Bone Song by John Meaney
Synopsis from the back of the book:
There have been four victims already. Framed for their beauty and one-of-a-kind artistic gifts, they were murdered in the most shocking ways imaginable and their corpses stolen. Now the famed diva Maria daLivnova is arriving in Tristopolis – a city literally powered by the massive necroflux generators that process the dead – and it is up to Lieutenant Donal Riordan to make sure she ends her limited engagement alive.
But Riordan isn’t the only one watching daLivnova. For the Diva is being followed by two other secret “protectors”: Commander Laura Steele – who’s made a more or less successful transition to para-life – and her partner, the invisible free-wraith Xalia. They are part of the necropolis’s vast underground network and they’ve mobilized against an unseen enemy for a battle of epic proportions. For a perverse death cult with powerful members in every stratum of society has learned how to distill from the bones of their sacrificed victims the ultimate thrill – a nectar that, once tasted, is impossible to resist. And the more precious the life, the greater the pleasure it is to take it away.
Soon Riordan will find himself in the unlikeliest of alliances as he journeys through a world of corruption – both aboveground and below – among gargoyles and zombies, spirit slaves and assassins, science and sorcery, in search of an enemy even the dead have every reason to fear….
This book was a completely random grab. I was at the library picking something else up, strolled through the sci-fi/fantasy section as one does, and the title jumped out at me. I pulled it out, fell into instant cover-lust, read the summary, and said, ‘why not?’
It was a good decision, overall. The world-building is great, the characters are fun and engaging, and the city of Tristopolis has a lot to offer.
Bone Song is a fun, fast read full of magic, death, and undeath. Sure there’s a semi-classic case of insta-love, but it didn’t bother me too bad, surprisingly. Possibly because both Donal and Laura were fully developed in and of themselves, and at least they interacted before falling into bed – and love.
And, sure, there’s a classic case of miscommunication. But, for a change, it’s not between the romantic leads. The two of them remain on the same page throughout the novel. But, well, this is also a cop book. And lack of clear communication between new teammates is also a bit of a cliche there.
And, yes, that summary promises a lot of things that don’t actually appear – but I found that to be a plus. I mean, look at that list! That’s a list of everything but the kitchen sink! Way too cluttered, even for a pseudo-Urban Fantasy novel. So I was glad to see that not all of that appeared. Or at least not in the ways I expected.
It was a fun, quick read and I am so happy I picked up what is apparently the first book in a series. It’s not a great book, but, again, it’s fun and it’s got some interesting uses of death magic – and some cool twists on what you might expect to find of that.
I still have a lot of questions about the world, the magic, and how exactly zombies work (did I misread something or do they have to plug in to charge?), but hopefully at least some of my questions will be answered in book 2.
3.5 out of 5 stars.