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Boneset & Feathers

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You don't know their fire is coming until it's too late. That's exactly the way the witchfinders like it. As an isolated enchantress, Odette knows this too well--she lost nearly her whole family to the last round of executions, barely escaping with her own life. All the magic she could conjure wasn't enough to protect her mother and sister, a burden that leaves a desponden You don't know their fire is coming until it's too late. That's exactly the way the witchfinders like it. As an isolated enchantress, Odette knows this too well--she lost nearly her whole family to the last round of executions, barely escaping with her own life. All the magic she could conjure wasn't enough to protect her mother and sister, a burden that leaves a despondent Odette practically wishing she'd burned with the rest. Now it's five years later, and as the last witch left from her village, Odette has exiled herself to the nearby woods where she's sworn off all magic, hoping instead for quiet and for safety. But no witch has ever been permitted a peaceful life. It starts with crows tumbling out of the clouds and spectral voices on the wind that won't leave her alone. Then there are those midnight visits to the graveyard that she can't quite remember in the morning and the strange children following her everywhere she goes. Odette wants to forget magic, but her magic doesn't want to forget her. Meanwhile, the former friends she left behind in the village are cowering together, hiding from the ghostly birds they believe she's sent to torment them for abandoning her. But that's only the beginning of their problems, as Odette soon discovers their worst nightmare is about to come true--the witchfinders are returning. And this time, the decree is clear: to burn the witch that got away. With the men drawing nearer to the village, Odette must face the whispers from the dead and confront her fear of her own growing power if she wants any chance of stopping the army of witchfinders determined to rid the countryside of magic once and for all.


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You don't know their fire is coming until it's too late. That's exactly the way the witchfinders like it. As an isolated enchantress, Odette knows this too well--she lost nearly her whole family to the last round of executions, barely escaping with her own life. All the magic she could conjure wasn't enough to protect her mother and sister, a burden that leaves a desponden You don't know their fire is coming until it's too late. That's exactly the way the witchfinders like it. As an isolated enchantress, Odette knows this too well--she lost nearly her whole family to the last round of executions, barely escaping with her own life. All the magic she could conjure wasn't enough to protect her mother and sister, a burden that leaves a despondent Odette practically wishing she'd burned with the rest. Now it's five years later, and as the last witch left from her village, Odette has exiled herself to the nearby woods where she's sworn off all magic, hoping instead for quiet and for safety. But no witch has ever been permitted a peaceful life. It starts with crows tumbling out of the clouds and spectral voices on the wind that won't leave her alone. Then there are those midnight visits to the graveyard that she can't quite remember in the morning and the strange children following her everywhere she goes. Odette wants to forget magic, but her magic doesn't want to forget her. Meanwhile, the former friends she left behind in the village are cowering together, hiding from the ghostly birds they believe she's sent to torment them for abandoning her. But that's only the beginning of their problems, as Odette soon discovers their worst nightmare is about to come true--the witchfinders are returning. And this time, the decree is clear: to burn the witch that got away. With the men drawing nearer to the village, Odette must face the whispers from the dead and confront her fear of her own growing power if she wants any chance of stopping the army of witchfinders determined to rid the countryside of magic once and for all.

51 review for Boneset & Feathers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mindi

    Review to follow...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Becky Spratford

