Wednesday, September 5, 2018

DNF ARC Review: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Title: Not Even Bones
Author: Rebecca Schaeffer
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 368
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Dexter  meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.

Not Even Bones was high on my TBR and one of my top priorities at ALA this June! While I'm not necessarily huge on paranormal romance, the synopsis sounded amazing! I love the idea of a dark, Dexter-style book about a girl who finds herself on the brink of being sold for parts. I was lucky enough to receive a copy and started reading it shortly after I got home.

This book begins with Nita working on dissecting bodies for her mother (and loving every minute of it). Her mom brings home bodies of supernatural beings and Nita takes them apart for her mother to sell on the black market. It's work she has been doing, and loving, for her entire life. She doesn't concern herself with where the bodies came from or how they came to be deceased, but when her mom brings home a boy who's still alive, she's forced to confront the morality of what she's doing.

I thought that Nita's moral struggle was really interesting. She knows that taking apart a live person is wrong and decides to help him get away, knowing this will bring down her mother's wrath. I appreciated that she was able to understand the issue with what her mother was asking her to do, but it seemed like she never connected that back to the dead bodies she dissected and planned to continue dissecting. I'm assuming this was dealt with later in the book, but it's very strange to see how her brain is able to keep the two things separate.

Soon after helping the boy, Nina finds herself up for purchase and then has to deal with the fact that all "bad" supernatural beings may not be completely bad. Again, it's interesting to watch her realize that the world is actually shades of gray.

Unfortunately, all of her realizations drag on and on and I lost interest. Nothing in Not Even Bones was exactly bad, it was just boring. Even the big events lacked urgency and I found myself dreading reading another page of Nita sitting in a glass room and talking to the girl next to her or the guard who feeds off pain.

Everything in this book had potential to be really good! The world could have been interesting had we seen more of it, the variance in supernatural beings was interesting, and Nita's family dynamics while working for her criminal mother were certainly interesting. I just wish it had all moved along a bit faster. I gave up at 50% and at that point Nita was still sitting around talking to people. I'm sure many people will love Not Even Bones! It just isn't the book for me.