Nettle and Bone – T Kingfisher

“The trees were full of crows and the woods were full of madmen.

Marra is the third daughter of the King and Queen of a small but strategically important harbour kingdom. The sisters’ lives aren’t wholly their own: the first is married off to a prince, as is the second when she dies. Marra is sent to a convent, the better to keep her out of the games of politics. But when she discovers how cruelly her sister is treated by her husband, she sets off on a quest to find a solution.

We start the story mid-task, and backtrack a little before continuing, and my singular tiny complaint here would be finding that timeline just a little clunky. I get it, though: it starts us up to our elbows in… well, less ‘action’ and more bones. Literally. Having spun a clock of nettles, Marra’s second task is to wire together a dog made of of bones. Bonedog (“you’re not the most imaginative, are you?”) is a loyal companion through the rest of the trials, joined by the Dust Wife who set Marra her challenges, her demon-possessed chicken, and a knight they rescue from the goblin market on the advice of a moth. Indeed! Oh, and don’t forget the fairy godmother.

The title and a few early tags had me a little worried this was one of Ms Kingfisher’s horror titles – like The Hollow Places (good but creepy) orΒ The Twisted Ones (which I bought and have not been brave enough to read!) – but it’s thankfully much more in the dark but very practical fairy tale-esque books. And that was just *perfect*, especially for a bit of a personal slump time. There’s something so cosy about the storytelling, even as it involves domestic abuse, or ghosts that will happily drown you.

I’ve loved T Kingfisher’s work for a long time, and this just cements her crown as able to do absolutely no wrong. Well, apart from writing the odd book I’m too scared to read πŸ˜‰ Absolute bonus with the demonic chicken, which is highly amusing in its own right, and more so if you follow the author’s twitter and regular updates about the real chickens πŸ™‚

Nettle and Bone book coverNetGalley eARC: 320 pages / 22 chapters
First published: 26th April 2022
Series: none
Read from 8th-11th April 2022

My rating: 9/10

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