    Star review in the October 2020 issue of Library Journal Three Words That Describe This Book: lyrical, fluid style, social justice Returning with her second novel after winning numerous awards for THE RUST MAIDENS, Kiste introduces readers to Odette, the last of the witches, living on the outskirts of a small town, who has banished herself to a magic-free life of isolation after the Witchfinders came from “The Capitol,” five years previously, violently burning every witch, except for Odette, who Star review in the October 2020 issue of Library Journal Three Words That Describe This Book: lyrical, fluid style, social justice Returning with her second novel after winning numerous awards for THE RUST MAIDENS, Kiste introduces readers to Odette, the last of the witches, living on the outskirts of a small town, who has banished herself to a magic-free life of isolation after the Witchfinders came from “The Capitol,” five years previously, violently burning every witch, except for Odette, who would not burn. When the birds start falling from the sky, Odette is forced to stop hiding, confront her extreme loss and trauma, reckon with her past, stop living in fear of the future, and seek out justice, no matter the cost. Using a style that moves fluidly back and forth through time and lyrical language to describe awful things, readers will hang on every word, cringe and cheer through the action, and passionately root for Odette, despite her obvious unreliability as a narrator, as they watch her grow into her true self. Verdict: Kiste casts a spell with this original and suspenseful horror story, but it holds more than meets the eye. It is also an honest look at what it means to be a woman who doesn’t conform to societal stereotypes, once who bravely stands up to systematic oppression. Clearly influenced by Shirley Jackson, this novel will also appeal to readers who enjoyed THE POWER by Alderman, THE YEAR OF THE WITCHING by Henderson or WONDERLAND by Stage.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Robinson

    Published on Sci Fi and Scary: https://www.scifiandscary.com/boneset... “If you listen, you can almost hear them whispering, these witches the world forgot.” – Boneset & Feathers, Gwendolyn Kiste After winning the 2018 Bram Stoker award for her debut novel, The Rust Maidens, Gwendolyn Kiste followed up by winning two more Stokers in 2019 for her shorter fiction. Now, readers will have a brand new novel from Kiste in Boneset & Feathers. Kiste enchants as she juxtaposes witches and power with vulner Published on Sci Fi and Scary: https://www.scifiandscary.com/boneset... “If you listen, you can almost hear them whispering, these witches the world forgot.” – Boneset & Feathers, Gwendolyn Kiste After winning the 2018 Bram Stoker award for her debut novel, The Rust Maidens, Gwendolyn Kiste followed up by winning two more Stokers in 2019 for her shorter fiction. Now, readers will have a brand new novel from Kiste in Boneset & Feathers. Kiste enchants as she juxtaposes witches and power with vulnerability and community. This is not a book that uses witches as caricature. There are no wart-noses, black pointed hats, or other overblown witch-y tropes. Instead we have Odette, a singular girl, the last of her kind in her town. Readers travel along with her as she comes of age both as a person and in her craft. The setting and Kiste’s lush writing work well together to evoke nature and its true power. “The world was leaving us behind, but she and I never really minded. After all, there ought to be more than one way for a girl to live.” – Boneset & Feathers, Gwendolyn Kiste To call this “just a witch story” would be to ignore the deeper themes laced throughout. Odette and others deal with issues most women today still navigate through. Underestimation, male privilege, and more are part of this tapestry. This is not to say that the book is “preachy”; it is organic, this is how the world is. Where do we get power? Who has power? How do we learn to BE in a world where odds are stacked against us? As far as levels of horror go, it would be a mistake to assume that this coming of age story doesn’t deliver. At times ethereal and others visceral, avid horror readers and others will be pleased with everything from body horror, to magic and surreal situations. Boneset & Feathers releases on November 3rd. Kiste is a versatile and engaging author making this book definitely one to check out. Recommended for fans of coming of age, witches, and more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sara Tantlinger

