Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling

Where do I even begin with this book? This one has been sitting on my TBR shelf for a little over a year now and it was one of those books that I was never really in a rush to get to. I felt sort of apathetic towards it. I hadn't heard much about it, but I did keep in the back of my mind the fact that Orson Scott Card had recommended it awhile back! I finally decided to pull it off of the shelf for the Once Upon a Time II challenge and I'm so thrilled that I did. I'm just wondering now what other unknown masterpieces are sitting on my shelf. The Bone Doll's Twin is quite a complex story of fantasy, dark magic, wizardry, sexual identity (wondering how that works in?), and loyalties that is intriguing, addicting, and marvelously written. It opens with an older wizard and her apprentice visiting an oracle where they are shown a vision that leads them to the bedside of the king's sister as she is giving birth to twins. They are sent here for a reason...Skala has always been ruled by a warrior queen and King Erius has now claimed the throne for himself naming his son the sole heir to the throne. But the oracle has foretold that the king's sister will birth a daughter who will have the rights to the throne. The problem is, the king has been killing off all females and claiming their deaths to be accidents so that tradition does not pass the throne back to a woman where it rightly lies. A witch is called to the birthing of the king's sisters twins. His sister gives birth first to a girl, a girl who is to become future queen of Skala but would surely be killed if the king were to know of her. The second child is a boy. The witch sadly takes the life of the boy child, but switches the sexes of the children so that the living girl appears to be a boy until she can rightly take her place as queen of Skala. The boy now looks as if he were a girl and it is told to the king that she (in reality "he") was a stillborn. The living "boy" is named Tobin. The main story of The Bone Doll's Twin follows Tobin as he grows up as a prince not knowing that he is actually a girl or what his destiny is. Tobin does however learn that he did have a brother that did not survive as his brother's spirit is restless and comes back to be his twin afterall, eventually becoming known to the entire country as "Tobin's ghost". Tobin most certainly does not lead a normal life as you can imagine. His mother knows what has happened to her lost child as she also see's the dead child and Tobin suffers for it as she is constantly in mourning often making muslin dolls without faces. One doll in particular seems to connect her with the ghost of her lost twin and it is from this that we get the title of our book. I really could go on forever about this book, but I'll just stop there. It's fascinating, it's wonderful, it's everything I hope for in a book. It's seriously one of the best fantasy books I've read and I'm really shocked that she hasn't gotten more exposure for this series. I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the Tamir Triad. This was just such a unique idea for a series and the writing was so exquisite. One main problem that I normally have with fantasy is that there's some story line that I'm not interested in or that bores me to tears and when the author switches to a chapter from that perspective I think "oh no..." But that never happened with this book. I really loved every page of this novel. There's magic galore, mystery, darkness, love scenes, sword fighting, war, and a beautiful coming of age story with one of the most clever twists I've read. On a scale of 1 to 5, this one gets a 6! ok...that's cheating...a 5. Ok...maybe an extra point too for the cool John Jude Palencar cover ;) Oh, by the way...I joined 2 more challenges :p Becky's 42 Challenge and Darla's Irresistible Review Challenge. Find out all about them by clicking on the links! They're both incredible challenges :)

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