KLIATT - Stephanie Squicciarini
In this sequel to The Bonemender, readers are brought back to the Krylian Basin where people are recovering and regrouping from brutal battles that claimed King Jerome of Verdeau. Gabrielle, a bonemender and King Jerome's daughter, was with him when he died on the battlefield. While Gabrielle continues to be a central part of the story, this book goes more deeply into the lives of those around her. Her brother Tristan returns from the battles hoping to find that his love, Rosalie, will want to marry him. This love is met with challenges, including an attempt on Tristan's life. Derkh, of an enemy kingdom, is saved by Gabrielle and welcomed into Verdeau, but Derkh's guilt is almost more than he can bear and leads to a dangerous and life-threatening rescue. Gabrielle, who discovered her Elvin lineage in The Bonemender, has her own issues to face, the focus of which is her betrothal to Feolian, whose father has concerns about the marriage. Bennett has once again created a rich world, one that is at once fantastically grand and real with strong ties to honor, love, family, and friendship. With engaging characters, suspense, a subtle dose of humor, and wonderfully descriptive tones, readers can either read this volume on its own or be abundantly rewarded by reading both novels.
VOYA - Michele Winship
Bennett's sequel to The Bonemender (Orca, 2005/VOYA December 2005) picks up the story line after the war has ended and the Greffiers have been defeated. Gabrielle and FTolan are returning home from the battlefront together, accompanied by the young son of the dead commander of the Greffier army whom Gabrielle has healed from a fatal wound. Tristan is returning, as well, to take over as regent following his father's death in battle. None of them, however, know that another threat waits for them at home, one more insidious and determined to destroy them than even the Greffier army. Bennett shifts from narrator to narrator, developing parallel plot lines and helping to build suspense as characters head back into the forest where they all meet danger once again, relying on skill and wit to overcome their foes. Bennett introduces some interesting plot twists and unusual characters and gives Gabrielle the greatest challenge to the oath she has taken-healing herself from a mortal wound. Readers get a satisfying conclusion to the story, reinforcing the theme that good always wins out over evil. In addition, Bennett shows how patience and compassion can bridge cultural barriers and that relationships and trust are built bit by bit through small acts of kindness.
Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
This sequel to The Bonemender features Gabrielle, a bonemender or healer who is half human and half Elf; her beau, Feolan,; and a 15-year-old soldier named Derkh, who has been rescued and befriended by Gabrielle even though he is an "enemy." Gabrielle's slain father was the king, and although she welcomes Derkh with friendship and kindness, he feels uncomfortable and unworthy. Unable to believe Gabrielle genuinely accepts him, Derkh decides he must return to his own people. When Gabrielle and Feolan discover Derkh has left, they chase after him, fearing for his safety even as they disregard their own. Meanwhile, Gabrielle's brother, Tristan, becomes embroiled in a dangerous feud with LaBarque, an angry, unstable suitor who has been rejected by Tristan's arrow-wielding love, Rosalie. As the story continues, the heroes encounter obstacles, battle enemies, forge unexpected alliances, and escape certain death (repeatedly!). One of the more memorable subplots is when Gabrielle and Feolan find, and help, a huge, furry creature named "Seskeesh." Applying both her skills as a healer and her recently acquired ability to communicate with animals, Gabrielle's compassion and expertise save the animal's life. Later in the story, the creature reciprocates by saving Gabrielle. This outcome, like much of the story, is predictable but satisfying nonetheless. There are no unexpected twists, but the characters are likable, and Derkh's hard-won sense of belonging by the story's end is credible and rewarding. Perhaps most importantly, the notion that "enemies" can become friends is as timely as it is thought-provoking.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up
Picking up where The Bonemender (Orca, 2005) left off, Gabrielle (the half human-half elf healer of the title) heads home to face the consequences of war, along with Tristan, elf Féolan, and Derkh. Tristan has a new enemy in LeBarque, who vows to have Rosalie for himself, even if it means killing Tristan. Meanwhile, Derkh struggles with his enemy identity: he was happy to have Gabrielle treat his war injuries, but is frightened to return to hostile territory with her. These confused feelings lead him to an escape into the forest that puts not only his own life, but also Gabrielle's, at risk. Clear, descriptive, fast-paced writing brings the characters to life, even in a comparatively short story. Bennett weaves together elements of love, vengeance, pain, and healing. Although the book will be better enjoyed by and slightly less confusing for readers of the earlier work, newcomers will appreciate the quick pace and tidy, though somewhat predictable, ending.
Carly B. WiskoffCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"[Holly Bennett's] prose is elegant and her insight into her characters' thoughts and hearts is moving and delightful. Excellent."
"A powerful story that will grab the reader's attention and refuse to let go...A highly recommended read."
"Readers will find it hard to put the book down."
"Readers who enjoyed the first book in this high fantasy series will take pleasure in this exciting sequel."
Canadian Book Review Annual
"An engaging and enjoyable read."