Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
[Not Even Bones #1]
Releases September 4th
Wow, so…. the “Dexter meets This Savage Song” comparison really encapsulates this? This is a deeply fucked up book, in a good way. You know how sometimes, you read YA fantasy and you just feel like it could have gone darker and it doesn’t? Not Even Bones just keeps Going There.
Not Even Bones follows Nita, a girl who dissects other supernatural beings for the black market – until she’s sold into the black market herself. So first of all, this book is impossible to put down and so addicting. It’s almost a thriller and almost an urban fantasy book and either way, it’s so fun to read. I never knew what was coming next – all I knew was that I was desperate to find out.
And better yet, this book features some seriously cool worldbuilding. Nita lives in a world where supernatural beings are prized for their parts but despised for their being, but also look exactly like other humans.
Something I liked here is there is some seriously biting social commentary slipped in there? Set in Peru and following American characters, this book doesn’t shy away from the obvious discussion of colonialism and privilege in America. With a lead cast of almost entirely characters of color, it’s a very interesting read. There’s also some discussion of eugenics-ish politics, which as some of you may know is something I’m super passionate about.
Okay, I’ve enthused a lot about the worldbuilding and all that, but I really think what made this book for me was the character work. All these lead characters are so awful and I love them. This is one of those books where the leads toe the line between villain and hero. Also, if you don’t like villain leads, you should probably not read this. Lol.
One of the things I really liked about this book is that the lead character doesn’t prioritize the survival of other people over herself. In a lot of fiction I’ve read with these vibes, the leads are something I’d like to call Unrealistically Good. Not to shit on unrealistically self-sacrificing people, but people do not tend to be willing to risk their lives for others at the drop of a hat. Nita, by contrast, is out for herself. And it’s not even what makes her an antihero!! She’s a total antihero, don’t get me wrong, but I think this book really understands the general human impulse to save your own skin [haha. Skin.]. Instead of prioritizing normal morals, this book puts the emphasis on a personal moral code, and the lines we refuse to cross so we do not lose our humanity. Nita is willing to kill and dismember and dissect, but she has lines.
Oh, and Nita? I love Nita. I would die for Nita. Her character development is incredibly excellent. And also Kovit is… a character. I can’t spoil shit but I love them and I also really like a certain side character and I am so here for it.
Oh, and this book in general was pretty twisty, but there was also this one twist in this book that I think might have been the end of my brain. I guess plot twists a lot but this was just… fucking wild, I feel like I should have guessed it and I did not at all. I need the second book immediately. @Rebecca Schaeffer where are you give me the fucking second book I need this
I guess if I were to critique this, I would say that the writing is a bit… fanfictiony? I don’t know, man, it’s a debut and it happens.
Anyway, you should read this. It is so fucked up and the lead and love interest are both so terrible and it scared me shitless and it is the BEST.
TW: so much body horror, sadism.
Have you read Not Even Bones? Are you interested? Let me know in the comments!