left for a little while – to chase an educational dream she ultimately abandoned. Now she just wants to be left alone to her work (tobacco hand and taxidermist). In truth, she wants to forget all about the boy she loves.

The past won't stay dead, no matter how much we may want it to. In Laurel's case, this is a bit more literal than most, as a creature has once again returned with the intent of courting Laurel.

If you love odd (read: unique) reads full of fantasy and lusciously written prose, then you've got to check out Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne. For me, the writing is the biggest standout of this novel, with the plot and characters taking second place.

Before I get too deep into my review, I should mention the darker themes of Wake the Bones. This book covers postpartum depression and animal death. So it is not going to be suitable for all readers!

The ethereal and gothic vibes of this novel are on point. They're strongly supported by Kilcoyne's writing style, which feels more lyrical than not. It's the perfect setting for a darker plot and was enough to let my imagination run away.

It is worth pointing out that it felt like something was missing from Wake the Bones. It should have been a novel I loved with all of my heart. But instead, I merely liked it? Not that this is a bad thing. But it did have so much potential.

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Not what I expected, but still enjoyed it. The atmosphere of the book is creepy, but there is a lot of "normal" things/issues happening in the book. Quick read, there are a lot of interesting aspects and horror imagery, but some parts were slow. It was fairly well done, and would love to see her dive more into the horror aspect.

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With walking bones, rising evil, death, abuse, and a terribly disillusioned drowned ghost among other eldritch things, this is definitely one to have on board for spooky season. It’s much more lyrical than a typical horror novel though and encompasses magical realism and literary fiction too. Wake The Bones is a haunting mix of fantasy and horror with Laurel making a living off of what the dead leave behind. I really enjoyed this. I would recommend reading it in a few sittings to completely immerse yourself into the eerie atmosphere of the writing. My only complaint is that the romance portion just didn’t work for me at all. I found it to be a little bland. It could be because I've read a bunch of rom-com's lately, but, all in all, if that's my only qualm over the book, I count that as a win. Will definitely recommend.

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This story is so character-driven, and it is utterly human and haunting.
The supernatural world was gory, eerie and unsettling with the bones and decaying monsters.
But the connection between the two, for pacing and writing, didn't reach the same level as the characters and genre, so it sadly lost the magic.
Please look for TW!!!

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I am a bit ambivalent about this book. It had intriguing concepts with the bone monsters and the devil but to me it wasn't very well fleshed out. Things were kind of vague with Christine and Laurel's powers (and even her mother, Anne). I could definitely feel the dirt and grit of Dry Valley though and understand why Isaac wants to leave it. That would not be a place I wanted to live. It was a strange mix of action and then long bits where nothing really happened, The ending was a bit vague too and I am not sure if I missed out on something or it wasn't explained clearly (about Ricky who I wasn't a fan off because of some stupid decisions).

It wasn't bad for a debut novel but I wasn't crazy about it either.

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After really, truly, trying to enjoy this book, I decided that Wake The Bones wasn’t for me. I didn’t find myself connecting to any of the characters or wanting to know what the next page offered, even with the suspense and horror written throughout.

The writing is very beautiful. The language used is fascinating and it pushed me grammatically. I always appreciate work that makes me think, that makes me feel my brain in my skull.

Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy!

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