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4.4 out of 5 stars30
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 17 June 2013
This is a very interesting and compelling story, with some almost magical moments. I am not a big one for fantasy/mystical type stuff but this somehow crosses the boundaries for those of us who are a bit sceptical about that kind of thing.

Some of it is set at night time in the Cambridge fens, and after reading it you almost feel like you have been out there yourself. It reminded me how amazing it can be to be around nature and to just let yourself experience what's around you without the usual everyday distractions. There is enough room for you to use your imagination with this story, and some of it feels almost cinematic - but certainly not too in-your-face.

I could really believe in the main character, Evie, and wanted to know how things turned out for her and how she would deal with all that was happening in her emotions and her life. It also had plenty going on with other people and events aside from Evie's inner life, which helped drive the plot and keep you turning the pages.

I found the ending pretty pleasing, and while you don't find out everything, there is enough of a punchline to make you feel satisfied, and it is quite a witty conclusion.

If I am going to be picky about anything, it is that I am a bit suspicious about how mature Evie seems in terms of the understanding and empathy she has for others, for her age and given her own experiences. Although we know it has taken her time to trust again, perhaps she is a bit more unscathed than you might imagine from what has happened to her. And I was surprised how much she seemed to take to her teacher, who I found quite pushy and a bit annoying!

I would definitely recommend this book, and I may well read it again. I am 43 but I didn't really feel like I was reading a book for teenagers. It is a book with a teenager in it but anyone can enjoy it. Looking forward to a sequel maybe?? PS Don't buy the kindle version, the actual book is beautiful...I regretted getting the kindle version when I saw the actual one!!
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on 3 May 2013
The Bone Dragon is wonderful, magical, touching, mysterious, fantastic, unique and so many other words I could use. I love this book. It will be a story that will forever have a special place in my heart.

Considering how much I adore Evie and her story I was expecting this review to be easier to write. But I don't think I can do it justice, there is so much about Alexia Casale's book that is truly outstanding. I feel I should be filling pages of how effective and beautiful her writing is. Highlight paragraphs to showcase this. Discuss the brilliance of the Dragon. None of that touches on the human characters within The Bone Dragon or the story.

Evie is a rare gem in narrator, both lovable and true. There is a moment in the second half of the book where Evie's anger gets the better of her. I won't go into details but it that moment alone held everything I love about her. It's not just Evie of course, it's her adoptive parents, Uncle Ben, Ms Winters, Evie's friends. Everyone and everything about this book fits.

I'll stop gushing now but honestly The Bone Dragon is special. Read it.
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on 26 June 2013
The Bone Dragon

The Bone Dragon, by Alexia Casale, is an expertly crafted page-turner. At first pass it appears to be a modern day coming of age story about a fourteen year-old girl coming to terms with the abuse she suffered in the past, aided by a feisty magical dragon. But The Bone Dragon is so much more.
As an adult reader, I found much in this book to stimulate reflection and discussion. The cast of interesting and realistic characters tackle real-life problems, such as: parenting; bereavement; bullying; neighbourhood vandalism; and psychological trauma. The author's clever use of layers of meaning and subtle hints (e.g. the meaning of flowers) blurs the boundaries between reality and imagination. We are left with a number of open questions: Is the central character, Evie, a real victim or a fantasist? Is Evie's biological mother, Fiona, a bad mother or simply a woman trying to do her best in very difficult circumstances? What are Sonny's true feelings towards Evie?
Deeper questions are also explored: Does justice set things right? Is counselling helpful? Can we really distinguish between reality and imagination or do we just believe that we can?
I rarely keep books of fiction but this is one I will find a space for and come back to read again as I think I will find new insights with every reading. I will also buy copies of this book for my younger friends as I am sure they will delight in the antics of the playful dragon.
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on 17 January 2014
What an amazing read!

Quite often with very descriptive prose I find myself scanning the text, but not with Alexia Casale's engaging style of writing. Quite the contrary, I found myself revisiting the text because it had been so poetically written. The sort of writing that paints pictures in your mind and allows your imagination to be drawn right into the story.

The story of Evie, a teenager whom we could all learn a thing or two from when having to deal with problems. Perhaps we all also need that dragon to fight our corner and make us that bit more able to cope at times.

A story with many thought-provoking moments, sometimes touching on bullying, sometimes making us laugh, sometimes evoking feelings that we may have all suppressed. I certainly shed a tear or two during my read!

If this is Alexia Casale's first novel, then a new and wondrous style of writing has evolved and I for one look forward to Alexia's next novel.
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on 13 April 2014
In short, I would call The Bone Dragon essential reading. Although it can be slow-moving in places, the novel rewards its reader with beautiful and evocative imagery. The sequences in which Evie and the Dragon roam the Fens by moonlight are haunting and will linger with you long after you have finished reading.

The characters within the novel are also exceptionally well rounded, particularly Evie who's struggle with depression is always realistic and contains none of the typical misrepresentation of the condition that one usually sees in literature.

I have already recommended this novel to many people and will continue to do so - I think that it is one that everyone should give a try.
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on 13 October 2014
This will be a short review to avoid spoilers – the blurb gives all the detail you can really have before reading. It's difficult even to pinpoint a genre for this one. If pushed, I’d have to go for magic realist thriller (which I realise isn’t an official genre, but it’s the closest fit I can come up with). It’s more magic realist than full-on fantasy, dragon notwithstanding, as it clearly takes place in our world and the dragon is the only fantasy element. The thriller aspect is achieved by means of very close first-person narration by Evie, who is clearly hiding many things. The reader is left to tease out the fragments of information and decide where the half-truths and omissions lie.

This is a gorgeous treat of a read – which is an odd thing to say about such a trauma-filled book – due to its dark beauty and the lyricism of its prose. If the premise intrigues you at all, you should absolutely give it a go.

This is my initial comment on closing the book: Beautiful, startling and tense. A real struggle to classify by genre, with magic realism elements within a coming-of-age narrative which, at times, feels like a psychological thriller. Evie’s anxieties, fears and development are conveyed perfectly; I have rarely felt I’ve known a character so thoroughly (especially given all the gaps in her narrative).
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on 19 August 2013
The Bone Dragon is a lovely story of Evie, a child who suffered abuse and how she heals her life with the aid of a Dragon she created from her own bone; a rib that had been broken during the abusive home life. The Dragon comes alive at night and helps Evie to appreciate her new life with her adoptive parents and to reconcile her past. A truly touching tale !
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on 21 October 2013
This is a clever book. It is about a child who has suffered appallingly, but never dwells on the details of the abuse, just the subsequent impact. The people around her now are good and kind, but she remains reserved. This is an uplifting story of love and recovery, told through a combination of reality and fantasy. It works well.
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on 8 August 2013
THIS BOOK IS TO BE HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. A CROSS-OVER NOVEL IN TERMS OF AGE, IT IS WRITTEN WITH SIMPLICTY BUT INGENUITY. THE CHARACTERS ARE ALIVE AND KICKING AND - ESPECIALLY EVIE THE HEROINE - ENGAGE YOUR SYMPATHY.

DO READ IT ; AND LOOK OUT FOR HER NEXT NOVEL!
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on 16 September 2013
This is not the type of book I usually read. (thrillers being my usual genre) However having read a review I thought that I would try it. I couldn't put it down until I'd finished it. I have recommended it it to all of my friends.
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