Saturday, 18 May 2013

Review: Trail of Bones by Chris Salisbury

“No mercy, No rules – Welcome to the Trail of Bones!”

Don't you hate it when you read a book you know is good, very good in fact, but you don't enjoy it? 
I do. I hate it so much because I know neither the book nor the author deserve my condemnation.  That's what happened to me with Trail of Bones

But before you think, okay, I won't bother with this, let me put my review into perspective. 

I felt the same way about The Hunger Games. Brilliant book. Amazing characters. Stayed up all night to read it. Imaginative plot. Wall-to-wall action. Felt I needed therapy afterwards. Trail of Bones checked every single one of those boxes. I even think it was better written than The Hunger Games.

So what went wrong? 

The answer is simple. I felt too much for the characters. I've told you all before, I'm a total wuss. Because I became so attached to Magnus and Kelor, I didn't want to see them suffer, and trust me, in this book they suffer. Big Time. So perhaps I was the wrong person to review this . .  

Maybe now would be a good time to tell you a little of the plot.  

Trail of Bones follows the tale of two amazingly real animals (in this fantasy world people and animals can talk to each other). The first (and the one I liked the most) is Magnus. He's the runt of a litter of Shade Wolves who wants nothing more than to be a loyal, strong member of the pack. But when an ancient enemy threatens his friends and family, he faces a choice which tears him from all he’s known and loved.

The other hero is Kelor. A giant panther born in captivity, Kelor knows nothing but suffering and loss. He struggles to find his place in a world of terror where he battles to protect his family without succumbing to the darkness lurking inside him. I blew hot and cold about Kelor. Sometimes his arrogance really irritated me, but at other times, I felt so much love and compassion for him. In the end, he came out tops. I have great hopes for him in the sequel.

Anyway, back to the plot. 

Magnus and Kelor fall captive to a really vile man named Warden. (He makes Snow from The Hunger Games look like a nice guy.) Totally without scruples, Warden and his sidekick, Korwin, an equally horrible elf, put together a roadshow - the battle of the beasts known as ‘The Trail of Bones’ - in which Magnus and Kelor are forced to fight to the death against a string of other enslaved animals and humans. 

Sounds a bit Hunger Games-ish, right? It is. 

Except in Trail of Bones the bodies of the dead are used for a magical ritual . . . can't say more, you have to read the book to get the highly imaginative details. And yes, this book is imaginative. That - and it's characters - is one of it's great strengths. Pity about the cruelty . . . I will tell you though that this is the first in a series about Magnus and Kelor. That's a clue to the ending . . .  

Maybe I can end my review by saying there was so much that was fantastic about this book that I wish I could just come out and say I loved it. 
But I can't. Still, please don't let my review put you off. You may have a stronger stomach than I do and you would miss something really amazing by not reading it. 


Three blood-stained panthers who can take on the world and win.

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