Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 450
Stunning and immersive historical fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
June Hur’s THE SILENCE OF BONES follows Seol, a young woman indentured to the police in 1800s Joseon (Korea). Her role is not to solve crimes, no matter how sharp her mind is, but to assist the inspectors and carry out chores. When she isn’t helping them, she’s looking for her brother, lost to her and her older sister years ago. When a noblewoman is murdered, Seol becomes entangled in a strange web of politics, religion, and dark mystery. Seol has to determine who she can and can’t trust before it’s too late.

What captured me most in THE SILENCE OF BONES is the setting. June Hur paints rich details of an era and country that are rarely explored in North American YA. I left nearly every chapter with a list of items to research and read more about. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in history, Hur’s writing is compelling and uniquely immersive. Seol’s world feels three dimensional, and I found myself losing track of time multiple times while reading.

The themes of family, boundaries, truth, and justice are beautifully nuanced. Seol learns that no one is perfect, not even the people we admire the most. Truth can be silenced or omitted in a way that changes an entire story. I love her journey in discovering what these themes mean to her and how they direct her actions.

THE SILENCE OF BONES is a haunting, memorable debut from an author I hope we see much more from.
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