Review of The Bone Roses by Kathryn Lee Martin

Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy villagers who want her rare blue eyes in an unmarked grave. 
But when the Kingdom strikes back, kills Rags’s best friend, and sends its second-in-command to destroy Rondo in four days, Rags must make a choice: seek revenge, or save her loved ones who are trapped in a town bound for slaughter broadcast Kingdom-wide. With little more than a stolen dream to guide her, and a growing attraction to a sly Kingdom informant, Rags is about to give the Kingdom four days it’ll never forget—if the bounty on her head doesn’t get her killed first.

First of all, I have to disagree with the description of this book. I would not classify it as either Steampunk or Western. The fact that people wear buckskins with fringe and have a horse or mule to ride does not make it a Western. And, there was only (maybe) one element of Steampunk-type technology in the whole book. To me, it should be classified as dystopian.

That being said, the story did hold my interest for the most part. But, I really never felt engaged by the characters. The world building was OK, but could have been better. I never really understood a lot of the story. The world has changed and been thrown into constant winter by the eruption of a volcano in Yellowstone. Struggles abound because of the cold temperatures and lack of food that is caused by the weather

Rags is a young woman who was born a slave and rescued by a man called Tracker. She comes to think of him, Sadie and Matthew as her family, since she never really had a family. She and Tracker are Rustlers for Rondo, going out into other settlements to steal supplies.

Hyperion, who is only talked about in the book, is the ruler of everything, demanding that all bow down and pledge allegiance to him. Rondo refuses to worship Hyperion and therefore they are cut off from supplies by the Kingdom. There are hints of Christianity, but it is never really clear in the book. If a whole settlement refuses to worship Hyperion, I think that their faith would be very strong and should be evident throughout the book.

There is a lot of action in the book, but a lot of it dragged for me too. I really wanted to love the book, but just came away liking it. It is well-written and the author does a great job in her descriptions. Not sure if I will continue the series or not. I just never really felt engaged by it that much.

3*

The Bone Roses is currently available through Amazon via Parliament House Publishing

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