Nettle & Bone, by T. Kingfisher (audio)

As the youngest daughter to the royal family of a small kingdom, Marra is tucked safely away in a monastery, to be kept in reserve in case she might one day need to be married off for political alliance. Both of her sisters have suffered that fate already, successively married off to a cruel prince of a larger kingdom. Marra’s life in the monastery is comfortable, but when she discovers just how cruel her brother-in-law is, she sets off on a quest to save her family – if the quest doesn’t kill her first.

I cannot tell you how delightful this book was! Unusual protagonist (shy, sheltered, 30-year-old woman); the interesting friends she makes along the way (like the ancient, grumpy dust-wife with her demon chicken; or Bonedog, the bone dog Marra built from bones and wire and brought back to life); the dry humor all throughout; the focus on helping family and friends rather than on romance or personal gain. The whole thing reads like a grown-up fairy tale, a sheen of whimsy and glamour over the very heavy topic of domestic abuse. (Let that be a trigger warning. All actual abuse occurs off-page, but there’s a lot of discussion about it.)

A friend of mine has been trying to get me to read T. Kingfisher for months, and I’m so glad that I finally did. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of her books, and also glad that I started here in this 250-page standalone as a way to get a feeling for her writing. I know it’s a book I’ll revisit, especially as I listened to this one and the audiobook (read by Amara Jasper) was an added delight. I can definitely see this becoming a cozy favorite to revisit in the future. Something about it reminds me of Howl’s Moving Castle, and while Nettle & Bone is a lot heavier in terms of themes, and didn’t turn into a multi-read book for me like Howl, it’s the sort of book that will delight and comfort me on rereads in the future. Plus, I have a feeling I missed a lot on my first reading, little things that I’ll see better the second (or third, or fourth, or tenth…) time through.


About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2023, Adult, Prose and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Nettle & Bone, by T. Kingfisher (audio)

  1. Ann says:

    The book sounds very interesting! I’ve added it to my list.


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