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Teagan’s wife, Cressidae, is missing. She has left for the Shadow Realm, a kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares—and the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forg Teagan’s wife, Cressidae, is missing. She has left for the Shadow Realm, a kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares—and the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forgotten one very important thing: no one makes it out on their own. Despite the risks to her own safety, Teagan is determined to save her wife—and perhaps even herself in the process. The princess of the Shadow Realm, however, doesn’t let mortals roam her territories without opposition. In this thrilling fantasy novella, Teagan and Cressidae must face both the horrors of the Shadow Realm as well as their own past.


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Teagan’s wife, Cressidae, is missing. She has left for the Shadow Realm, a kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares—and the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forg Teagan’s wife, Cressidae, is missing. She has left for the Shadow Realm, a kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares—and the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forgotten one very important thing: no one makes it out on their own. Despite the risks to her own safety, Teagan is determined to save her wife—and perhaps even herself in the process. The princess of the Shadow Realm, however, doesn’t let mortals roam her territories without opposition. In this thrilling fantasy novella, Teagan and Cressidae must face both the horrors of the Shadow Realm as well as their own past.

30 review for The Bone Way

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    This was an okay read. I was really looking forward to this book. I love fantasy and I love retellings (this is a sapphic twist on Eurydice and Orpheus) but this wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. I don’t feel that my time was wasted, it was a fine read, but it just had too many things in it that I’m not a fan of. On the plus side, the cover is great! My first issue, which was a smaller one, is that I did not realize that this was a novella. While I like novellas in general, I am often not a fan This was an okay read. I was really looking forward to this book. I love fantasy and I love retellings (this is a sapphic twist on Eurydice and Orpheus) but this wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. I don’t feel that my time was wasted, it was a fine read, but it just had too many things in it that I’m not a fan of. On the plus side, the cover is great! My first issue, which was a smaller one, is that I did not realize that this was a novella. While I like novellas in general, I am often not a fan of short fantasy stories. I like meaty fantasy with lots of world building that you can really sink your teeth into. While I did not expect this to be like epic length, because the premise was lightly based on a myth, I did expect this to be a full-length book. I didn’t reduce my rating just because this was a novella –since it was my own fault for not realizing it soon enough- but what did affect my rating is that I felt like the book needed more pages to really develop the story. It really needed more world building and more time to understand this “great love story”. My second issue was two problems put together. One was about the flashbacks and the other was the romance. If you follow my reviews you will already know that I really suffer with flashbacks. It’s rare that I find them to work well for the story and it is hard for me to enjoy reading them. And in this case, I really struggled with understanding Underhill’s choice of using them in a novella. I just don’t think there is enough time in a shorter story to make flashbacks work well. Half of the story was in the past, the other half in the present, and it did not feel like enough time spent on either storyline. My problem with the romance connects into the flashbacks since three quarters of the flashbacks where used to tell the romance, with the last quarter used to tell the tale of another character, a princess. The flashbacks all together would not have been enough time to really tell the romance so it really didn’t work dividing them up. This is supposed to be an epic love story of two women who would face death for each other, yet I never really understood why they would. There was a lot of precious time spent on showing the characters arguing and in the end we are more told of this great love story and not really shown. Since I have a lot of complaints, you might be wondering why I still gave this 3 Stars –which is an average/okay rating in my reviews. Well the answer was that even while I didn’t like certain story choices, I thought the writing style was good. I found the book to be readable and it kept my attention. I thought some of the danger was too easily overcome, but I did care enough to keep reading to get to the end. And finally, my rating is compared to other novellas that I have read and this is definitely an average novella. The premise is great, and this had a lot of potential, but it just was not enough to completely get there. While I was rooting for the characters, I didn’t care as much about them, in this life and death situation, as I should have. And since this was a love story, I needed to feel that great love more. In the end, I can’t recommend this but I would not say stay away either. This is a reasonably priced story so it might be worth a try if you are a big sapphic retelling/mythology fan. A copy was given to me for a review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    My first thought when starting this little novella was that it would make an excellent Ghibli film. It is brimming with whimsical fantasy vibes. Set in the land of Wystira, a place with steam trains and air balloons but also cosy cottages complete with kitchens scented by potted plants and freshly-baked bread, it is incredibly cute (think of the kingdom in Howl's Moving Castle). This changes slightly when the narrative setting moves to the Shadow Realm, but even then it is a whimsical kind of sp My first thought when starting this little novella was that it would make an excellent Ghibli film. It is brimming with whimsical fantasy vibes. Set in the land of Wystira, a place with steam trains and air balloons but also cosy cottages complete with kitchens scented by potted plants and freshly-baked bread, it is incredibly cute (think of the kingdom in Howl's Moving Castle). This changes slightly when the narrative setting moves to the Shadow Realm, but even then it is a whimsical kind of spooky. Inspired by the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice (it's not a strict retelling, so I think using 'reimagining' or 'inspired by' is better in this sense as it gives a better impression of what the book is about), it centres on heroine Teagan as she follows her wife Cressidea into the Shadow Realm. Teagan is slowly dying from a wound inflicted by a fantasy creature, and Cress has gone into the Shadow Realm to save her. It's really a story about stubborn sapphics and love that prevails against all odds. It's also a story about loss and grief - Teagan's character arc also focuses on her losing her mother, and so she doesn't want to lose Cress too. It's a very quick read at just over 100 pages, and it does feel somewhat feel somewhat simplistic or easy at points, as well as moving rather quickly as an extension of that - but this is something I feel comes with the novella territory. It's a very enjoyable and sweet read and one I'd recommend to anyone who wants a light, whimsical fantasy novel to whittle away an hour or two. It's a tonic for anyone who wants to read a fantasy story, but is overwhelmed by the length and heaviness of many current books. > 4 stars Thank you to Nyx Publishing for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review! * SAPPHIC ORPHEUS & EURYDICE RETELLING??!!?? WITH THIS COVER???!!!??

