The Crown of Bones by Rosalyn Briar (ISBN: 978-1655164422) is an incredible piece of adult fiction that combines “The Lottery” and Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Readers who enjoy dark fantasy, a splash of horror, and an exceptional romance trope, will fall in love with The Crown of Bones.
The main character, Gisela, is a fiery and stubborn young woman. While leaving the market one day, she is accosted by the wealthy Albert, nephew of the High Priest. Albert has been pursuing Gisela for months to be his wife, but Gisela continues to refuse his advances. Things turn ugly in the alley leaving the market, and Gisela’s former love interest, Brahm, intervenes. Albert tells Gisela and Brahm that they will regret their actions, but no one guessed exactly what he would do.
The next day, Gisela receives her Black Letter – a letter identifying her as one of eight chosen to be an Offering to the goddess Bergot. The beautifully heartbreaking scene of Gisela saying goodbye to her family, especially her younger sister Thora, brought tears to my eyes – Briar is talented like that.
Gisela and the other Offerings are released into an ashen forest in which they must find the Crown of Bergot. However, every step they take they are faced with trials and tribulations, that are eerie echoes of the fairy tales Gisela once read. Can the Offerings outrun death? Can Gisela survive in order to return to take care of her family?
Briar does an excellent job creating tension within every page of her writing, and she provides a few twists that I didn’t see coming. The romance trope is tantalizing and keeps you engrossed in every word. The fantasy world is excellently crafted, and I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the ending. It ends with a cliffhanger, and I’m not a fan of cliffhangers. . . BUT there is a sequel in the works!
Even with feelings of frustration and disappointment with not having closure in the end, I still have to give this book 5 stars. Why? Because the world building is phenomenal, the characters have depth, the romance trope is well-done, and the overall writing is wonderful! This book is delightfully creepy, and I enjoyed the e-version so much I do plan on ordering myself the paperback!
I will say this book is for ADULTS, and contains violence, cursing, and sexual situations. If any of these make you uncomfortable, this book may not be for you. HOWEVER, if these are not triggers for you, and you enjoy dark fantasy, this book is for you!