Brick Dust and Bones

Brick Dust and Bones
Age Range
Release Date
July 18, 2023
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A twelve-year-old cemetery boy and monster hunter–along with his flesh-eating mermaid friend–has to race against the clock to save the ghost of his dead mother in Brick Dust and Bones, M.R. Fournet's magical middle grade debut.

Nothing’s more dangerous than a monster hunter with a mission.

Marius Grey hunts Monsters. He's not supposed to. He's only twelve and his job as a Cemetery Boy is to look after the ghosts in his family's graveyard. He should be tending these ghosts and–of course–going to school to learn how to live between worlds without getting into trouble.

But, Marius has an expensive goal. He wants to bring his mother back from the dead, and that takes a LOT of mystic coins, which means a LOT of Monster Hunting, and his mother’s window to return is closing.

If he wants her back, Marius is going to have to go after bigger and meaner monsters, decide if a certain flesh-eating mermaid is a friend or foe, and avoid meddling Demons and teachers along the way. Can Marius navigate New Orleans’s gritty monster bounty-hunting market, or will he have to say goodbye to his mother forever?

Editor review

1 review
Evil Mermaids and Boogeymen
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
This was a different type of magical horror book that I think my students will like. It combines the horror level of K.R. Alexander with the folklore of Tracey Baptiste or Ronald L. Smith, and even adds a pretty good level of monster related gore. Marius is a very sympathetic character who tries his hardest to get by on his own, with very limited resources. At one point, he steals supplies from Madame Millett, and her daugher gives him a hard time, but in the end, Madame Millett helps save the day. Lots of interesting lore to delve in to. Fans of Delaney's The Last Apprentice will enjoy this more modern tale of monster hunting.

Since I am not familiar with the magic native to the New Orleans area, I could have used some more explanations. Why can brick dust take out monsters? I get the silver, but the brick dust was new. There were times when I felt like I was missing a first book, especially when it came to Madame Millett's school, Rhiannon, and Marius' own mother's death, but this seems to be a debut novel.

It's a bad idea to bring people back to life; won't go into the details, but I can't imagine this would end well. A sequel is hinted at, and I would be interested to see what Marius has to deal with in another book. Fans of Smith's Hoodoo, Baptiste's The Jumbies, and Strong's Eden Everdark will enjoy this monster hunting adventure in the deep South.
Good Points
Marius lives near New Orleans, in a family mausoleum, since his family has dealt with ghosts in the cemetery for generations. His mother has passed away, although her ghost is still around to give him advice. He gets human money for being the caretaker, but he is interested in earning Mystical credit in order to bring his mother back from the dead. In order to do this, he traps more dangerous spirits in his book, and sells them to Papa Harold at the Habada-Cherie. There is a scale that extracts the spirit from the book and tells how much should be paid. Boogeymen aren't too bad to capture, although Marius occasionally has to hide in a child's bedroom to do this. When he is not earning enough, he agrees to take on more serious monsters, although not everyone thinks that this is something children should be doing. Marius also has a secret; his best friend is a mermaid. Not the sparkling, happy, Disney type mermaid, but a creepy Southern one with a frightening maw and endless appetite for flesh. We don't quite know why their bond is so deep, but Rhiannon has never hurt Marius, and helps him in his monster hunting frequently. In between going to school at Madame Millett's small academy (and having to deal with her daughter, who taunts him and calls him Mary) and taking care of the ghosts at the cemetary, Marius takes on increasingly difficult monsters. Papa Harold sends him after a candy lady who ends up being a much more dangerous boo hag in disguise, and he earns a lot of Mystical credit, but he uses it it to save the soul of one of his teachers, who has sold her soul to a demon in exchange for the health of her children. To earn more, Marius eventually agrees to capture a terrifying rougarou. This isn't easy, and it takes all of his skill as well as help from Rhiannon to subdue it. Will this be enough to bring back his mother?
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