The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

A review

“They called us Mercies, or sometimes the Boneless Mercies. They said we were shadows, ghost, and if you touched our skin, we dissolved into smoke. We made people uneasy, for we were women with weapons. And yet the Mercies were needed. Men would not do our sad, dark work.”

Hallelujah, an awesome young adult fantasy standalone. Interesting history, great world, awesome magic, characters that had you cheering for them. The villains aren’t just villains, they are complex with compelling backstories. 

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.
When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.
Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller.

Frey and her team are mercy killers, they bring death when illness and age are taking to long. It’s a thankless job, they aren’t heroes, they won’t be remembered and it takes a toll. The girls are worn down, and when they have to kill a young boy, it’s just one sliced throat to far, even for the hardest of the girls. Choosing a different life path isn’t an easy option, but its necessary.

The four Mercy girls are very different. Their personalities, their backgrounds and even their hopes for the future. Each is her own distinct person and they don’t blend into each other at all. Written from Frey’s perspective, we always know who is being thought about. Runa was strong, brave and haunted. She just wanted to run and hunt and be free. Ovie was the oldest of the girls, the quietest. She was wise, loyal and brave. Juniper, the youngest of the quartet, a sea witch; she had awesome magic, bravery and nimble thieving fingers. These girls were so full of passion, it practically poured off the pages
Frey wanted glory, she wanted battles and blood, she wanted to be remembered. Why did the men get the songs sung about them?

“I wanted to be known. To be sung about. I wanted men and women to hoist me onto their shoulders, to shout my name into the rafters.
I was a Mercy-girl with no family, no home, no fortune, and yet my blood sang a song of glory.”

Frey and the girls set out on their quest, I did have a couple of issues with the pacing and the fact it felt like they were given a list and were just crossing them off but the relationships and people they met distracted me from this. The Sea Witches, fellow Mercies, the Quicks and the Pig People. Each of these peoples were so interesting, the author could write a series about all of them. The constant in all of their adventures is their friendship. I liked the way they were accepting of each other, loyal and had faith in each other. There was so much growth for each girl, not just Frey.

For me the best part were the villain/villain’s. There is no black and white, cookie cutter bad guy in this book. As with life, nothing is ever what it seems. I cried with the villains and I cried for them.

The writing was phenomenal, it flowed, the tension rose and fell perfectly. I enjoyed the highs of the story and the slow bits in between, there seemed a purpose to the quiet slow times. It wasn’t an accidental lull. I can’t articulate my thought well enough to do the structure of the book justice. Throughout the story we are given glimpses of the worlds history, reminded of the way history has a habit of repeating itself.

With a heavy Norse influence, the women have had the spotlight shone on them here. In Boneless Mercies we look at women’s strengths, we see them stand up when others run, we see them support each other. There is no petty bullshit, because this author knows that women are strongest together, they are the masters of their destiny, they aren’t jealous and catty. They don’t need someone to tie them down. They can love, they can have their own dreams, they can follow their calling. They don’t have to conform to another’s expectations. She knows, that those who love them, will want to see them flourish, they will be proud. She knows that women have the right to choose.

I received this from the publisher, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Boneless Mercies
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke
Released: 1st October 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Aus)

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