Near the Bone by Christina Henry
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication date: 13 April 2021
Page count: 368 pages
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A woman trapped on a mountain attempts to survive more than one kind of monster, in a dread-inducing horror novel from the national bestselling author Christina Henry.
Mattie can’t remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they’re not alone after all.
There’s something in the woods that wasn’t there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.
When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.
I am most familiar with Christina Henry’s retellings (The Mermaid is a personal favourite), but between last year’s The Ghost Tree and her latest book — Near the Bone — I’m becoming a huge fan of her horror titles. Near the Bone is a fantastically tense, incredibly immersive, and totally brilliant bit of horror writing. Like most tense, thriller-type books I can’t say too much for fear of giving things away, but I’ll do my best with a short review.
Told from Mattie’s perspective, we learn early on that something isn’t quite right and perhaps things aren’t what they seem. Henry teases out the facts of Mattie’s life in a masterful way, filling every page with tension from beginning to end. I literally could not put this book down — fun fact: I cooked dinner and brushed my teeth with this book in hand. What better endorsement could you want? I was totally hooked and loved the way this story unfolded.
Mattie is a fabulous character. Seeing her complex situation, emotions, and ingrained behavior and reactions is heartbreaking, yet so satisfying when her survival instincts kick in as she’s determined to escape the monster in the woods. She has a deeply satisfying story arc and she’s an incredibly compelling character.
Again, I just can’t say much more about this book without giving anything away. But I can confidently tell you that if you’re a fan of supernatural horror, thrillers, or tension-filled books in general you absolutely must pick up Near the Bone. This is easily one of my favourite books of the year!
If you’re curious about content warnings, please do message me! I generally don’t believe in the whole ‘content warnings count as spoilers’ thing, but I think this is one of the rare cases in which that might be true.
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