Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Book Review: Speaking In Bones - Kathy Reichs

The point of a review is to review a story for people considering it, not to ruin that by divulging everything. I'll try and keep the actual story line and themes out of this review so I don't ruin it for potential readers. 
I was lucky enough to be sent this and approved to review by the publisher via Netgalley.
All views in this are my own and honest opinion.  

Speaking in Bones

The first chapter already sends a shiver down my spine. An unconventional start to a book I think is that the first chapter is written as if by the victim, not Temperence Brennan. It's an exciting start to what I'm going to assume is another great book from Kathy Reichs. 

In the second chapter and then again further along in the book she references Bones (the program she produces based on Temperence Brennan) which blows my mind. I spend a good 10 seconds chuckling and then about 120 trying to wrap my head around it. I assume it was put there for that reason. 

In true Reichs fashion, each chapter comes complete with thick medical jargon which she explains, giving you the feeling that's you're training to become a forensic anthropologist and know exactly what she's going on about. It brings you closer to her job and the cases she's working on. Another typical feature in her chapters is the cliffhanger which makes it near impossible to put the book down and urges you on to the next chapter. 

The thing I love about Reichs' books is that she manages to keep you hooked without the need for Brennan to be in imminent danger every chapter. Some books have their leads in fights or hostage situations constantly to keep people interested but she does it with revealed information and dialogue between the characters. So when Brennan does hit a moment where she's in peril it excites and engages us instead of making us think "this can't be too bad, its the 5th time so far".  

As with her previous books, this one is well thought out and every shop, house, church, park, lab etc is written in great detail so you can really get a feel for the surroundings she's in. Right down to the colour of the carpet.

The Ryan/Brennan love storyline continues on from the last book (not so much the novella from in between which included little/nothing of it). I find it disappointing for the most part because I want to see it heating up more. The first half of the book is kept cool in regards to the pairing. It comes to a bit of a head about 2/3rds of the way through and the result isn't to my liking. It took several books to get them together then less to split them up so I've been waiting for the reconciliation for a while. Its not a bad situation, just, not what I wanted! Disappointed, I spend the the rest of the book hoping to see mention of them but was left hanging. I guess this was her intention, to keep you hanging until the end (which is totally worth the wait). 

The main storyline itself is snowballing and a little over halfway through we have lots of facts and scenarios but nothing concrete which has minimised the predictability of 'who done it'. I have a few suspicions but at this point it could be anyone. I love that I haven't already guessed it - something that I had found myself doing up until the last 3 books. 
I found that this book was light on the drama and heavier on the build up than her others. No major action until the grand finale and even that wasn't massively dramatic in action . Her scene setting and explanations have you clawing the edge of your seat as you read on waiting for something to happen. She could probably write an entire book where nothing happens and I'll still get into bed every night ready to read it.

Without ruining it, I think the ending of the main story was a good twist and not one you really see coming. We have the usual breakdown of what happens by the other characters with a meeting between Tempe and another character to just cover any loose ends. I like this as it means there isn't a flurry of activity where I think some details can be lost amongst all the others. Where you have to read back a paragraph to re-cap. Instead, you get that re-cap in a different scenario with fresh characters.

There's also another part to the ending where we finally see a decision made in regards to her love life. I won't divulge too much but it was satisfactory. A nice added part to the end of this book.

My only criticisms would be Brennan's ability to disregard advice and safety and plunge straight into dicey situations. At one or two points she even writes in that Tempe knew it was stupid and in danger but instead of reigning it in, she pushed harder and got herself into bother. It would be more refreshing if the danger found her instead of her gunning for it. But I guess this is why people love her, myself included.

All in all this was another Reichs book that I throughly enjoyed. A continuation in her steady incline from - what I feel was - a bit of a rut she was stuck in. For a few books, the story line was predictable and I felt she went over things that die hard Brennan fans already knew to accommodate new fans to the series that Bones brought in.  I'd thoroughly recommend this book and suggest any new comers begin with the first books before coming to this one as, not only will it be enjoyable, but the later stories/characters will make a lot more sense. 

So all things considered this is a 5 star job. Anything that gets me that hooked and keeps me up past my bedtime to read "just one more" chapter is a winner in my book. Its not just because I'm a Kathy Reichs fan. I wrote my review as I was reading so I didn't gloss over anything at the end.

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