Bone Song (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 14 Feb 2008
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"A remarkable book featuring a unique dark Fantasy/SF world and great writing. The police procedural plot, creepy technology, and seamless, fascinating world make it a real page turner, full of great twists and details. Bone Song has really got it all: fantasy, horror, science fiction, cops, crime even a love story and a dose of dark, dry humor. A great read and I can't wait for the next one." Kat Richardson, author of Greywalker
"John Meaney brings a city of death to richly textured life. In an amazing blend of noir mystery and dark fantasy, Meaney doesn t just build a world he creates an eerie culture that you can truly visualize and feel. Bone Song is a thrilling and suspenseful beginning to a great new series." Mark Del Franco, author of Unshapely Things
Brilliantly fuses SF with elements of gothic fantasy. SFX
Crisply written and vividly portrayed. Guardian, UK
Grittiness is a word that all too often is thrown around, but I will apply it to the street-level, no nonsense Riordan. Fast paced, very entertaining and out of the ordinary both haunting and engaging. SFFWorld.com
[A] fanciful, macabre romp... straddles the line between gothic fantasy and detective fiction. Booklist
From the Hardcover edition." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
John Meaney joins the Gollancz list and launches a new genre: dark SFSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
There is action aplenty. No one is who they seem to be; layers upon layers of conspiracy (I LOOOOOVE a really good conspiracy story)abound.
I couldnt really think of comparable authors - hence the title for the review - but take a dash of the Nightside series minus the humour, a chunk of Richard Morgan and stir in a soupcon of Karen Chance and you may have an idea, but this book (and the sequel, incidentally) is very dark and bleak and while satisfying in the denouement, still leaves you desperate for more. On the bright side, there is a sequel.
This is the story of Donal, a policeman who is assigned to protect a visiting opera singer; other performers have died at the hands, as it becomes clear, of a ghoulish conspiracy that wants to repurpose their bones. Of course, there is more to it than that and Not All Is What It Seems. Who can you trust?
Meaney shows great investiveness in creating his alternate Earth and populating it and the whole thing is very convincing both in tone and in how the details work together. Having just read his Ragnorok trilogu, I was intrigued to see some of the same devices used there in this earlier book - such as the "person-and-vehicle" compound or the trick of using pseudo-code to describe a character's mind. The deep knowledge of martial arts is there too, informing the various fights (and there are quite a few).
The story is generally well plotted, with a dramatic conclusion which makes sense in story terms, given the weird universe we're in it would have been very easy to finish things off with a bit of mystical jargon, but Meaney doesn't. It is a book I enjoyed. So, why do I think it's flawed? That is because (watch out - spoilers ahead!) for most of the central section of the book, we see capable, experienced members of a police team behave like idiots. To set up the ending, it's necessary that a member, or members, of the team, turn against Donal, assuming he's a spy. But instead of mentioning this to the boss, and clearing the air, they jump to conclusions, ignoring all the evidence they have. It's hard to express how annoying I found this. That I kept reading is a testament though to the sheer pace of the story and the consistency and credibility of the setting: I think it's ironic that the fantastical setting works while the behaviour of the characters doesn't.
But there you go - well worth reading anyway.
All told, I'm going to be looking out for more of John Meaney's stuff - I'd thought he was a new author, but it turns out he's been around for a while.
If you like authors like Peter F Hamilton, Richard Morgan and the like, Bone Song will probably be right up your street.
The above comments notwithstanding, this is still a pretty good read and in the second half of the book the aforementioned laboured prose gives way to Meaney's trademark relentless action and intrigue. Perhaps I was expecting too much given the excellence of the Ragnarok novels and perhaps the switch from Corey's first two fantastic `Expanse' space opera novels was a bit sudden. By the time I'd finished it I'd found that I had rather enjoyed it and I think I may well rejoin Detective Riordan for his next adventure in Dark Blood. 7/10.
Noir/Horror/Sci-fi/Fantasy and pure mystery combine in a filmic read that grips from the very start.
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Took a chance buying both Bone Song and Dark Blood - and they are just a great read.Read more
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