braceletofbA young adult, coming-of-age Viking tale that attempts to examine the religious differences between the Norse religion and Christianity while taking the heroine on a cross country adventure.

I liked the characters. I liked the setting. I even liked the time period. Bracelet of Bones should have been a home run for me, but it just wasn’t.

At first, I thought that the book was going to feature a struggle between pagan religions and Christians: “Most of the families living along our fjord have been baptized,” Asta retorted, “but they still worship Odin and the other gods as well.” The young priest shook his head. “I will pray for you,” he said, “and visit you again.” pg 25. But, he was never heard from again. At least, not in this title.

Then, I thought that this book was going to be primarily about Solveig’s journey to find her father. That was closer to the truth: “I’ve never felt so afraid. But I’ve never been so sure of what I have to do. Mother, my mother, my journey will either lead me to my father or lay me down like you.” pg 29. Her mother has been dead for a long time. Not a spoiler, that is explained in the first few pages of the book.

Solveig joins a few different groups of travelers on her way. Some of the characters are trustworthy, others are not, but none of them are very memorable.

My favorite parts were the storytelling moments of Bracelet of Bones and I wished that there were more of them: “This girl lived on our fjord and she told a story about how the winter was so bitter that even the gods were famished and Skadi herself had to go ice-fishing and hunting. But she told it on the eve of the spring solstice. Her words stopped the sun from warming the earth!” pg 191.

The quote that best encapsulates this story is: “…you can sit at home by the fire and stir the stew-pot and nothing much will change, or you can say your prayers and step out and face what’s unknown.” pg 275. I endeavor to step out that door and face the unknown every day. Some days I’m more successful than others.

Only recommended for those who enjoy tales about Vikings. Though it reached for thrilling heights, Bracelet of Bones feels to me like a book that chose to stay at home by the fire and stir the stew-pot.

Thanks for reading!

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