Review: The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke


The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke
Genre: YA Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Retelling
Publication: October 2nd 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 384 pages
Format: ARC from publisher
Rating: ★★★★☆

Amazon || Book Depository

A dark and gorgeously drawn standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory. Won in a major six-house auction!

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller. Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater, V.E. Schwab, and Heidi Heilig.

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Huge thanks to my friends from Fierce Reads / Macmillan US for sending me a physical review copy of this title in exchange for an honest review. This did not, in any way, affect my overall opinion of the book and/or the story.

When I first heard of The Boneless Mercies, I immediately thought that it was going to be this badass, action-packed read. I was ready for the all-female crew of mercenaries to rock my world and I was so, so excited when I got it as part of Fierce Reads’ Fall 2018 blogger mailing! I’ve heard from some of my friends that it’s the kind of book that’s intriguingly engaging and so I instantly dove right into it when I got the chance. And I’m so glad to be sharing with you all my thoughts on this fierce fantasy story!

The Boneless Mercies is the story of Frey as she and her diverse crew of mercy killers Ovie, Runa, and Juniper, leave their normal lives behind as they try to defy the odds and do something that has never been done before—to slay a giant beast—and claim the glory and fame that goes with it. It’s a fantasy story that screams action, and thrill, and feminism and I’m here for all of it!

I’ll be honest to start off this review. Part of why I didn’t finish this as quickly as I was hoping to was because of the pacing of the first half of the story. I had a hard time getting through the first hundred pages and I had to read everything from the beginning whenever I felt like there’s something that I didn’t understand. I wanted so badly to comprehend every single detail that this book offered but, like I said, there’s something about that first 100 pages that didn’t hook me enough to finish this in a week. I’m not blaming this on the author or the writing style, though, as I firmly believe that at the time I was reading this, I was mostly distracted by my day job, but I guess that’s worth mentioning? Hopefully, other readers would choose to power through because the second half of the story completely made up for the way it lagged at first.

On to the stuff that I liked. I was very, very intrigued by the way that this book was pitched and I loved the idea of a gender-bent retelling of the Old English classic, Beowulf! Now, I’m not gonna lie and blatantly say that I loved that book, since I haven’t even read it yet. If my memory serves me correctly, I did watch the movie adaptation back in 2007 but I can hardly recall anything about it. But anyway, since I know that a lot of people loved Beowulf, it was easy enough to be intrigued by this book. Add to that the idea of having an all-female cast of protagonists? Why, thank you! I love reading fantasy books that put a spotlight on female voices, not because I’m gay or anything, but because I find that they’re a lot more breathtaking, and appealing than others. And upon turning the last page of this story, I’m glad to have been proven right.

And I also liked the bond that the mercies shared was pretty admirable. Frey, Runa, Ovie, and Juniper all came from different walks of life only to be brought together by fate. They left their own lives to go on a quest to look for a better life, but they got stuck with each other in the death trade. And the way that they treated each other, like they were actual sisters, and the fact that they had each other’s backs even though they never truly got to know one another in a deeper level, that was precious to me and it gave me quite a positive angle from which to view this story from. And I also liked learning about the past of each of our mercies and I would’ve loved it more if we got more back story for everyone, most especially Runa. (She’s my favorite, out of the 4!)

“The Boneless Mercies is an intricately written novel about sisterhood, loyalty, pride, and feminism. It’s a dark reimagining of a classic favorite, one that puts a spotlight on an all-female cast. It’s lush writing may not have gripped me as much as I’d hoped, but it still ended up becoming such a fascinating read towards the end. It tells a fierce story that asks to what lengths can one go to to live a life of glory and success, one that lots of readers of the fantasy genre would no doubt enjoy.”

And before you go, check out this aesthetic board that I curated that’s inspired by Frey, Juniper, Ovie, Runa, and The Boneless Mercies:



Giveaway (US only)


Up for grabs is one (1) finished copy of THE BONELESS MERCIES and one (1) custom-made Boneless Mercies necklace exclusively designed for Fierce Reads! Click on the picture above to be redirected to the Rafflecopter Widget! Further instructions on how to enter are posted there.




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Have YOU read The Boneless Mercies yet? What other April Genevieve Tucholke-books have you read? And be sure to grab a copy of this from your local book store and start reading it! And once you do, let me know what you think of it down below in the comments section!


Arctic Books general graphics JMJM is a 21 year old blogger from Manila. He has a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management mainly because it was too late when he discovered that literature and publishing is his true calling. He enjoys reading contemporary and fantasy novels as much as he enjoys playing video games and baking pastries. You may find him on his book blog, Book Freak Revelations, also on TwitterInstagram, & Goodreads.



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