    Kiste's latest novel invites us into a world of fantasy, witchcraft, and darkness in the form of shadows, dug up ghosts, and of course the witchfinders -- men who are all too happy to watch a woman's body burn. Lush language and a main character (Odette) who is struggling to free herself from the fire hiding beneath her skin guide us through the novel. Kiste's writing is so easy to fall into; it makes it hard to put the book down. While the setting and premise lure us into a world of dark fantas Kiste's latest novel invites us into a world of fantasy, witchcraft, and darkness in the form of shadows, dug up ghosts, and of course the witchfinders -- men who are all too happy to watch a woman's body burn. Lush language and a main character (Odette) who is struggling to free herself from the fire hiding beneath her skin guide us through the novel. Kiste's writing is so easy to fall into; it makes it hard to put the book down. While the setting and premise lure us into a world of dark fantasy, the real horror lies with these men who are hungry to prove themselves by taking power of women's bodies and burning them to dust. Odette's fight for her identity, her freedom, and for a world where women can be themselves without fear of death will capture readers whole -- and through the inky shadows threatening to consume the earth, Kiste offers the most powerful element of all -- hope.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Boneset & Feathers is the newest novel from Gwendolyn Kiste! This one is a little different from her other books as it feels much more like fantasy with some horror tones. My favorite thing about this book was the forest, and I wish we would have had more time there. It was such an interesting environment, and provided good spooky elements. I would love to see this pop up in future stories. I was also intrigued by the birds, and I appreciate how Gwendolyn Kiste incorporates them into her stories Boneset & Feathers is the newest novel from Gwendolyn Kiste! This one is a little different from her other books as it feels much more like fantasy with some horror tones. My favorite thing about this book was the forest, and I wish we would have had more time there. It was such an interesting environment, and provided good spooky elements. I would love to see this pop up in future stories. I was also intrigued by the birds, and I appreciate how Gwendolyn Kiste incorporates them into her stories. Sometimes the story felt repetitive, and there wasn't much tension / suspense. I have to say that I struggled with this one, and couldn't really connect to the characters. However, there's a lot here that many readers will enjoy, especially if you like fantasy that dips into horror. Boneset & Feathers will be out on 11/3! CW - misogyny, animal death

  6. 4 out of 5

    Suz Jay

    “She knew how this would go. That while the witchfinders are more than happy to murder anyone, it’s easy to guess who they’ll choose first: a mother, a sister, a daughter. Something about a woman’s burning body enlivens these men. How much sweeter our melting flesh must smell to them, like clumps of sugar crystallizing in a kettle.” The last time the witchfinders visited Odette’s village, they stole everything from her. Her parents are dead, her sister has fled, her friends have abandoned her, an “She knew how this would go. That while the witchfinders are more than happy to murder anyone, it’s easy to guess who they’ll choose first: a mother, a sister, a daughter. Something about a woman’s burning body enlivens these men. How much sweeter our melting flesh must smell to them, like clumps of sugar crystallizing in a kettle.” The last time the witchfinders visited Odette’s village, they stole everything from her. Her parents are dead, her sister has fled, her friends have abandoned her, and she’s become a pariah. She escaped the witchfinder’s pyres, but not only has she vowed not to ever use magic again, she’s faced with terrible things that want to harm her, and a lasting remnant from the witchfinders that makes getting close to others virtually impossible. When the village is plagued with a portent of doom, they blame Odette and the witchfinders come a calling. If I had only one word to describe Boneset & Feathers, I’d chose the word lush. The fairytale world, the beautiful writing, the fascinated characters, and storyline are all lush. Odette makes a great protagonist. She’s grieving and good hearted. She reminds me of Snow White had she been a good witch and instead of woodland creatures and dwarves, she’d had an undead crow and a mysterious group of creepy kids. Instead of her beauty, her magic would be her most coveted and feared treasure. Many of the story themes are particularly relevant now, such as the fear powerful women provoke, as well as the strength in sisterhood. Kiste always brings something special to every story she writes. Boneset & Feathers is layered with such specialness. She consistently delivers a phenomenal reading experience. Her books and stories are always must reads for me. She is hands down the number one author I recommend to friends who want to read more horror. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks to the author and Broken Eye Books for providing an Advance Reader Copy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Janson

