Nettle & Bone
Author: T. Kingfisher
Publisher: Tor Books (April 26, 2022)
Hardcover, 245 pages
After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra—the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter—has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.
Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince—if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.
On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra’s family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last.
CW: abuse (side character), miscarriage (side character), death of a child (side character), mention of cannibalism
I love a good fairy tale retelling, and this lush, dark fairy tale by T. Kingfisher did not disappoint. The world building exquisite, with some elements that felt familiar from old fairy tales and others that are clearly entirely original. I could have spent entire chapters in the goblin market!
I fell in love with this rag-tag bunch of would-be heroes. The princess raised in a nunnery and niave to some of the ways of the world, the reluctant dust-witch (with her demon chicken), the dog made of bones and wire, the disgraced knight trying to cling on to his honor, and the well-meaning (but rather bumbling) fairy godmother. I appreciated that Marra, our main character, is 30 years old – though with how sheltered she is/was, sometimes she does read as more YA than adult. I also really love the fantasy romance undertones to the story (well, I am a romance reader at heart!). I do with we’d gotten a bit more of the romance, but I can see how that may have pulled away from the rest of the story.
This was my first T. Kingfisher book, but you’d better believe it won’t be my last! I’ve already added eight of her other works to my TBR – now I just need to decide what to read first!
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are unbiased and my own.