Monday, 21 May 2012

Review: Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks

Bone Dressing by Michelle Brooks

Author: Michelle Brooks
Publication Date: April 20, 2011
Publisher: Kindle
Pages: 360
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Source: Bought It

Book Description from Goodreads:
Time is running out… the Dark that’s been chasing Syd for many lifetimes has finally caught up with her…
Sydney Roberdeau lost her parents as a young girl. Waiting for her life to start and the freedom that will come with her eighteenth birthday, Syd spends much of her time haunting the local cemetery. It is there, stretched out among the dead, that she feels most alive, most at home. Until one rainy night when Beau, Sarah and T.J. crash her ghostly sanctuary, appearing out of nowhere, turning her already inside-out world one degree past upside down.
Syd must now revisit past lives, dressing in the bodies of her previous selves… bone dressing. Her only chance to outrun the evil breathing down her neck is to face her own worst nightmares and her strongest desires. But if she can’t stay out of trouble in this life, how can she possibly fix mistakes from past lives? And just how many lives has she lived, loved and lost? What is Syd exactly, and what will she risk for the life of a man she doesn’t remember, the man she spent a lifetime with, the man she loves? Everything… including her very own life?


Brooks takes the subject of travelling through past lives and puts a very unique spin to it. Soon it becomes evident that there’s a lot more than just past lives at play here, there’s old magic and old enemies that are after Syd, who needs to figure out how to harness it all before it’s too late, good thing she has some friends that are willing to help out.

The cover of Bone Dressing very appropriately features a girl among an eerily misty graveyard with a bone chilling wind passing through that blows her hair about. I love how simple and calm the cover is in contrast to Syd’s more eccentric nature.

The beginning of the story definitely caught my attention immediately by throwing the reader right into the action as we meet Syd in a backdrop of flames while she recounts the events that lead up to her unleashing her inner pyromaniac. We also get the run down of Syd’s less than ideal life. She’s the poster child of what you think of when you hear “foster child”, she’s the school prankster, sneaks out and has a “I couldn’t give a two shakes what you think” kind of rebellious attitude with a sharp tongue built for snappy comebacks.

What I really loved about Syd was her defiant disposition that she draws her strength from. Using this she stuck up for herself and for her friends no matter the cost and it makes her a powerful ally to have on your side. But it’s also this headstrong attitude that makes her so difficult to get through to, along with her tendency for angry outbursts. I found it a bit irritating that no matter what life she was in, it took so many tries for everyone to get their point in when they were trying to tell her something REALLY important. The novel is also filled with soliloquy type dialogue in Syd’s point of view while she tries to make sense of her adolescent life. While these musings gave us depth into her character I felt at times that Syd might have attention issues as she continually jumped from one philosophical musing to another. But once she finally realizes what’s happening to her she becomes more focused and this more concrete direction in her lives makes her character easier to follow.

The character of Beau (aka Remy) pretty much had me at chère. I’m a total sucker for cajun accents, and combined with his dark looks and equally mysterious companions, I was definitely fascinated. But in the end he’s there to help Syd realize who she is and although we don’t get to know much about his background (although I’d really like to!), he was always there when needed and provided some scintillating scenes with Syd.

But where Brooks really shines is in writing her villains. Mr. Askew, Syd’s teacher and arch nemesis is absolutely THE CREEPIEST character you will ever meet. I still feel worms crawling under my skin every time I think about any scenes with him because he’s so incredibly manipulative, and he had me teetering on a fence wondering if he was actually that creepy or if it was all in Syd’s head. The lecherous stares, the insinuating dialogue just creates an image in your mind of an awkward older man with a greasy comb over and his tongue wagging at teenage girls in short skirts and it pretty much confirmed how bad he was.

Brook’s writing is amazing with staccato bursts of action and tension interspersed with more languid and detailed scenes that kept up a very interesting pace. While there is so much paranormal magic and shifting, it was a bit hazy on how it was all done, so I’m really hoping that it’s better explained in any possible sequels. But I did thoroughly enjoy the trip back in time, and there were some supernatural reveals that I could not see coming at all! The other characters like T.J., and Sarah all showed up rather mysteriously with Beau, and I’d definitely like to see more thoroughly explanation about them as well. All in all I found this a very interesting read with a great introduction to some very engrossing characters and the ending completely left me with my jaw on the floor wondering where does the story go now after something like THAT is revealed…

Overall: 4/5 Hot Cups of Tea! 
It was an enjoyable read with really sharp dialogue, super creepy villains and a different spin on magic.


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