    Review to come

  8. 5 out of 5

    S.J. Budd

    This is the second novel from Gwendolyn Kiste and I'm beyond excited to have been given the opportunity to read it before it's officially released on 3rd November 2020. Such an honour! For most of you, Gwendolyn Kiste doesn't need an introduction. She is a Bram Stoker Award winning author of dark fiction. Her short stories have appeared in Nightmare, Black Static, Shimmer, Lamplight, and Three Lobed Magazine plus many others. Her first novella Pretty Marys All in a Row received critical acclaim u This is the second novel from Gwendolyn Kiste and I'm beyond excited to have been given the opportunity to read it before it's officially released on 3rd November 2020. Such an honour! For most of you, Gwendolyn Kiste doesn't need an introduction. She is a Bram Stoker Award winning author of dark fiction. Her short stories have appeared in Nightmare, Black Static, Shimmer, Lamplight, and Three Lobed Magazine plus many others. Her first novella Pretty Marys All in a Row received critical acclaim upon release in 2017. As did her first novel, The Rust Maidens from Trepidatio Publishing in 2018. And now we have Boneset and Feathers to devour which will be released in November 2020 from Broken Eye Books. A gorgeous book featuring magic, witches, ghosts and revenge turned sour. I don't want to give out spoilers but it's spectacular! Gwendolyn Kiste takes the magical and makes it real, makes beautiful the macabre. I really loved this book, I've read it twice already! I think one of the many reasons why Gwendolyn's stories resonate so deeply with her readers are that her characters are almost always outsiders, forgotten and bereft. Everyone's felt like that at some point in their lives.Rejected from the world, forced through their circumstances to forge a survival locked in a world of loneliness and despair. In her tales these outsiders learn to adapt embarking on a monumental transformation, sometimes they rise up to claim back their lives becoming stronger than their foe or falling into deeper depths of despair that have no escape. What I also love about her writing is that it always so emotionally raw. As a reader you feel so connected to her characters like they have been your friend and confidante since childhood. In Boneset and Feathers I immediately felt a connection to our heroine Odette. Boneset and Feathers is the tale of a young woman who against all odds and logic outwitted the witchfinders when they came to her village and set it ablaze. She pays a heavy price for her survival, everyone she once loved are dead and sometimes she wishes she could join them in the grave. Five years on and she's living alone in the woods, she should be surrounded by love and laughter, friends and family. Instead she's an outcast from the only village she's stepped foot in, and now she's forced to live in a haunted woods where travellers and locals fear to tread. Why? Because she is a witch living in a world that barely tolerates women. Trouble starts once again when birds, which have been absent for the last five years, begin drop dead out of the sky. Along with everything else she fears she will be blamed for this. Such an unnatural event is going to bring attention once more from the city ruled by men to this small village. Odette just wants a quiet life living in her cottage handed down by generations of witches. Unlike so many of her kind she just wants to die alone in peace, without flames and torment, but trouble seeks her out. Magic is calling out to her, begging for Odette to take charge and finish what was started five years ago. Unlike the other witches reduced to ash, their names forgotten, Odette has garnered fame and loathing. Even those who were once her friends think her a monster. She is the only witch that would not burn. I ended up racing through this book as once the pace picks up it keeps going in an exhilarating journey with lots of twists and turns. Odette may have been left physically weak, starved of food and warmth but inside she possesses a spirit stronger than she realises until she is pushed to her breaking point. P.S. If you love witchy stories you'll also love Of Sorrow and Such by Angela Slatter and the marvellous anthology Hex Life edited by Christopher Golden and Rachel Autumn Deering

