PositiveThe Nerd DailyTo begin with, the magic system is quite exciting. Divided into three guilds, Durst creates a bone-based type of magic that reads both as creepily eerie and darkly fascinating ... Sadly, both the magic system and the fantastic environment of the novel seem a bit shallowly explored. As a result, the worldbuilding is a bit sparse and does not allow the reader to create a fully-fledged mental picture of the surroundings and background of the story ... Nonetheless, The Bone Maker is an astoundingly refreshing exploration of the tradition of the hero’s journey, as it is not common to see heroes go through maturity ... All things considered, The Bone Maker is quite a fun read and a great way into the fantasy world for those who are not quite used to the characteristic density of the genre. As a light read that still maintains the best traits of high fantasy, Sarah Beth Durst’s latest novel is a great pick for older and younger readers alike ... For fans of Morgan Rhode’s Falling Kingdoms saga, The Bone Maker is a wonderful, entertaining novel you don’t want to miss.
MixedThe Nerd Daily... such a rollercoaster of emotions. This book is cynical and sarcastic. This book is harsh, realistic, and a bit of a hater. Reading it feels like biting into a lemon, but that is exactly the point of it ... the sheer amount of negativity that oozes out of the book can sometimes become overwhelming. As a victim of sexual abuse, her feelings towards men are completely valid and understandable, but they may also be triggering for other recovering survivors. April is constantly rambling about how awful men are, but, for the most part of the novel, she does not try to decipher why she feels like that or how to stop herself from mindlessly hating an entire section of society ... It is not until almost the very end of the novel that our protagonist begins her journey towards recovery and self-discovery, and while April does become more and more self-aware, the very few pages Bourne gives her to grow and accept herself are not enough for the ending to be fulfilling ... Going back to that constant feeling of anger, the tone and plot sometimes become a bit flat, almost as if it went on circles. Nonetheless, the British author has some outstanding one-liners that delightfully add a sarcastic and witty side of comedic relief that balances out the harshness of the topics she deals with. Thanks to her snarky comments and the very necessary, taboo-free exploration of female sexuality, you will find yourself chuckling quietly quite a few times. Simultaneously, Pretending also dives into societal expectations on how both men and women are expected behave in heterosexual relationships ... an overall complex novel. It is angry and harsh, but it is also real and unafraid to speak about the ugly side of dating and romantic relationships. It demonstrates how the toughest judge is non-other than our own brain, driven by society’s unattainable standards, both for men and women.