Monday, December 31, 2012

Bone Dance

Title: Bone Dance
Author: Emma Bull
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: 1991
Rating: 8/10

This is one of the earlier-published urban fantasies from before the era of long stilettos and werewolves that overfills the urban fantasy genre now. Instead it's a novel set in an urban, post-apocalyptic world, full of dying technology that also contains a magical aspect to it, or hoodoo, as it's referred to in the novel.

The main protagonist is Sparrow, whose story is told in first POV. Despite not being an unreliable narrator in a traditional sense, he does hold quite a few surprises. Sparrow keeps his friends at bay and doesn't let anyone in -- if he can help it.

However, strange things are happening. Sparrow is losing his memory for days at a time, he ends up in a number of dangerous situations, and everything is connected in ways he doesn't understand quite yet. The book's pace moves quite swiftly from one chapter to the next and I found this to be a relatively fast read. The plot structure is a bit surprising with two climax points -- but it works reasonably well, though perhaps it's a tad rushed in the end.

Each chapter name is a card from Tarot deck with the interpretation of the card according to different sources, e.g. Crowley, Gray, Waite. I was not familiar at all with these names, but a quick search online told me they were different inventors/interpreters of various Tarot decks. Of course the chapter cards tie into the action that happens in the book and in a way foretell the story.

Overall, it's an unusual and interesting story. There are lots of revelations about Sparrow and his friend, there's the growth of the main character, there are mystic aspects. Altogether, I felt like I didn't quite get all the references to both myths and general popular culture, but I enjoyed the novel.


  1. That may be the most badass cover ever.

    1. It's pretty representative too!

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