Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

Friends, it pains me to say that this was just not the book for me. While I absolutely adored the plot, unfortunately, the writing style and narrative voice just did not work for me. This is definitely a case of the right book, the wrong reader.

About the Book

Publisher: Subterranean Press  |  Release Date: December 31, 2018  |  Pages: 128
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Kingdom of Needle and Bone coverWe live in an age of wonders.

Modern medicine has conquered or contained many of the diseases that used to carry children away before their time, reducing mortality and improving health. Vaccination and treatment are widely available, not held in reserve for the chosen few. There are still monsters left to fight, but the old ones, the simple ones, trouble us no more.

Or so we thought. For with the reduction in danger comes the erosion of memory, as pandemics fade from memory into story into fairy tale. Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.

How wrong we could be.

It begins with a fever. By the time the spots appear, it’s too late: Morris’s disease is loose on the world, and the bodies of the dead begin to pile high in the streets. When its terrible side consequences for the survivors become clear, something must be done, or the dying will never stop. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, whose niece was the first confirmed victim, the route forward is neither clear nor strictly ethical, but it may be the only way to save a world already in crisis. It may be the only way to atone for her part in everything that’s happened.

She will never be forgiven, not by herself, and not by anyone else. But she can, perhaps, do the right thing.

We live in an age of monsters.

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My Review

Friends, it pains me to say that this was just not the book for me. This is my first Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) read and while I absolutely adored the plot, unfortunately, the writing style and narrative voice just did not work for me. This is definitely a case of the right book, the wrong reader.

“Many of them would continue to leave their homes even as they began feeling unwell. The virus would spread. The virus always spreads.”

Lisa Morris is an 8-year-old girl on vacation in Florida. She is starting to feel a little sick, but it is their last day and she doesn’t want to miss out on going to the amusement park for one last time. By the time she gets home to California, she’s very sick and thanks to trams, rides, and airplane rides — so are hundreds of others. Lisa’s Patient Zero of the Morris Disease outbreak and the first casualty. The world is forever changed.

“Of such small moments are disasters made.”

The third person omniscient narrative style just didn’t work for me here. The first 20% or so felt like a report, and even after the narrative voice kind of shifted to focus a bit on Dr. Izzy Gauley I never really connected with any of the characters. The novella is definitely plot driven, and the consequence of the narrative voice for me was that it was hard to care about the characters.

“A world that had been willing to reject the efficacy of vaccines suddenly found itself on the verge of being forced to live without them, and it was not prepared.”

I found the continual reminder of herd immunity and the issue of the anti-vaccine movement to be on the heavy-handed side. Initially, I was very interested in that as a starting point for this speculative fiction piece on potential outbreaks, but it was harped on so repetitively throughout the narrative that I became almost numb to it. It also seemed like an odd choice to me given the fact that the story is told in third-person omniscient: had it been a first-person narrative the repetition would have at least made a bit more sense to me (although I still would have been annoyed).

Overall the narrative style of this book was not for me, but I really enjoyed the overall plot and twist at the end. In talking with Destiny, I have learned that the narrative style is the author’s stylistic choice, so I definitely would recommend this novella to fans of Mira Grant.

REPRESENTATION: lgbtiap+ (gay side characters), the world is effortlessly racially diverse
CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS: death, grief, loss of a loved one

Many thanks to the publisher for sending me an eARC via NetGalley for review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon publication. Buddy read with Destiny


spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

22 Comments

  1. Sofia @ BookishWanderess

    December 4, 2018 at 8:54 AM

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one! I read one of her books and really liked it, so I think I’ll give this one a chance. Hopefully I will end up liking it as much as I liked Into the Drowning Deep. Great Review, Kaleena! 🙂

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 7, 2018 at 8:53 AM

      Thank you, Sofia! I buddy read this one with Destiny and she said that this book is written like Mira Grant’s other work, so if you liked a book by her in the past you probably will love this one! Happy reading!

  2. Tammy

    December 4, 2018 at 8:55 AM

    I’m sorry this didn’t work for you. I know firsthand that certain POV styles don’t work for me either, so I get it. I do plan on reading this since I’m a big Mira Grant fan.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 7, 2018 at 8:54 AM

      Thanks Tammy, and I am sad that Mira Grant’s narrative style doesn’t seem to be for me. I hope you love this one as much as Destiny did!

  3. Beth Tabler

    December 4, 2018 at 9:43 AM

    I think I am going to still give it a go because I like Seanan Mcguire/Mira Grant so much. I am really sensitive to POV styles so this may annoy the crap out of me. But will see! Great Review.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 7, 2018 at 8:57 AM

      From what Destiny told me, this book is written very much in Mira Grant’s typical narrative style. So if you like her work I think you will enjoy this one! I am so sad that it didn’t work for me.

      1. Beth Tabler

        December 7, 2018 at 9:00 AM

        It is funny you mention that, I just finished this book last night and I was going to comment on that. I love the Mira Grant writing style. It is slighty different than Seanan Mcguire. I am going to write a review on this for next week. 🙂

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          December 7, 2018 at 9:17 AM

          Oh YAY I am glad this worked for you and I look forward to seeing your review! Definitely still going to try something by Seanan

          1. Beth Tabler

            December 7, 2018 at 10:25 AM

            Try the october Daye series. It is so fantastic.

          2. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

            December 8, 2018 at 9:27 AM

            Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. waytoofantasy

    December 4, 2018 at 2:11 PM

    I haven’t read any of Seanan’s books written as Mira Grant either. Great review! Sorry you didn’t really enjoy this one.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 7, 2018 at 8:58 AM

      It seems that you either love or hate Mira Grant’s writing style, and I am so sad that I appear to be in the latter camp. Definitely still want to give Seanan’s work a try, though!

  5. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    December 6, 2018 at 10:51 PM

    I’m so sorry you didn’t love this one, but I still had a blast buddy reading with you!! Hopefully our next one will be amazing, which I mean… I’m assuming it will be since it will probably be that Janz novella, and I would be STUNNED if either of us hated anything he writes at this point.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 7, 2018 at 9:16 AM

      I am so glad you loved this one, Destiny, and buddy reading was a blast as always! I am super stoked for our next one… YAY MORE JANZ! Do we wanna try to fit it in this weekend?

      1. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

        December 7, 2018 at 9:08 PM

        Hell yes, this weekend sounds perfect to me!

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          December 8, 2018 at 9:44 AM

          Excellent! I just wrapped up another one of my reads and am pausing on my PLL indulgence as I’ve wrapped up the first arc. I’ll poke you on Discord!

  6. sammers65

    December 7, 2018 at 9:45 AM

    Oof based off the synopsis I thought this would have been right up your alley since you loved contagion by Erin Bowman. Sorry to hear that it didn’t reach that level of epicness for you! and Poor Lisa for being patient zero status, the world must hate her lol. 😛

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      December 8, 2018 at 9:25 AM

      Right?! The story was really cool, but the narrative style just isn’t for me.

      Knowing my luck I would be the poor soul to be the index case and naming of a terrible disease that wipes up much of humanity. Poor Lisa indeed, she just wanted to ride the rollercoasters!

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