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lucie V.

    I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Nyx Publishing). All thoughts and opinions are my own. ✅ Gorgeous cover 🆗 Pace 🆗 Plot 🆗❌ Romance ❌ World-building ❌ Characters Maybe 2.5 stars... I was expecting this book to be a full-length novel, not a novella, and that one is on me. I should have looked more into the details of the book before requesting an ARC. I am not usually a fan of too short fantasy stories because the world-building, character development, and even the plot suffer from I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Nyx Publishing). All thoughts and opinions are my own. ✅ Gorgeous cover 🆗 Pace 🆗 Plot 🆗❌ Romance ❌ World-building ❌ Characters Maybe 2.5 stars... I was expecting this book to be a full-length novel, not a novella, and that one is on me. I should have looked more into the details of the book before requesting an ARC. I am not usually a fan of too short fantasy stories because the world-building, character development, and even the plot suffer from the fact that everything is fitted into 100 pages. Sadly, the fact that the story is only 100 pages does affect my appreciation of it and my rating since I find it quite underwhelming. I know that I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it had been longer. The premise is very interesting, the ideas are there, the characters are not bad, but there is no world-building or real character development, and the romance and the plot are not the best execution-wise. It is a very loose retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice. Because this is a novella, we don’t really get a chance to know and get attached to the characters at all, so I didn’t really care what happened to Teagan and Cress. All we know is that they are married, that Teagan’s mother died a few years ago, and that Teagan studied to become a healer, that is actually how she met Cress. Now, Cress left without Teagan on a mission into the Shadow Realm that is very dangerous, and Teagan is racing to find her wife before it’s too late. Other pieces of information about them are given as the story progresses, but in the end, we still don’t know much about them. Another problem that I had is the number of flashbacks in a story that is so short. I am not a fan of flashbacks in stories, to begin with, and considering the length of the novella, I just didn’t enjoy the result. Half of the story is in the past, thanks to the flashbacks, and we discover how Teagan and Cress met, and what pushed them to enter the Shadow Realm. The other half is in the present, as Teagan is racing on The Bone Way to try to find Cress before she gets killed. I just feel that not enough time was spent on either storyline, and there is no real world-building here. Again, this issue would have been solved with more pages to develop the whole story. The romance between Cress and Teagan is shown mostly through the flashbacks: how they met and what their life together looked like. I was expecting an epic love story, but instead, I read a lot about them arguing, and how Teagan was rushing to save Cress, but I didn’t feel their intense feelings. Their “great” love story was told to us, but not shown, and not developed enough for me to feel anything about it. Overall, this is an okay/good novella, but do keep in mind before you start reading it that it is a novella and not a full-length novel. I can’t really say that I recommend this story because it was overall underwhelming, and the ending didn’t really satisfy me, but if you really enjoy sapphic retellings and/or are a big fan of mythology, then you might actually enjoy it more than I did.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    eurydice and orpheus, but make it sapphic???? my body is ready.

