NOT EVEN BONES
SERIES: Market of Monsters #1
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA Paranormal Horror
Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.
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.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.
But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.
Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.
Not Even Bones totally blindsided me.
I mean, it shouldn’t have. It’s right there in the comp titles. Listed as Dexter meets This Savage Song, I was intrigued by the blurb as soon as I read it. But usually, when a YA book comped to something… a little bit more grown up… shall we say? It usually means to expect xyz-lite. Now, I didn’t find Dexter particularly gory or disturbing, so I was expecting something of a paranormal with hints of something darker.
I was wrong.
For me, Not Even Bones is much darker than Dexter.
It’s not necessarily a gory book — I know that are scenes of dissection and mutilation but most of it is done in a very clinical way, not a slash-and-hack Saw way. If anything this makes the book even more spine-chilling. Particularly disturbing, is the fact that we’re in Nita’s head, and she has a very really difficult mind to be in. If you want to read about morally ambiguities characters or anti-heroes, Not Even Bones is definitely the book for you.
I thought Nita was a fascinating character. She’s complicated, practical and strong-willed. She is very hard to get into, as I said, but completely fascinating. The first few chapters, when Nita is most under her mother’s thumb, and most coldly scientific in her approach and outlook, were particularly hard to get through. Those scenes with Frederico made me want to look away. I found it really interesting that she not only uses the clinical nature of the dissections as a way of dehumanizing the victims, but also as a coping mechanism for herself when she’s under stress. It was interesting to see her character develop as she went through a similar situation and suddenly saw a different perspective on her experiences, and considered her own moral culpability in her mother’s enterprise. I also really liked that although she develops over the course of the story, she doesn’t suddenly become an entirely different person. By the end of the book, she’s still not entirely redeemed and I find it really intriguing.
Not Even Bones does end on a massive cliffhanger though so that something to be aware of. As is the fact that this book comes with a billion trigger warnings. Off the top of my head, there’s kidnapping, mutilation, torture, human trafficking, black market organ sales, violence and cannibalism. Looking back, most of the book is a bit of a locked room story, the plot doesn’t necessarily feel that action-packed for the majority of the page count, but there’s something about it that just kept me turning the pages, completely engrossed. It felt like a really, really really fast read. Then, when the action does kick in, it’s full-fledged and fast-paced.