  9. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    The book reads like a grim, dark fairy tale, and called to mind the atmosphere of the film Sleepy Hollow (1999), but make no mistake — there’s no room for whimsy or Burtonesque fanciful humor here. These are dangerous times for the protagonist, and have been for too long. She guards her secrets, and her sorrows run extremely deep. Kiste infuses this story with several unique elements that I won’t spoil — when you get to them, you’ll know and I hope you will marvel at them as much as I did. By the The book reads like a grim, dark fairy tale, and called to mind the atmosphere of the film Sleepy Hollow (1999), but make no mistake — there’s no room for whimsy or Burtonesque fanciful humor here. These are dangerous times for the protagonist, and have been for too long. She guards her secrets, and her sorrows run extremely deep. Kiste infuses this story with several unique elements that I won’t spoil — when you get to them, you’ll know and I hope you will marvel at them as much as I did. By the time you hurtle toward the epic conclusion, you will be wowed and left wanting more from this master storyteller and weaver of magic tales. Buy all of Gwendolyn Kiste’s books if you haven’t already. As well, award jurors and influencers should take note, because this book deserves to take home all of the prizes.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Another brilliant work from Gwendolyn Kiste. Odette is one of the last survivors of a mass witch burning. Unlike her sister, she did not run from the flames, but faced them, lived through them, and somehow took them inside her. After five years of being shunned by her neighbors, living on the outskirts of the village, and facing bizarre physical night terrors, the Witchfinders have returned. In order to save her friend, her village, and herself, she may have to take up the magic she laid aside al Another brilliant work from Gwendolyn Kiste. Odette is one of the last survivors of a mass witch burning. Unlike her sister, she did not run from the flames, but faced them, lived through them, and somehow took them inside her. After five years of being shunned by her neighbors, living on the outskirts of the village, and facing bizarre physical night terrors, the Witchfinders have returned. In order to save her friend, her village, and herself, she may have to take up the magic she laid aside all those years ago -- one thing more terrifying then the men who want to burn her. Ms. Kiste has become one of the authors whose books I will automatically purchase, whose material cuts the line of my To Be Read pile. Boneset and Feathers is another example of why this is so.

  11. 4 out of 5

    SpookyReeds

    Less horror than expected, but still a beautifully written novella. The reader follows, Odette - the last of the witches - in a story that captures what it means to not only be a woman, but also someone who doesn’t conform to the rules of society. Bonset and Feathers is a sombre and oppressive read, which is the perfect tone for what Odette is going through. I felt equal parts suffocated, angered, and hopeless as I traveled the world with Odette, knowing all too well how hopeless her position se Less horror than expected, but still a beautifully written novella. The reader follows, Odette - the last of the witches - in a story that captures what it means to not only be a woman, but also someone who doesn’t conform to the rules of society. Bonset and Feathers is a sombre and oppressive read, which is the perfect tone for what Odette is going through. I felt equal parts suffocated, angered, and hopeless as I traveled the world with Odette, knowing all too well how hopeless her position seems. As always, Kiste’s writing is lyrical and beautiful. This time, it fell much more towards fantasy than horror, but the bits of horror sprinkled within were brilliant.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    If you had already hidden yourself away from the witchfinders, and they came back, what would you do? This story unfolds and unpacks so much around home, integrity, joy, magic, and trusting yourself. All with ravens, weird kids, a sentient forest, and so much more. Don't miss it. If you had already hidden yourself away from the witchfinders, and they came back, what would you do? This story unfolds and unpacks so much around home, integrity, joy, magic, and trusting yourself. All with ravens, weird kids, a sentient forest, and so much more. Don't miss it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joe Scipione

    Review coming soon to horrorbound.net

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Gwendolyn takes what has the potential to be a “tired” trope (the witch hunts) and does something wonderfully unique and compelling. Highly recommend!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Jo

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sonora Taylor

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tom Deady

  18. 4 out of 5

    CordeliaChase

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bill Finger

  20. 4 out of 5

    José Ángel de Dios

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cécile

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sjgomzi

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Denison

  26. 5 out of 5

    JP

  27. 4 out of 5

    Micah Castle

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hélène Mathis

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gaby Triana

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shawnna Deresch

  31. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  32. 5 out of 5

    Fibunny

  33. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Brett

  34. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

  35. 4 out of 5

    Angie

  36. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Laben

  37. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Wibberley

  38. 5 out of 5

    Hailey Piper

  39. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  40. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo

  41. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  42. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wilson

  43. 5 out of 5

    Scott Hallam

  44. 4 out of 5

    Jessica (Spooky KidLit & We Who Walk Here, Walk Alone)

  45. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  46. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Murphy

  47. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn McGee

  48. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Brown

  49. 5 out of 5

    Marianne Halbert

  50. 5 out of 5

    Gareth

  51. 4 out of 5

    Christa

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