  5. 4 out of 5

    solanne

    THIS is the f/f aesthetic I strive for

  6. 4 out of 5

    literarylesbian

    This book had a very interesting premise, but a very underwhelming execution. The author seemed to almost skip the worldbuilding entirely, making this book feel like the second book in a series. This story was very complex, but the author attempted to fit it into a very short book. The short aspect of this book made the relationship much less compelling. And the relationship being already established made this much less interesting. This book had a lot of potential, but simply missed the mark in This book had a very interesting premise, but a very underwhelming execution. The author seemed to almost skip the worldbuilding entirely, making this book feel like the second book in a series. This story was very complex, but the author attempted to fit it into a very short book. The short aspect of this book made the relationship much less compelling. And the relationship being already established made this much less interesting. This book had a lot of potential, but simply missed the mark in my opinion. Definitely still a good book, and a very quick read to anyone interested.

  7. 5 out of 5

    nefeli

    Thank you to NetGalley and Nyx Publishing and the author, Holly J. Underhill, for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review 3.5/5 ⭐ To start the review, let's take a moment to appreciate the cover!! Badass sapphics holding daggers and looking like they're going to kill you if you look at their wife.. I love it. Possibly one of the most beautiful covers I've seen! Now with the plot : In this novella, we follow Teagan as she goes into the Shadow Realm to find her wife, Cressi Thank you to NetGalley and Nyx Publishing and the author, Holly J. Underhill, for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review 3.5/5 ⭐ To start the review, let's take a moment to appreciate the cover!! Badass sapphics holding daggers and looking like they're going to kill you if you look at their wife.. I love it. Possibly one of the most beautiful covers I've seen! Now with the plot : In this novella, we follow Teagan as she goes into the Shadow Realm to find her wife, Cressidea. Teagan is almost dying because of a poisonous creature's attack. That is the reason Cress went to the Shadow Realm, to try and save her. According to the blurb: Teagan’s wife, Cressidae, is missing. She has left for the Shadow Realm, a kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares—and the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forgotten one very important thing: no one makes it out on their own. Despite the risks to her own safety, Teagan is determined to save her wife—and perhaps even herself in the process. The princess of the Shadow Realm, however, doesn’t let mortals roam her territories without opposition. In this thrilling fantasy novella, Teagan and Cressidae must face both the horrors of the Shadow Realm as well as their own past. "Past the Bone Way, Where the dead rest hungry Through the Sky of Lost Dreams Where souls wander forevermore Down the River of Sorrow, Where water drowns the mind Up the desolate Mountain, Where monsters roam the halls To the deathly palace Where the Shadow Princess waits within." I loved the plot. This book is supposed to be a sapphic retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice (at least that's what the reviews made me believe) and the inspiration there is clear. However, I wouldn't recommend picking "The Bone Way" expecting a strict retelling of the myth. The author brought their own unique spin to the story and I really liked it! I loved the different places and landscapes of the Shadow Realm and how they were described. The writing : This book was written very well,the mix of present day events and flashbacks was balanced. The flashbacks were very nice, though I would've loved to see more of Teagan's and Cress's everyday life. However, my only complaint was that I wish there was a more detailed description of the world buiding and the landscapes that the two of them where going through. The romance The cutest thing ever but at the same time really badass!! "I love my wife with every fibre of my body" trope at its greatest in this book. I loved how they both loved each other so much that they didn't mind crossing the entire Bone Way and reaching the Shadow Princess to save each other. Their love was unconditional 💗 Cress didn't hesitate going into the Bone Way alone in order to find a cure for her wife and Teagan would do anything i order to get back to her wife, even though her condition, and she was so nervous not even knowing if her wife is alive. It was a quite quick read-it is a novella after all-and it was simplistic. Yet, it did feel a little too short and I felt like the ending was a little rushed, like everything was resolved too easily. However, I really enjoyed the book and I'm sure I will read more of this author in the future!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    F/F Orpheus retelling?????? YES PLS

