April 19, 2020

The Silence of Bones Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway


The Silence of Bones
Author: June Hur 
Genre: YA Mystery/Historical Fiction
Release Date: April 21st 2020
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
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I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak;
Ears, but I mustn't hear;
Eyes, but I mustn't see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

June Hur's elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.
The Silence of Bones is an amazing young adult historical mystery that readers are going to love. I personally adore mysteries and thrillers (it's one of my favorite genres) so it was a no-brainer that I had to read this book. I honestly wasn't sure what to expect because it's a debut and because of the historical setting. I'm so incredibly glad that I gave it a shot because it definitely exceeded my hopes and was truly wonderful in almost every way.

The main character, Seol, is fantastic. She has so many good qualities and traits along with flaws and issues that she was truly complex and completely realistic. I connected with her within the first pages of the book and my love for her only grew as the story unfolded. I could go on and on about all of her layers - her past, her memories, the life she's forced to live because of her class, and all of her amazing qualities. She's so strong and resilient despite having a pretty rough life and then being indentured to the police bureau as basically a slave. She's very smart and ends up figuring out the big mystery before the police actually do (which I kinda figured would happen, but still was cool). She's persistent, constantly questioning things and letting her curiosity get the better of her - even though that could get her in a lot of trouble. She's just an amazing character and by the end of the book I felt like I had known her forever and was right beside her throughout the story.

The setting had me a little worried yet curious. I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction of any kind and I have absolutely no knowledge of 19th century Korean culture. I wasn't sure if this was going to be a problem for me. Interestingly enough, it not only made the story feel that much more realistic, it allowed me to learn about Korean history of that time and what life was like back then. Like I said, I have no clue about Korean history but right from the beginning paragraphs of the book, the author literally brought it to life for me. I not only could see this place in my mind, but I felt like I was actually there beside Seol. I felt what she felt, saw what she saw, heard and smelled what she did. The author transported me to this completely unfamiliar setting but made it feel alive and real around me - like I was there myself. It was truly amazing. Not many authors can bring a setting to life - especially one where I'm coming in completely blind without any knowledge - so the fact that the author managed to accomplish this and in such a detailed and vivid way was remarkable.

The plot was fascinating but also your typical murder mystery. Like I mentioned, it's one of my favorite genres, so not much surprises me anymore. I loved getting wrapped up in the politics, the intrigue, and all the little details that the author left for us. I have to admit that it kept me guessing for quite awhile. The red herrings were great and there were definitely some twists and turns I didn't see coming. I don't do spoilers in my reviews, so I can't go into much more detail than that. I'll just say that it was a tightly wound mystery that started early in the story and the suspense grew as each chapter passed and new things were discovered.

The final thing I have to talk about is the writing style. If you read my reviews, you know this is a huge aspect and can literally make or break a book for me. I almost always prefer the first person point of view because I believe it allows the reader to have a deeper connection with the narrator. I'm so incredibly happy that the author decided to write this book in the first person from Seol's perspective. As soon as I saw that it was written in the first person, I took a huge sigh of relief and then really dove into the story. And I truly believe that this POV allowed me to connect with Seol on a very personal level and allowed me to lose myself in the setting, the story, the mystery, and so much more. I loved getting to know Seol so well. We get to see her innermost thoughts and emotions - her hopes and dreams, her fears and regrets, memories, her feelings, and everything else in between. This really sealed the deal for me along with the amazing writing. This book has it all - a fantastic heroine that you generally connect with, the other characters are well rounded, the setting is brought to life in front of your eyes even though it's set in 19th century Korea, and the plot is a great blend of historical fiction and mystery. I very highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, mystery, thrillers, suspense, and readers interested in learning more about Korean history and culture.

JUNE HUR (‘Hur’ as in ‘her’) was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto, and currently works for the public library. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020.

She is represented by Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.
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Starts: April 15, 2020
Ends: April 29, 2020

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