Hello! For my first post of 2019 I will be posting a review of The Cold is in Her Bones, a YA retelling of the myth of Medusa. I hope you enjoy!
Release date: January 22nd, 2019
Hardcover Page Count: 288
My rating: 4/5 stars
Disclaimer: I received this ARC as part of Miss Print's ARC Adoption Program. That said, everything featured in this review is based upon my honest opinion and not influenced at all in anyway. Enjoy!
Her whole life, Milla has lived in constant fear of demons who are very much real. Confined to her family’s farm and only ever seeing her parents and brother, Milla is surprised when a girl name Iris arrives on her doorstep. At first, Milla believes that this is her chance to live a new life. But when Iris shares the secret that the village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and that the demon has now come for Iris, her chances are ripped away. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla must rescue her and break the curse forever. But Milla now has a secret of her own: she is changing, and may soon become a demon too.
Uniquely written and bursting with beautiful prose, The Cold is In Her Bones is unlike most young adult books that I have read. Right from the beginning of the book, the author’s unique writing style is apparent. This is seen most clearly in the atmosphere that the author has established throughout the book. Dark and brooding, it astonishes me that an author could write in a way that so obviously carries a book’s mood. In most young adult books, a dark atmosphere can only be seen at pivotal moments. But in The Cold is In Her Bones, the author tries her best to keep it constant, making sure that her tone isn’t annoying or overdone, but careful and well thought out.
One of the things that contributed the most to this is the mythology behind the book. Quickly established within the first sixteen pages, it begins with the tale of a plucky girl who doesn’t seem to live by anyone’s rules but her own. But as things go when demons are involved, her world is practically shattered in a way that ruins her, establishing the Medusa retelling that the author continues with throughout the book. Readers will find this little prologue to be the perfect type of foreshadowing as it establishes the ways of the village people and their values right off the bat without seeming forced. But what it also does is introduce the book’s sense of evil while giving another side to it. From one perspective, the demons are evil, and from another they are wonderous. This is a theme that the author continues with throughout Milla’s story, something which I enjoyed because most books are written in black and white while this one is written is a multitude of colors.
Another thing that I enjoyed about this book were the characters. Far from the characters that YA fantasy books typically feature, the characters in The Cold is In Her Bones seem much more realistic both in their behavior and characteristics. The clearest example of this are the knots that both Milla and the girl in the prologue have in their hair. Most female characters don’t have knots in their hair and if they do it isn’t as big of a deal as it in in The Cold is In Her Bones. And though this might just seem like a simple quirk that the author wanted to include, readers will come to realize the symbolism behind the knots, and the value the community has in smooth hair. And yet Milla doesn’t mind them. Continuously throughout the book we get to explore more of the tomboyish Milla and her unique ways. What is so special about this is that the author utilizes parts of her characters that might have been forgotten or ignored in another book, and packs them with hidden symbolism and meaning. I thought that this made her book that much distinct because readers rarely see storytelling like that in YA.
But the author doesn’t only limit her abilities to the main character. Side characters are one-of-a-kind like this too. One example is Milla’s brother Niklas. Both caring and devious at the same time, Niklas perfectly captures what it means to be a brother. The author was able to communicates all the true and utterly accurate mannerisms of a brother. From changing from teasing to supportive in a matter of minutes to being a friend unlike any other, I was taken aback by how the author wrote his character. I also thought it was interesting how the author captured what it means to be a sister through Milla’s character. In her family she is both loved but held at second rank to her brother. She both loves him and hates him. In many YA books this isn’t the case, as characters usually make up their mind about someone and stick with their original judgment throughout the book. But it is clear that Arsdale didn’t want The Cold is In Her Bones to be just another YA book.
If you’re looking to read a fresh take on a classic myth while desiring to discover a new side of young adult, The Cold is In Her Bones is the book for you. Though it is quite unlike what must people might think of when thinking about a Medusa retelling, readers will not be disappointed. Filled with lush storytelling, nuanced characters and deep meaning, The Cold is In Her Bones is a book that demands to be read.
I hope that you enjoyed this review! I loved this book so much and was so happy that I was able to read it. I would like to say a special thank you to Emma who runs the Miss Print blog! Emma is such an amazing blogger and bookstagramer and you definitely have to check her out if you haven't already. Both librarian and reviewer, Emma always seems to know what books are best so if you are looking for some quality reviews (besides mine of course :) ) you should check her blog out! If you are a blogger with little to no access to arcs, check out her arc adoption program too! Not only does she help the blogging community with this, but she helps authors by generating more reviews for them (which is the best thing you can do for an author).
Until next time,
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”