  9. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    When her wife Cressidae goes missing, Teagan immediately knows where she has gone. A kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares, the Shadow Realm is the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forgotten one very important thing: no one makes it out on their own. omg it's a f/f orpheus and eu When her wife Cressidae goes missing, Teagan immediately knows where she has gone. A kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares, the Shadow Realm is the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forgotten one very important thing: no one makes it out on their own. omg it's a f/f orpheus and eurydice retelling Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  10. 4 out of 5

    MZ

    This is a light retelling of Eurydice and Orpheus and I say light as this is the feel-good version. This novella has all the elements I like, a fantasy world with magic and dark realms and two women on a quest, conquering dangers on the way, all in the name of love, and look at that cover! I had fun with this debut novella, but there were also a couple of bumps on the road (pun intended). The worldbuilding was well done considering that this is a novella. You immediately fall into the story told This is a light retelling of Eurydice and Orpheus and I say light as this is the feel-good version. This novella has all the elements I like, a fantasy world with magic and dark realms and two women on a quest, conquering dangers on the way, all in the name of love, and look at that cover! I had fun with this debut novella, but there were also a couple of bumps on the road (pun intended). The worldbuilding was well done considering that this is a novella. You immediately fall into the story told from the POV of Teagan (the entire book is 3rd person 1 POV). Her wife Cressidae (Cress) has left her in search of the dark princess that rules the shadow realm. Teagan follows Cress into the dark realm and has to survive all kinds of dangers on the road to the dark princess. I always enjoy a book that immediately starts with some action and especially for novella’s this works very well. The thing that I found difficult though were the many flashbacks. There are flashbacks of the love story of Teagan and Cress and of the backstory of the dark Princess. While the love story was particularly sweet, the chaos of all the flashbacks made it almost impossible for me to get into the story. Also, the characters and the story feel a bit simplistic at points, especially the ending was a bit too easy. In summary, this was a fun novella and an interesting debut. I didn’t click with it completely, but I will keep an eye on this author for future work. I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    birdie

    i've come to the conclusion that my "rtc" was a lie. there's no review because there's no opinion. i ! don't ! have ! an ! opinion !! just no feelings at all when thinking of this book. so yeah, sad life. blog | bookstagram | twitter | more i've come to the conclusion that my "rtc" was a lie. there's no review because there's no opinion. i ! don't ! have ! an ! opinion !! just no feelings at all when thinking of this book. so yeah, sad life. blog | bookstagram | twitter | more

