Crossroads of Bones – Luanne Bennett

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(I thank Netgalley and  the author for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)

I enjoyed this book very much. I love urban fantasy and this series Katie Bishop seems really promising. To be honest I was bewildered by one point or maybe two (see bellow) but as the book is, if I understood well, self-published, some kind of tiny flaws are acceptable in my point of view.

The narration is quite good, for a comfortable and interesting read. I loved the context, Savannah, a small business, a tattoo shop, an independent and amiable main character, an extraordinary young woman with an ordinary life (well, almost!). The story is interesting, with a lot of hidden in plain sight magic – voodoo, demonic spirits and various kind of shape-shifters.

The story presents a very good mix of action (not too much, not non-stop one, yes!), mysteries and mundane situations – which I particularly like in fantasy or science-fi contexts.

I was a little overwhelmed by the slang and familiar speech in the dialogues (I was hypnotized by all the « them » used as demonstrative adjectives!) but I must admit that I prefer classical dialogues, too bad for local colour… I had sometimes the vague impression of conventional persons shaming, as all the the wealthy and privileged characters were systematically judged as nasty and unworthy at first sight. It shocked me as the heroin is a nice person, not inclined to be judgmental without any reasons. It’s probably for a lack of exposure of the characters (one scene or two showing and not telling their unpleasantness would have been interesting), the author knowing these people’s personalities and jumping to the conclusion, forgetting that the reader hasn’t got the right clues to forge their own opinion. The last thing that bothered me quite a lot, before understanding my problem, was with Sugar. Till the very beginning Sugar is presented as a trans genre woman, still in a man body, but named « she » by everybody « out of respect for her ». So far so good, sexual identity is not always linked to the right body and a person should always be listened for knowing best. But if the pronoun « she » was always used in dialogues, and Sugar being respected (she’s an important character, with and an endearing and dynamic personality) the narration keeps describing her as a man. I couldn’t understand it: Sugar identifies as a woman, the narrator is okay with that, so why insisting and speaking about her as a he, a man? I decided finally that it must have been an involuntary clumsiness, writing « man » where « man’s body » would have been correct, and insisting on the whole portrait of a large man wearing woman clothes, abundant make-up, and wigs, to be sure that the reader never forgets that Sugar isn’t a traditional woman, with a comfortable feminine body to wear (actually it worked for me, Sugar’s image is quite vivid in my mind!).

All in all a book I warmly recommend « Crossroads of bones » to all readers who like good urban fantasy, without any excess of sexe, violence and boring action, but personality and a well thought context, effective and fun.

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