Book Review

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller

Book Title: The Bone Orchard


Author:  Sara A Mueller

Goodreads Link:

Release Date:  03/22/22

Star Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley.

I’ve been putting off writing this review. Not because I didn’t like the book. Quite the contrary. I loved this book so much I have trouble articulating it. Why does it seem like the ones we like most are hardest to review? At least that’s the way it is for me.

Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow.

Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain.

Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real.

Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself.

now—Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.

If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil—her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart.

Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge. 
– Goodreads

I’m not one of for books with necromancy as much, usually because they tend to be of the gritty or melodramatic variety, but I simply couldn’t resist that beautiful cover and so I requested it. I am so glad I did. The author crafts her story with such lovely language and imagery. It is a very well written book and I couldn’t put it down. It is one of my first 5-star reads of the year. I’m guessing I will be revisiting it again very soon.

Oh this book, these characters and this story. It is ostensibly a mystery, but to me the story is so much more than that. If anything, while I really did want to know who actually was behind the assasination … it was the women of Charm’s house and their relationships with one another that held the most fascination for me. Each of them a facet of a woman who is trying her best to survive after experiencing the colonization of her homeland. They suffer from severe PTSD, and how they cope with it engenders in the reader such sadness, but also admiration. Courage and resilience abounds.

This is not one to miss. I am looking forward to reading it again in the near future, and will be watching out for whatever this author comes up with yet. Did I mention it’s a debut novel? I’m sure there are good things to come from Ms. Mueller in future.


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