  12. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

    Happy release day!! I received an eARC of this novella from the publisher. All opinions are my own. Look, I am a very easy person to please when it comes to marketing books. If you mention something being sapphic, I am in. Add to that a myth retelling, and I am beyond sold on picking up a copy. When I saw the publisher and author posting about requesting an arc, I honestly could not pass up that opportunity. I was so excited when I got the email with a copy! The Bone Way by Holly J. Underhill is Happy release day!! I received an eARC of this novella from the publisher. All opinions are my own. Look, I am a very easy person to please when it comes to marketing books. If you mention something being sapphic, I am in. Add to that a myth retelling, and I am beyond sold on picking up a copy. When I saw the publisher and author posting about requesting an arc, I honestly could not pass up that opportunity. I was so excited when I got the email with a copy! The Bone Way by Holly J. Underhill is inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, but sapphic and with witches. The story starts with Teagan’s wife Cressidae going missing. She left Teagan to travel to the Shadow Realm where she is seeking a cure for a poison that has slowly been killing Teagan. Cressidae hopes to find the Shadow Princess who is rumored to help those who manage to find her after traveling through the dangerous realm. Teagan knows how perilous this is, so she leaves at once to find and help her wife. Being in the Shadow Realm forces Teagan to confront the danger she is in as well as her past. I feel like I always gravitate toward stories based on mythology. It is something I find incredibly intriguing. I love when authors take a general idea from mythology, folklore, etc. but completely make it their own thing. I am a sucker for these books especially when they are sapphic. Teagan and Cress were both well developed. I appreciate the time Underhill spent on this both for them as individual characters and in their relationship. They had an interesting dynamic, and their relationship seemed cute and sweet. It was also cool to see how they both had struggles and motivations that affected how the story played out. Underhill’s writing is really something to admire. The novella is excellently written with rich worldbuilding. I appreciated how natural this setup and development was though. The magic, Shadow Realm, and the different creatures in this world were brought to life. I loved that the author implemented a nonlinear timeline as well. This is one of my favorite narrative structures, so it was a nice surprise here. This timeline allowed the story to weave together the past and present. Not only that, but it also provided more insight into Teagan and Cressidae’s relationship as well as stories about the Shadow Princess. The Bone Way was exactly what I have been wanting to read! May was not my best reading month, so I felt a bit of a reading slump during that month and leading into June. I knew I wanted to read this book at the beginning of the month, and it seriously helped me so much! I felt motivated to read it and really ended up loving the story. Underhill does an amazing job with crafting this novella and creating an entertaining story. I highly recommend picking up a copy! *Content warnings from the author: death of a parent (in the past), terminal fantasy illness, mention of fantasy incarceration, harm to fantasy animals* Thank you to author and Nyx Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read and review this novella before its release on June 26, 2021.

  13. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    Rep: sapphic mcs Galley provided by publisher The Bone Way is a short and sweet novella, a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, but with a bit of a twist. It’s an easy read, one you can get through in a single sitting, but ultimately, it didn’t really stand out for me. Let me start with the positives. The story that the novella sets out to tell is basically the perfect story in terms of length, pacing, and so on. It cuts between the present and the past, giving you background for the characters along Rep: sapphic mcs Galley provided by publisher The Bone Way is a short and sweet novella, a retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, but with a bit of a twist. It’s an easy read, one you can get through in a single sitting, but ultimately, it didn’t really stand out for me. Let me start with the positives. The story that the novella sets out to tell is basically the perfect story in terms of length, pacing, and so on. It cuts between the present and the past, giving you background for the characters along the way, so you don’t feel like you’re being asked to care about them for no reason. It doesn’t try to tell too expansive a story, and leaves you satisfied with what it has told. In general, when I’m reading, I find myself struggling when a relationship is already established, but here I didn’t have that. I think it’s because what the book does well is give you enough of their backstory for you to root for them. And it probably also helps that you’re introduced to them in a moment where things aren’t all that peachey in their relationship. I think, then, what made me rate this book 3 stars and not higher was mainly that nothing about it really stood out to me. Yes, I enjoyed reading it, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t feel like I wanted more having finished it. So, for all that it was good, it was just missing a little something. But, on the whole, I think it was a very solid novella, and definitely one I would still recommend.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    A sapphic retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice is one thing - add witches and a world that wouldn't feel out of place in a Ghibli movie, and you've got me. The Bone Way is a short novella, but that didn't stop me getting all the way lost in this - the stakes are laid out clearly from the start, and I was invested. The rating reflects that; this is absolutely a rating for my personal experience. It was so close to a five-star read, but I do wish this had been longer - I wanted the flashbacks, but it A sapphic retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice is one thing - add witches and a world that wouldn't feel out of place in a Ghibli movie, and you've got me. The Bone Way is a short novella, but that didn't stop me getting all the way lost in this - the stakes are laid out clearly from the start, and I was invested. The rating reflects that; this is absolutely a rating for my personal experience. It was so close to a five-star read, but I do wish this had been longer - I wanted the flashbacks, but it did feel that some of the central journey was sacrificed to make room for them. I did love this though, and it's even more exciting that it's a debut. Hopefully there's more coming up from Wystira.

