the bone garden - by heather kassner

Remember, my dear, you do not really and truly exist.

Made of dust and bone and imagination, Irrèelle fears she's not quite real. Only the finest magical thread tethers her to life - and to Miss Vesper. But for all her efforts to please her cruel creator, the thread in unravelling. Irrèelle is forgetful as she gathers bone dust. She is slow returning from the dark passages beneath the cemetery. Worst of all, she is unmindful of her crooked bones.
 When Irrèelle makes one final, unforgivable mistake by destroying a frightful creature just brought to life, Miss Vesper threatens to imagine her away once and for all. Defying her creator for the very first time, Irrèelle flees to the underside of the graveyard, desperate to unearth the mysterious magic that breathes bones to life, even if it means she will return to dust and be no more.

Release date: July 23rd, 2019 - from Titan Books* (UK)
Check it out on Goodreads / Book Depository

If you know me then you know how much of a gothic fanatic I am. I love gothic novels and when Titan Books contacted me about The Bone Garden I was head over heels.
This book starts slow. I hate it when books do that, mainly because I'm scared that if I DNF it, it ends up being the most amazing book ever written. I pushed through and survived the lack of dialogues - thing that also put me a bit off but more about it later.
I will do my best to write this review without giving too much away because when I'm posting this I know that the book still has to come out in the UK so don't worry about that, we're good.

The Bone Garden tells the story of Irrèelle, a girl made of dust and bones. Literally. She has been made, not born, and is alive just to serve this horrible Miss Vesper with her tea. The tea is not your average one, oh no no no. Miss Vesper definitely has eclectic taste, she doesn't like sugar but fancies her tea with a teaspoon - or two - of bone dust collected from the variety of skeletons abandoned under her creepy house. Bones that Irrèelle has to pick. That's why she's alive.
And let me tell you, this concept is fascinating, really. Okay, it kinda reminds me of Frankenstein - which is one of my absolute favourite classics - a little bit but has nothing to do with it.
The relationship between Irrèelle and her creator is horrible and that's why it reminded me so much of Frankenstein - even if it also made me think of The Addams Family because of that bloody Hand. But again, no spoilers in this house!

I think this book had so much more potential, I feel like it was too much Middle Grade for my likings and I think that if it was written for grown-ups, it would have been a fantastic book. This doesn't mean I didn't like it but I really wanted to slap the main character multiple times for her condescending behaviour and then remembered that she's actually a child - but we don't know for sure because again, she's a product of Miss Vesper's imagination so nobody knows her exact age, not even herself.

Something that really was missing though was the dialogues. I feel like it was too much description of the things that happened instead of letting the characters do the actual talking. I do really appreciate lyrical writing and this book has it but I also like dialogues, I like following the characters as they form friendships and do things and I feel like there was not so much of it.
I really liked Irrèelle's friends, though! Guy and Lass - I know, misfortunate name choices - but they stole the scene for me.
Guy is funny and does things without thinking too much and the way he protects Irrèelle made me feel so warm inside. And Lass, oh my god. I would have loved it so much more if Irrèelle was more like her but I guess that the fact that she was so blind when it came to Miss Vesper, and so naive, was all in service of how things were supposed to go. I don't know, maybe I'm used to more fierce characters but it did really annoy me in some parts.

The ending was nice, like, really nice. I won't dive into spoilers but I feel like I kinda understood why Irrèelle had to be that naive and innocent and how it played a big part in how it ended. I also loved the mystery involved. That's the part that I did really enjoy. It wasn't that complicated but let's keep in mind that this is a Middle-Grade book so no too much spookiness and not too much gothic(ness?) - even if, I have to be honest, I would have absolutely loved!

In short, I liked it. I also think that being 27 (could you believe that!) ruined it for me because I'm pretty sure that 13-year-old me would have absolutely loved this book. It was a fun read, especially after Guy and Lass were introduced and yes, that Miss Vesper is a total bitch. Loved her.
Although I didn't understand why she was so evil, maybe loneliness is the answer but anyway, it was a nice, simple read overall.


- Guy and Lass so much!
- Lyrical writing
- The mystery kept me entertained
- Miss Vesper. I do love me a villain!
- Lots of bone dust to suffocate
- Lots of descriptions and not too much space for dialogues
- Crazy/creepy villain
- Amazing side-kicks

Are you planning on reading The Bone Garden?

*Thank you Titan Books for this gorgeous press copy. Although this book was kindly gifted, all opinions are my own.