Chris Evan's Of Bone and Thunder

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Disclaimer: I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Of Bone and Thunder by Chris Evans

I read a lot fantasy outside what is considered the norm. It is not that I have anything against medieval Europe (or Lord of the Rings), but I enjoy the way authors have managed to mash up fantasy tropes with many different times in human history. So, when I saw Of Bone and Thunder pitched as fantasy in a Vietnam-War era, I was definitely interested.

And in that regard, the book did not disappoint. I am not a historian (far from it!), but I recognized a few pivotal Vietnam War scenes remade in this story of the Kingdom's war in Luitox. The story may have been fantastic (dwarves and dragons and elven people, oh my!), but it discusses very human issues of racism, drugs, authority, disenchantment, guerrilla warfare, and more.

One major element of the book is the multiple points of view. While these viewpoints will seem all over the map at first (a new mage, a commander of the dragonriders, a few perspectives within a ground unit of soldiers), they do eventually connect in a satisfying way.

Occasionally the remaking of the war into a fantasy setting just didn't work for me. The whole storyline of the giant catapults being dragged around in the jungle took me out of the story every time. And I was definitely annoyed that one of the only females in the story ended up being there only to sleep around with the soldiers.

Overall, I would recommend this story to someone who enjoys remaking history to explore history's lessons.  This story isn't a fantasy that tells just one epic tale. It is a story of stories, with fantastical elements, that explores the gritty reality of war.

Favorite line:
"It isn't about the valley," Vorley said. "Maybe Weel thinks it is, but he's wrong. It's about you and me and Jawn and that shield leader Carny and everyone else. The criers can tell the people back in the Kingdom we're fighting for ideals and philosophies at odd sounding places on a map, but what we're fight for is each other. Our sacrifice out here isn't for this valley --it's for them."
Rating 3/5

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