Review of ‘Nettle & Bone’

Nettle & Bone takes a girl on a magical journey to find the strength within her to do the impossible and save her to save her sister from an abusive king.

Part humor, all fantasy, Nettle & Bone surprises the reader with clever and entertaining storytelling.


Nettle & Bone
T. Kingfisher
Tor Books

Nettle & Bone is something different in the best way possible. Following Marra, the third daughter of a small kingdom that borders larger ones but has control over the waterway, Marra was not prepared for the throne.

Marra was treated as the spare, but that never bothered her. She had no desire to be queen or any inclination to be a husband. Soon after her oldest sister’s death and her other sister’s marriage, Marra is placed in a convent. However, on a visit to see her sister, she notices the bruises on her arms. Soon Marra discovers her sister keeps herself pregnant to stay alive. This is the catalyst for Marra. Determined to be the hero her sister needs, Marra embarks on an impossible journey.

On her journey, she meets a Witch who gives her impossible tasks. They should be impossible, but Marra is determined to kill her sisters’ husband, so she completes them. With Marra’s new bone dog, they gather a wayward night and a reluctant godfather with a penchant for curses.

The references to classic fairytales are hilarious and fit perfectly into the narrative. For example, Marra wants to be in a fairytale to save her sister. In fairytales, the heroes always complete impossible tasks and save the day.

And that is precisely what Marra does.


But the story would have been dry if not for those characterizations.

I can’t quite find the word to describe Marra, but she is unsure of herself. She seems quite practical, determined, and matter-of-fact, much like the witch. They balance each other out, especially since the witch knows more than Marra. Absentminded, that’s the word. Marra can sometimes be quite absentminded, so when she realizes certain things, these moments make the reader smile.

Of course, it is the godmother who steals the show.

She’s a powerful godmother when it comes to curses, and the only blessing she can give is one of good health.

There’s a scene when she curses a baby chick to find shelter, making the reader laugh out loud. Another with a cursed puppet that controls women, and finally, the scene where our heroes save the day.

It was utterly comical, especially with the demon-possessed rooster.

The way the characters delivered their lines and how they each balanced one another gave the humor in the story more life. These characters make the reader laugh and smile.

Final Thoughts

Nettle & Bone was such a delightful read. Full of incredible characters, tremendous character growth on Marra’s part, and humor throughout, it engages from beginning to end.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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