Series: Market of Monsters #1
Publisher : HMH Teen
Genre : Young Adult |Fantasy – Thriller
Page Count: 368
Synopsis : Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster. (From Goodreads)
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review*
CW: Dissection and dismemberment, murder, drugging and kidnapping, torture and mutilation, suicidal ideations, gore, cannibalism, emotionally abusive mother.
This book was… a ride. I knew going in that it was going to be a dark and twisted but then my first thought was “How dark can it get, really?”. Very dark, past Fadwa. Very very dark. And I was a huge fan of that about the book. Seeing how many of my friends were huge fans of this book, I had high expectations for it, and content Wise, it did live up to every one of them, and even exceeded them, that being said, I had a few issues I just couldn’t get past.
My main issue with Not Even Bones was the writing, and it’s 100% subjective but I just couldn’t get into it. no matter how thrilling the events were, I just was too disconnected from the narration to feel any of it properly. and it also made me feel as if the book was taking me forever to finish (It was only 5 days) and that it was slow which makes absolutely no sense because objectively speaking, it was the farthest thing from slow or even boring. I knew I probably make no sense but I really can’t pinpoint what about the writing style didn’t work for me, I just know I struggled with it.
There was also this thing that rubbed me the wrong way a few times in the book, and it’s the stigmatizing of sociopaths. Sociopathy as a mental illness is largely misunderstood so the fact that the author plastered the label on every villaineous character (which, let’s be honest, is every character) sucked and further stigmatized it, and it was used in the wrong context and to describe the wrong set of personality traits and behavioral patterns, which showed that the author herself, misunderstands it.
Now that that’s out of the way, I absolutely loved the worldbuilding in this book, and I mean WORLDbuilding, not USbuilding. Let me explain myself: in most urban fantasy books centering American main characters, the worldbuilding and existence of supernatural and mystical creatures somehow stops at the borders of the US so imagine my surprise when I discovered that 1/ the book is set in Peru and not the US, and 2/ the wordbulding expands to all parts of the world. The author took time and care to mention creatures from all kinds of countries and I really appreciated that.
Another thing I liked was the underlying social commentary that the authors sprinkles all throughout the book without it even being too obvious, especially when it comes to Anglophone countries’ entitlement and superiority complex, as well as their colonization and oppression of other countries all throughout history up until present day.
Not Even Bones is gorey and not afraid to go into the darkest, cruelest depths of human existence and that’s what I loved about it the most, it doesn’t just proclaim itself dark, it actually shows it is. Every single character we meet in the book is a villain with a broken moral compass, yes, even the main character. Moreover, this book is so freaking original, I’ve never read anything quite like it before, explaining supernatural creatures through science, putting a twist on them, even the most popular ones (vampires, unicorns, etc…) and bringing Something entirely new to the YA table.
We follow Nita, the MC, whose mom is white American and dad is Chilean, as she goes from dissecting unnaturals to the one being dissected to be sold on the body market. She’s smart, cunning, pragmatic and highly selfish, which I loved, because when you write a villain as a protagonist, you might as well go all the way. She puts herself first and doesn’t back down in the face or anything to get her freedom and I admire that the author, like we say, DID THAT. As the book progresses, we see her slowly come to term with her villaineous nature as she stops rationalizing her actions and questions everything she’s ever told herself…about herself.
All in all, plot wise, Not Even Bones was absolutely brilliant, especially with the way it ended and I won’t let the things that I didn’t enjoy about it stop me from getting to the sequel, because I’m very excited to see where things are headed.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Not Even Bones? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.