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Review: The Boneless Mercies

The Boneless Mercies

Title: The Boneless Mercies
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 352
Published by: Square Fish
Date Published: October 2, 2018
You can find a copy here: Bookshop.org


The Boneless Mercies, an ancient all female sect, are responsible for killing the weak, the sick, and the old in this ancient Vorseland world. It is a brutal, lonely, exhausting work and Frey is ready to cast it aside.

So when she hears of a murderous beast that is ravaging villages and leaving few survivors, Frey sees this as her opportunity to hand in her Mercy robes for a chance at independence, freedom, and glory. Together Frey and her tribe of three fierce female mercies – Ovie, Runa, and Juniper – and Trigve, their honorary male mercy and healer, will head on a cross country journey encountering evil Marsh witches, cruel Jarls, wolves with blood red fur, and witches of the sea before coming face to face with the Blue Vee Beast.

Their journey will have everlasting consequences for themselves, the people of Blue Vee, and women throughout the land.


This was almost a DNF.

Now it is one of my favourite reads of 2020.

Don’t you love it when that happens??

Maybe not for everyone, but there is something really special here for those who love stories spoken around a campfire, enjoyed the first The Lord of the Rings movie (where they basically just walked around a forest) and have a thing for Mythology (especially Norse) in your reads.

What I found utterly compelling about The Boneless Mercies is how Tucholke was able to maintain this ethereal, continual feeling of being told a spoken aloud folklore story throughout the entirety of a 300 page novel. While definitely slow moving, there was always a real sense of atmospheric tension that kept me flipping page after page, just wanting to know where this would lead and completely wrapped up in the magic.

The world building was exceptional, that was somehow able to straddle the feeling that this world could exist while simultaneously having magical witches (of swamp and sea), lady-giant man-eating beast, and wolves with blood red fur.

The Boneless Mercies holds nothing back being gory, violent, and fierce. Strongly poetic writing that is calmly, and deliberately developed in a fully realized ancient world chock-full of very real girl empowerment. While I stumbled a bit on the romance this story was ultimately magical and weird, brutal and beautiful, with the all-around best kick-butt girl gang I’ve read. Part mythological, part fairytale, and part folklore, I simply found myself mesmerized. A perfect fall read.

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