  15. 5 out of 5

    cossette

    i think i was just expecting ... more from a f/f orpheus/eurdydice retelling. i couldn't really connect with the characters either, and was disappointed by the ending. it wasn't a bad read at all, just not my cup of tea... i think i was just expecting ... more from a f/f orpheus/eurdydice retelling. i couldn't really connect with the characters either, and was disappointed by the ending. it wasn't a bad read at all, just not my cup of tea...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Althea

    The Bone Way is my second sapphic retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice over the past year and it's definitely my favourite of the two! Holly Underhill's writing is so beautiful and atmospheric and it's one of the rare fantasy novellas that I've read where I can picture everything so clearly while reading it! And, despite the turmoil I went through while reading this novella, I actually really enjoyed that you never really knew if the story was going to end happily or in tears. I know a The Bone Way is my second sapphic retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice over the past year and it's definitely my favourite of the two! Holly Underhill's writing is so beautiful and atmospheric and it's one of the rare fantasy novellas that I've read where I can picture everything so clearly while reading it! And, despite the turmoil I went through while reading this novella, I actually really enjoyed that you never really knew if the story was going to end happily or in tears. I know a lot of reviewers didn't like the flashbacks or the fact that Cress and Teagan's relationship was formed prior to the beginning of the book, but I actually really liked that. I read far too few sapphic books that feature an established relationship at the opening of the novel, and it really was a breath of fresh air! I also think that the novella really just wouldn't have worked as well had the flashbacks not been there, though I do understand why some readers just don't get along with them in general (I know I don't at the best of times!). Overall, I really really enjoyed this, though, and it's probably one of the best retellings I've read in a wee while! I'm really looking forward to seeing what Holly J. Underhill releases in the future! Thanks to Nyx Publishing for an eARC in return for an honest review!

