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Kya, St Helen and St Katharine

Bone Talk

I would not usually chose a book like Bone Talk as the synopsis did not appear to be that interesting. How wrong could I be! This was a very fast paced captivating book. Bone Talk is set in the Philippines at the start of the 1900’s when the United States did actually invade the Philippines (Philippine Insurrection) and head hunters really did roam the mountain forests. The plot is well constructed around a mountain tribe, their rituals and beliefs centering on the bone tree, which is the keeper of the spirits of all their ancestors.
The main character Samkad is keen to become a warrior like his father and this story is about his journey to manhood (the cut) with the help of his family, friends, ancestors and even some of his enemies. Bone Talk is about family, Sam finding his long lost brother Kinyo and the differences due to growing up in separate tribes. War and the horror that it brings is also a theme running through the book.
One of my favourite character is little Luki who is desperate to be a warrior just like Sam, but can’t because she is a girl - girl power! She helps Sam throughout the book to achieve his goal and at the end of the book she finally gets the recognition she deserves. Candy develops characters as the book progresses and the dialog she uses brings them to life through the use of her descriptive language, which includes a lot of colloquial references. The level of description she uses sets the scene perfectly especially the transition between the highlands and the lowlands. The highlands dribbling with moss and the lowlands hot and dry and how the characters cope with the differences. Bone Talk is full of complex description, giving you a connection with the characters feeling their anxiety, fear and joy, it was as if you were standing right next to them.
Candy introduces different cultures and the effect that it has on the tribes, for example the American Mr Williams and the gumdrops he gives the boys and how each of them reacts differently. I also find the way she writes Samkad’s voice in the first person very powerful, she uses a little boys language and how he would think. This made all the characters seem believable throughout the book even through the toughest times.
I would of preferred at the end if the epilogue went in to more detail about the characters’ lives and not finish so abruptly. Overall I loved this book and found it hard to put down, I rate it 9/10.

Posted on: 26th March 2019 at 09:51 am

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