In a highly anticipated prequel to the Books of Pellinor, Alison Croggon captivates fans old and new with her ancient, legendary world of Annar. After being seduced into sorcery by an agent of the Dark, the promising Bard Cadvan of Lirigon recklessly unleashed the terrible Bone Queen, bringing destruction down upon Annar. Cast out of the Schools of Barding for his crime, Cadvan now lives in exile, burdened by memories of his dealings with the Dark. At his former home, Cadvan’s mentor, Nelac, and his rival, Dernhil, begin to suspect that the Bone Queen may yet lurk in Annar, and a young Bard named Selmana is plagued by an ominous presence and an unsettling new ability to step between worlds. With darkness gathering and Bards giving in to fear and paranoia, a guilt-ridden Cadvan must once again earn the Bards’ trust and Selmana must gain control of her newfound powers if they are to bring peace to the living and the dead. Fans of the Books of Pellinor will savor this glimpse into Cadvan’s past, and readers new to Alison Croggon’s intricately built world will relish The Bone Queen as a stand-alone epic of light, dark, magic, and redemption.
The Bone Queen: Pellinor: Cadvan's StoryFeatured
Mixed emotions, but a recommended read for fans of the series
I have anxiously waited this book to come up in my TBR. Not because I am a fan of the series, but because I am a huge fan of high fantasy and this series is one I haven’t had the opportunity to read yet. However, before I committed to reviewing the book, I looked it up and saw that it is a prequel, The Books of Pellinor #0.5. The 0.5 seemed like a green light to me and the description lauded the book as a stand-alone. A great way to begin a new series. But once I received the book from the publisher, there was no indication that this book should be read before the full series. (But I received an advanced copy so maybe the subtitle just didn’t make it onto the cover and since the publish date is not until the summer of 2017, maybe the recommended reading order hasn't been decided yet. I give the benefit of a doubt on this.)
Fans of the series, you have the green light. Readers new to the series may want to begin with the first full book and circle back to the prequel once they’ve become familiar with this world. The Bone Queen reads more like a volume 1.5 than a 0.5 and not so much as a stand-alone either.
I struggled in the beginning so this was a very slow read for me, but the characters more than made up for my lack of knowledge about the world of Pellinor. Cadvan kept me reading when I might have decided to let this one go. And that says a great deal about this author’s ability to pull a reader into the story.
Although Croggon writes beautifully, there was something about this particular writing style that didn’t flow well for me. With high fantasy, one should expect the lyrical prose and long detailed descriptions you’ll find in The Bone Queen, but the dialogue was a bit too sparse and stilted for me.
In cases like this, I almost always stop reading and move on to the next book in my enormous TBR, but I just had to finish Cadvan’s story. Once I got my bearings the pace picked up and I quite enjoyed the book and will probably continue with the rest of the series. I do think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if there was a little bit of gentle guidance encouraging new readers to begin with The Naming first, but true fans of the series will have no such issues.
A true high fantasy in the vein of LOTR, The Bone Queen is quite a unique adventure all in its own right, sure to delight fans of the series.