Bonesmith by Nicki Pau Preto

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Wren Graven has been training her entire life to become a Valkyr in the powerful House of Bone. Valkyrs protect the people of the Dominions from the dangerous and vengeful ghosts that linger across the land. A talented but reckless student, Wren is assured of graduating at the top of her class and finally impressing the father she rarely sees and the grandmother who abhors her. However, when an unexpected betrayal sees Wren disgraced and exiled, she has nowhere else to go but to the Border Wall, an outpost on the edge of the wilds where ghosts wander freely.

Desperate to regain the respect and status that was so ruthlessly denied her, Wren volunteers for a rescue mission beyond the wall. A prince from the House of Gold has been kidnapped by rivals from the House of Iron and taken into The Haunted Lands. There, Wren must make an uneasy alliance with Julian, one of the kidnappers, in order to both rescue the prince and uncover the truth about an ancient rivalry and the lies that her life have been built upon.

Bonesmith is the first in a planned duology by Nicki Pau Preto, author of the Crown of Feathers trilogy. It is a young adult fantasy romance with enough dark twists to keep things interesting. Wren, despite her arrogance and impulsivity, is a likeable heroine and her slow-burning romance with Julian is an enjoyable addition to the story.

Although the plot twist at the novel’s conclusion is not entirely unexpected, Pau Preto has ensured that her readers will be eager to get their hands on the sequel.

Themes: Fantasy, Adventure, Magic, Romance, Ghosts, Betrayal.

Rose Tabeni