As happens often recently, I am sat at my laptop without knowing exactly what I intend to say in my review. This seems to happen more and more often because I am reading some awesome books. This time is no exception.
This time I was left feeling empty and full at the same time, happy yet sad.
I can honestly say that the characters were some of the most enigmatic I have discovered of late. BONE DRESSING was captivating from the moment the words began and the only thing that was bad about this book was the fact it had to end.
I was about halfway through this book when I stumbled across someone's 1 star rating of it and I was curious what they thought was so wrong about it.
Upon reading that review I honestly didn't know what they were talking about. It felt like they had read a totally different book to me. The things I liked about it were exactly the things this person had hated.
All I could say was, oh well, it's a shame for them that they couldn't see what I saw.
BONE DRESSING is a story about 17 year old girl called Syd. Sydney Annalise Bovay Roberdeau. And boy is she one angry young woman.
In the beginning, just about everything makes her mad. She doesn't seem to have any way of channelling that anger, she just lets it rise to the surface and explode.
I must say, this actually had me laughing out loud. I think Syd is AWESOME. She's feisty, she's mouthy, she flouts the authority of her foster parents. She pulls no punches and tells things exactly as they are.
Quince and Jackie are her foster parents and they have had about enough with Syd always rebelling, sneaking out when she's supposed to be in her room. But as I said, Syd isn't much for authority.
It's really Quince who's harder on her. Jackie is soft at the edges and I think she would let Syd get away with more were it not for Quince.
They may be her foster parents, but they love her and only want what's best for her. Even if that means grounding her for a month and banning her from her school prom, after yet another of Syd's escapades.
Needless to say, Syd sneaks out of the house.
She finds that her feet lead her to the cemetery of their own accord.
They lead her right up to Plot 1327-B. The plot of Lily-Bovay Roberdeau and Jeremiah Remy Roberdeau. Syd's parents. This is the plot she calls 'Home'.
Whilst sitting at her parents plot, a deep male voice asks her what brings her to the cemetery on such a stormy night.
It makes Syd just about jump out of her skin. She had assumed she was alone, talking to her parents to ease her troubles.
The voice turns out to be coming from a guy with shoulder length, straight, dark hair, slick and glistening in the moonlight and the rain from the storm. His name is Jean-Remy Beauchamps St Claire.
He is also beautiful, not that Syd would tell him that.
They strike up a conversation and he tells her he prefers to be called Remy. But Syd struggles with this because it was her fathers name.
(I won't tell you what takes place between them, but I can say Syd is her usual feisty self - argumentative, temperamental, maybe a touch self-depricating)
Then, along comes his sister. Sarah. A sweet young girl who looks to be about 8 years old. She steps out when Syd and Remy are talking, causing Syd to swear - which let's face it isn't unusual for Syd, but is not considered polite in front of one so young.
Sarah La Rosa Genevieve St Claire, as she introduces herself, has bright blue eyes that seem to shine with an inner strength. A strength usually found in a woman beyond Sarah's years.
As usual though, Syd can't keep herself from arguing with someone for 5 minutes. And though she doesn't know Remy or anything about him, she still finds grounds to argue on.
She is shouting and swearing at him, having to apologise to Sarah for her manners, when out of the trees comes a huge glossy black furred cat. A full grown black panther to be precise. It has it's eyes set on Syd. Now what is she supposed to do?
Well, she tells Remy how gorgeous she thinks he is for a start. Confronted with her certain death at the hands, or rather paws, of a panther, she feels she might as well tell him. She won't live beyond this moment to regret what spills out anyway.
Except that she does live. The panther doesn't attack any of them.
Whilst thankful that it hasn't killed her, Syd sure wishes she hadn't spilled her guts to the gorgeous Remy.
As it turns out, the panther is a travelling companion of the brother-sister duo. Her name is TJ and she doesn't like the way Syd was arguing with Remy. TJ is very protective of him and thought that Syd was attacking him.
Turns out that Syd needs to keep a civil tongue in her head. Easier said than done. But if she doesn't, she'll have to incur the wrath of TJ. Still, that doesn't stop our Syd from mouthing off. Boy this girl knows how to push boundaries. Almost like it's an art form.
I can't say too much more without giving the whole game away, I always worry that my reviews might be classed as too 'spoilery'.
All I can say now is how I felt about this book.
Like I said before, BONE DRESSING was captivating from the start. Whether I was laughing at Syd's anger rearing it's head, or at her nearly wetting her pants when confronted by Bagheera - as she calls TJ - there were certainly some laugh out loud moments.
The writing style of Michelle Brooks is unlike others I have come across in the genre. She has a unique voice and I have to say, I love it.
The only bad thing about this book was the fact it had to end. The end left me instantly craving more. In a way, I'm glad I read this book when I did, but in a way, I wish I'd been able to wait until the next book was released. That way I would have been able to get my next fix sooner.
As it is, I along with everyone else, must wait (im)patiently until the next book comes along.
There are some awesome characters to be found within the pages of this book. I not only fell in love with the ticking time bomb that we call Syd, but Remy and Sarah too. We didn't get to find out much about their past, and I hope to find out more in book 2. Their lives are entwined in such a way, and I hope that this leads to more fascinating discoveries.
It has already been a bit of a rollercoaster ride, and I don't see that ceasing to be the case any time soon.
I really can't say too much about the story, but there are more beautiful characters to be discovered than just these 3.
Syd finds she must go back to her previous lives to discover more about herself. If she doesn't, there will be things she is not yet ready and able to face. Things that may be the end of her.
In BONE DRESSING, she goes back and discovers her life when she was Rachel - intrinsically linked and deeply in love with Jesse.
We discover much about the love they had for each other and the life they lived together. Without spoiling it too much, all I can really tell you is that these were 2 beautiful characters. You could tell that they were made for each other.
The way Michelle writes these scenes, it seems as though she herself may have experienced a love as deep rooted and all consuming as the love of Rachel and Jesse, or she has dreamed of love like it often.
The way in which her words paint the picture of a love so pure and beautiful, touched my heart in a way that is tough to forget.
Not all was smiles and laughter along the way for all involved though. There was a point at which I was shocked to the core and sat there for a good 5 minutes re-reading the same paragraph because my heart didn't want to let the words sink in. I am not ashamed to admit, I cried for about the next 15 minutes before regaining my composure.
It truly takes something rich and wonderful to touch me they way BONE DRESSING has. I must own this book in paperback, because much as I love my kindle and my e-books, I do like to own my favourites in hardcopy.
This is a book that I will definitely recommend to all my friends, and indeed to all readers that want something a little bit different and special on their shelf.
I am ever thankful that Michelle asked me to review this book.
Some people appreciate art for it's beauty. Well I appreciate a good book and a good author in exactly the same way.
So, thank you Michelle. I hope I don't have to wait too long for the next installment in this incredible journey.
(reviewed 38 days after purchase)