  17. 4 out of 5

    gauri

    2.5 stars I saw the cover and the synopsis that said f/f retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice and immediately wanted to read The Bone Way. I like that this is a novella, the story moves and wraps up smoothly. The worldbuilding, setting and the creatures were crafted smartly. Teagan and Cress's already established relationship was sweet, though I wish we'd gotten more of their interactions during the flashbacks. It did fall short for me. Nothing really stood out in particular, I found myself wantin 2.5 stars I saw the cover and the synopsis that said f/f retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice and immediately wanted to read The Bone Way. I like that this is a novella, the story moves and wraps up smoothly. The worldbuilding, setting and the creatures were crafted smartly. Teagan and Cress's already established relationship was sweet, though I wish we'd gotten more of their interactions during the flashbacks. It did fall short for me. Nothing really stood out in particular, I found myself wanting the Shadow Princess to be given more depth, the worldbuilding to be explored more and the ending was underwhelming. Thank you Nyx Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. "Past the Bone Way, Where the dead rest hungry Through the Sky of Lost Dreams Where souls wander forevermore Down the River of Sorrow, Where water drowns the mind Up the desolate Mountain, Where monsters roam the halls To the deathly palace Where the Shadow Princess waits within." Taegan has a perilous journey ahead of her. It is one she was reluctant to make but now her wife, Cressidae, has set out on it ahead of her, leaving her forced to hurry on behind. The journey ends as sh Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. "Past the Bone Way, Where the dead rest hungry Through the Sky of Lost Dreams Where souls wander forevermore Down the River of Sorrow, Where water drowns the mind Up the desolate Mountain, Where monsters roam the halls To the deathly palace Where the Shadow Princess waits within." Taegan has a perilous journey ahead of her. It is one she was reluctant to make but now her wife, Cressidae, has set out on it ahead of her, leaving her forced to hurry on behind. The journey ends as she entered Shadow Princess' castle and, hopefully, Taegen can plead for her life there. The issue is that but no one has seen the Shadow Princess for generations. At least, none who have returned and lived to tell the tale. It may well be more than one life that Taegan now has to bargain for. This was a very clever and unique retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth. I have not read the original but am well versed with its story. The morals and harrowing outcome of the original infused this retelling with an extra melancholic air, which was further fuelled by its juxtaposition to the purity of the characters. Teagan and Cressidea's relationship was such a sweet and innocent one. I wanted longer to get to know the two women as individuals, as well as witnessing more scenes of their life together. Their love was one that brought a silly smile to my face after even the scantest of descriptions. The only negative comment I have to make about this book, overall, is that it was far too short for the story it contained and it was not just the characters that I desired more from. Their journey involved a number of trials set in each of the Shadow Princess' realms. I could have spent a book's length in each one, so vivid was their construction and so intriguing was all that occurred there. Underhill left me feeling haunted after every harrowing encounter and showed a real knack for imbuing a gloomy and Gothic atmosphere within such a short number of pages. I'm very excited to see what other worlds this author can conjure with her words. This book has already made me an eager fan and ensured I am willing to read anything and everything with the Underhill name to it. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Holly J. Underhill, and the publisher, Nyx Publishing, for this opportunity.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    So this book was unfortunately one of the victims of my reading slump from last month. I started it, and with no fault of the books own my mind couldn't stay focused. But now that I've kicked the slump, I was looking forward to picking this one back up. And while I did like a lot of this book, I feel like it missed out on a fair bit too. This is a retelling of Eurydice and Orpheus but Sapphic and in a fantasy world. Teagan is trying to save her wife Cressidae, who entered the shadow realm alone So this book was unfortunately one of the victims of my reading slump from last month. I started it, and with no fault of the books own my mind couldn't stay focused. But now that I've kicked the slump, I was looking forward to picking this one back up. And while I did like a lot of this book, I feel like it missed out on a fair bit too. This is a retelling of Eurydice and Orpheus but Sapphic and in a fantasy world. Teagan is trying to save her wife Cressidae, who entered the shadow realm alone to try to make a deal with the Shadow Princess. But even getting to the through the realm is a challenge let alone getting a deal made. So I'll begin with what I like. I'm a big greek mythology fan- I devoured any mythology I could get as a child. And read the Illiad and Odyssey probably long before I should have. I joke sometimes that how was anyone surprised when I came out as trans when I was obsessed with Tiresias' life and story for years. And I also really enjoy retellings of these classic stories, whether they be movies like O Brother Where Art Thou or even books like Percy Jackson. And I really liked this interpretation of the story (and even the changing of the ending) I was very moved by the emotional story told here. And the fact it was queer is just *chefs kiss*. It's like this was catered to be something I would enjoy- and for the most part I did. What I didn't like as much was the length of this, and it brought several things I feel like could have been more easily resolved in a longer work. This is a novella, and it's fantasy and I just feel like the world Underhill built had a lot of potential but there were just a lot of elements that weren't as fleshed out and dynamic as might have been in a full length novel. Additionally, a lot of this book is told in flashbacks, and in a full length novel I'm not opposed to flashbacks at all to learn more about characters- but in a book of this length I feel like it just took away space where different elements could have been introduced into the fantasy world to give a more full scenario. Neither were fully fleshed out as well as I felt they could have been. There's a lot to like about this novella, I really liked the new interpretation of the story and the ideas it presented, I just wish the world had more depth to it. 3.5/5

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gabriella

    So much yes! I was pleasantly surprised by this sapphic fantasy novella. I knew nothing about Orpheus before starting this book, and after reading an Orpheus synopsis, I’d say that this is an extremely loose retelling and is very much its own thing. I adored the pre-established partnership at the center of the story. Though Teagan and Cress are already wives at the start, we do get some flashbacks to the beginning of their relationship, which I thought were well done. I loved Teagan, her soft he So much yes! I was pleasantly surprised by this sapphic fantasy novella. I knew nothing about Orpheus before starting this book, and after reading an Orpheus synopsis, I’d say that this is an extremely loose retelling and is very much its own thing. I adored the pre-established partnership at the center of the story. Though Teagan and Cress are already wives at the start, we do get some flashbacks to the beginning of their relationship, which I thought were well done. I loved Teagan, her soft heart and her insecurities and her regrets and her formidable love for her wife. I loved Cress, her hard-headedness and thirst for knowledge and her determination to save her wife at whatever the cost. Though other reviewers have said that a longer book would have done more justice to the characters, what we did get worked perfectly for me. I can’t really explain it, but I felt the love between these two and ached for them to be together against the odds. Aside from the main couple, I found this book engaging and well-written. The writing is readable and doesn’t use that stilted language that I vehemently dislike in fantasy books. And for such a short story, there’s also enough world building to make it easy for me to picture the world. This is one of the most vibrant, picturesque books I’ve read in a while, which I think speaks to the quality of the writing. The plot is also solid and it was hard to predict where the story was going — there was never a dull moment for me! In short, I loved this novella and am looking forward to more from Holly J. Underhill! content warnings: death of a parent (past), guilt, poisoning (from animal bite) I received an ARC from Nyx Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Trisha Tomy

