I have to start by saying sorry. Sorry for picking a long book and sorry for picking a series. At least it’s an excellent read and it’s book one. That said, I stand by my selection because I had a blast reading The Bone Doll’s Twin and it’s depth provides a number of topics for discussion.
The Bone Doll’s Twin is creepy and terrifying. We’ll get that out of the way right now. But it’s creepy and terrifying in the best ways; you can’t have a book centred on necromancy and demons and murderous-familial-villains not be creepy and terrifying.
While debating what to read next, as I only selected Flewelling’s novel for the book club after finishing the last page, I was immediately pulled in by these phrases on the back cover: “oracle,” “usurper king,” and “to be born female into the royal line has become a death sentence.”
Those phrases outline the book’s basic premise. The story follows the birth and early life of Tobin, the centre of the Oracle’s prophecy, since he is not actually the prince he believes himself to be. In order to protect his life and ensure the future of Skala, Tobin’s father, two wizards, and a witch conspired together to cover his true sex.
It was no easy feat to convince the world that Tobin was born a boy when in fact he was born a girl. Still, they managed to convince the murderous King that Tobin, his own nephew, was no threat to his line. Yet the conspirators never imagined the fallout that would plague them so early on in their plan.
Tobin’s upbringing is beset by tragedy and unease. There are few rays of light in his life and those that come are fleeting. Watching him grow and head towards the knowledge that is sure to rock his already cracked foundation is both thrilling and heartbreaking.
What made The Bone Doll’s Twin so readable, beyond Tobin and the other characters, are the complex narrative threads left hanging at the end. I can’t wait to immerse myself in the next installment.
Now that I’ve hopefully piqued your interest, here are the topics I want to discuss about Flewelling’s novel. I should warn you I’m hard on books I love.
How did you feel gender was handled in this book? Were you satisfied by the reveal?
What did you think of the portrayal of sexuality? Was it a breath of fresh air or more of the same?
What did you think of the cast in terms of diversity?
How do you feel about this book from a feminist perspective?
What do you think of Tobin as the protagonist?
I do hope you pick this book up; if you’re into dark fantasy you won’t want to miss it.
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