top of page
  • Writer's pictureTheLittLibrarian

The Bones of Ruin - Review

*I received the physical and E-Arc from Simon Pulse for the Turn the Page Tours. All reviews are my own.*

"As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…​
She cannot die.
Haunted by her unnatural power and with no memories of her past, Iris is obsessed with discovering who she is. But that mission gets more complicated when she meets the dark and alluring Adam Temple, a member of a mysterious order called the Enlightenment Committee. Adam seems to know much more about her than he lets on, and he shares with her a terrifying revelation: the world is ending, and the Committee will decide who lives…and who doesn’t.
To help them choose a leader for the upcoming apocalypse, the Committee is holding the Tournament of Freaks, a macabre competition made up of vicious fighters with fantastical abilities. Adam wants Iris to be his champion, and in return he promises her the one thing she wants most: the truth about who she really is.
If Iris wants to learn about her shadowy past, she has no choice but to fight. But the further she gets in the grisly tournament, the more she begins to remember—and the more she wonders if the truth is something best left forgotten."

The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley is intricate, to say the least. I can see why it has mixed reviews. A lot was going on throughout the story, and it deserves a detailed breakdown. The path leading to the truth reminded me of the writing in Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn. Some may love it; some may be looking at the book like what the fuck, but the story will take you on an exploration nonetheless. Let’s talk about the good portions first.

I liked that Raughley wrote a story about an African female character in the Victorian ages and didn’t beat us over the head with the obvious fact that she’s black. Don’t get me wrong, she noted the lack of respect towards her gender and her skin color, but it wasn’t the leading focus of the story. It wasn’t the typical black tragedy tropes that are always highlighted in black feature stories. We see an entertainer trying to recover memories about her past with a band of Fanciful Freaks in tow.

And speaking of Fanciful Freaks, I like the X-Men quality of abilities these characters have. I picture The Greatest Showman, but with level 3 mutated qualities. They are unique. I mean, Iris, the main character, CAN’T DIE! If I’m going to be doing highwire gigs and hanging around a bunch of murderous freaks during a macabre of tournaments, it’s an excellent trait to have!

As far as the lovey-dovey portion of the book, I have never seen a love square before. A triangle, yes. But not a square. That was new for me. I should’ve paid more attention in geometry class. I’ve learned to recognize the signs when authors place characters too close to each other, but I’m not sure if this aspect of personalization was needed. I won’t say it felt forced, but it did add something to the story.

Okay, now to the questionable parts of the book. The ending has me highly confused. I actually understood how Iris felt when loads of information came crashing down on her. It is entirely too much to process, and I probably need to reread to grasp the intentions of the plot fully. To be fair, the book was left off as a cliffhanger, and we’ll probably get more answers in the sequel, but right now, I have questions.

With some of the characters, I wish we had a better storyline for them. It felt like Raughley was introducing them with great lengths but dropped the ball on expanding it. Let’s be real some of these characters are not showing up in book 2, and I was invested in the stories the characters offered up. They weren’t the primary goal of the story, but it felt incomplete.

Overall I’m giving this rating 3.5 stars? The Bones of Ruin was not a light book that you can read in a day. It almost took me damn near two weeks to finish it. Even so, it was still entertaining. If secret societies of elite power, lover’s quarrels, amnesia, Hunger Games-style eliminations, and the threat of the end of the world intrigues you, The Bones of Ruin is made for you. I’m captivated and can’t wait to continue the journey.

The Bones of Ruin debuts September 7, 2021

PSSST! There's a giveaway!

Up for grabs will be TWO (1) finished copies of The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley. This giveaway will be open to U.S. residents only and will run from August 29th to September 13th at 11:59 PM CST. Two winners will be chosen. To enter, click the link below!

38 views2 comments

Related Posts

See All


Aamna Rehman
Aamna Rehman
Sep 09, 2021

This book definitely was crazy ride! I still feel confused about somethings, but I still really enjoyed it. And I get what you mean about the side-characters. Even though Jinn seems the most decent out of the bunch, he felt a little too good to be true-person with a sad story.

Sep 09, 2021
Replying to

I hope Raughley delves on his character and relationship a little more in book 2. He has potential.

bottom of page