Book Review: GRIND YOUR BONES TO DUST by Nicholas Day

Grind Your Bones to Dust gave me a book hangover of the best kind. You know what I’m talking about, right? It’s the kind of story that leaves you breathless and dazed at the end, unsure of what to read next. I wanted to simultaneously hug and set this novel aside, and I mean that in the best way possible. I’m not sure I can articulate all of my thoughts on this book outside of a full-on conversation, but I will try my best.

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The language in this book is out of this world. Day’s prose has a poetic quality, and there were lines so well-written that I had to read the words several times over before I could move on. You’ve all heard me gush about John Boden’s writing style, and the writing in this novel reminded me of his work at times. There are lines here that need to be savored and read at a slow pace. With regards to the characters, I haven’t encountered a villain as intense as James since I met “The Judge” in McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. The supporting characters here are relatable and memorable, and they all come with enough backstory for the reader to empathize and feel the pain of their plight.

The setting plays a large role in this story—it’s bleak and brutal, just like the events that take place along the way. The author’s descriptions of the landscape and the characters’ travels really add to the atmosphere of the story. I also thought that the pacing was spot-on. I was initially thrown off by the fact that there are no chapters within each section, but this did not affect the quality of the story for me. If anything, it propelled the story on, making it even more difficult for me to stop reading along the way. I enjoyed that each of the four parts brought different characters into focus, yet the others remain woven into the story in the background. It all came together perfectly at the end.

I could share even more thoughts on this novel, but I don’t want to give too much away. This is a book that you need to read for yourself and experience without spoilers. I teared-up several times while reading it—not only because of the brutality but due to the beauty in the writing. Each time I wanted to turn away, the words reached out like a hand on my chin, forcing my gaze back upon the story unfolding before me. I can’t imagine I’ll ever forget this one, nor do I want to.

 

5/5 Stars

 

Publisher: Excession Press

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