Review: Nettle & Bone

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that was incredible and deserving of all the praise it got. I was already a fan of T. Kingfisher from when my eldest daughter convinced me to read A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, but this was just so perfect to me.

It’s essentially a fairy tale, but told for adults. Not in the way that Shrek or other fractured fairy tales make everything into sexual innuendo and fart jokes and so on. Just a fairy tale that can go a little darker, maybe speak about material that would be a bit much for the average child. Even mundane things like the politics of kingdoms and how that affects the choices we have. In that way it reminded me a lot of Tress of the Emerald Sea, which I just read last month. Except Tress has a more whimsical nature to it and is being narrated by a narrator that is in conversation with the reader. So more about the tone than the style as Tress is also told as a fairy tale for adults. One other commonality is that Tress is Princess Bride if Princess Buttercup had more agency. This book is a typical fairy tale if one of the princesses had more agency. This book also has more horror elements to it. The market scene also gave me strong vibes of the spa in Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. In fact, the book seemed to have a somewhat similar tone to his manga and anime in that it’s mostly naturalistic, but with magical/supernatural elements sprinkled throughout.

The book is an incredibly quick read. I think I spent maybe 3 hours total reading it, if that. This is not just based on the length (226 pages on my ereader including the author’s note at the end), but also each chapter left me wanting to keep reading. It was only through strong discipline that I did not stay up all night reading it.

I’ve heaped a lot of praise and given it 5/5 stars and I recognize it might not be for everyone, but I heartily endorse it.

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