My new book isn’t universally loathed! In fact, California Bones has received two starred reviews (that’s not to say it’s received reviews with two stars, but rather two reviews with one star, which, in this case, is a better thing, it’s confusing, I know). I’m just making this difficult. Here are the reviews, one from Library Journal, the other from Booklist.
LIBRARY JOURNAL – Starred Review
“In the Southern Kingdom of California, Daniel Blackland is a thief and an osteomancer, able to use the magic imbued in certain bones to give himself power. As a child he witnessed the killing of his father by the mysterious ruler known as the Hierarch and then went underground. The local crime lord wants to hire him for a job, but Daniel isn’t interested until he hears that it might finally be a chance for him to steal back a weapon made by his father that contains Daniel’s own bones. He puts together a crew to break into the Hierarch’s compound, but even the best thieves in Los Angeles are going to have a hard time stealing from the most powerful man in California. VERDICT In van Eekhout’s (Norse Code) first hardcover for adult readers, a combination of caper novel and urban fantasy packs a wallop. Daniel and his team banter even while up to their necks in danger, and the magic system in which eating the bones and flesh of creatures can grant you their power is unique and fascinating (if a little icky). Highly recommended.”
BOOKLIST – Starred Review
“Daniel Blackland, a professional (if fairly small-time) thief, is hired by his uncle, a crime lord, to break into a supposedly impenetrable stronghold and steal something so rare, so important, that others will kill to get it back. Sound like a typical caper novel? Let’s add in some details. Daniel is the son of a powerful magician who was killed many years ago by the Hierarch, the ruler of the Kingdom of Southern California, and the object he’s trying to steal is a sword, made by Daniel’s father, that possesses the magical essence of Daniel himself. This wonderfully imaginative story is set in an alternate-reality Los Angeles that will seem both familiar (the author mentions Topanga Canyon and Rhino Records) and weirdly unusual (the city has an elaborate canal system, like that in Venice, for example). In this world, the bones of magical creatures contain remnants of their powers; if you consume these ancient bones, or the bones of magical people living today, you acquire their magical properties (when the Hierarch killed Daniel’s father, he, um, ate him). The story is structured like a caper novel, and fans of stories about heists will enjoy it, but its fantastical elements make it an absolute must for urban-fantasy readers, too.”