    I received a free e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! This is 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3. I was really expecting to like this a lot more than I actually ended up doing. There were a number of things that went wrong for me, but the first and foremost is definitely the length, or rather the inefficient use of the length of the book. This book is really short, honestly it's more a prequel novella length more than a book. Which is what caused most of the problems in this book. I fe I received a free e-ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! This is 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3. I was really expecting to like this a lot more than I actually ended up doing. There were a number of things that went wrong for me, but the first and foremost is definitely the length, or rather the inefficient use of the length of the book. This book is really short, honestly it's more a prequel novella length more than a book. Which is what caused most of the problems in this book. I felt like we were just thrown into the story with no warning, no knowledge of what was going on, and information was introduced mostly as an afterthought, or at least it felt like it. The knowledge that Teagan was part of the reason Cressidae disappeared felt like an afterthought, and while that writing style with slowly revealing information is amazing, it did not work for this because of its very short length. I would have liked more setup for the book rather than the superfast plot we were thrown into, which brings me to my next point: this really reads like it's a spinoff novella of a series, the kind of story where from the main series, there would be like a scene where the characters would go, 'oh you remember when I rescued you from the Shadow Princess? those were good times.' and they would never explain completely what happened, and this novella would be our explanation. That is what this felt like. Like our world was already explored, our characters already given back stories and character arcs, and this would be a short exploration of what seemed like a passing detail in the main series. Which is why I feel this has definite scope for expansion. I feel like the author could now go on and write a good series in this world, which I would love to read if it were ever written, and I would love for Cressidae and Teagan to be at least side characters, if not the main ones themselves. Which brings me to my next point: the characters themselves were not very well developed somehow, I could never really get them, and some of the scenes really felt like we were robbed of content, like the reunion. I don't know, I wanted some kind of excitement, some feeling of love and happiness, but it was such a subdued affair that I ended up feeling underwhelmed. Which brings me to my next point (I love how I'm doing this, sorry if this is irritating though): the Shadow Princess was such an underwhelming character, if not an underwhelming villain. She was so comic book villain-y, and when I say comic book I don't mean comic books, I mean comically underwhelming. I could never take her seriously, and all her threats would make me either laugh or look at her with incredulity at her immaturity. I wanted more development from the Shadow Princess, more insight into why she became the way she did, and preferably from her own POV rather than the villain monologue we got. I also had a few issues with the writing of the romance in general, it felt very immature to me for some reason, and I used the words 'a newly starting out fanfic writer' in my status updates, and I mean them. I don't want to be too negative, but the wording felt like it was very cringey in places, and never really immersed me into the romance or made me swoon even a bit. The timeline for this threw me off a lot. I never got the feeling that this whole book took more than two days at most to cover, but canonically this took like a week. All the action scenes, while nicely written, could have been a bit longer and more explored, and somehow just more feeling-invoking? I don't know how exactly to say this, but I just didn't feel it. On the whole, while an intriguing read, I didn't completely love this, and felt like its full potential wasn't reached. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a short escape into a beautiful world, with an established romance, and badass leads.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amy (libraryofamy)

    Thank you to Nyx Publishing for sending me an ARC! The Bone Way is a great novella! It was an interesting mix of quiet, whimsical fantasy paired with dark, epic fantasy. This book is marketed as a sapphic retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, and though there the inspiration is clear I wouldn't recommend picking The Bone Way up expecting a strict retelling of the myth. The author brought their own unique spin to the story that I thought worked really well. I really enjoyed how this book was writt Thank you to Nyx Publishing for sending me an ARC! The Bone Way is a great novella! It was an interesting mix of quiet, whimsical fantasy paired with dark, epic fantasy. This book is marketed as a sapphic retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice, and though there the inspiration is clear I wouldn't recommend picking The Bone Way up expecting a strict retelling of the myth. The author brought their own unique spin to the story that I thought worked really well. I really enjoyed how this book was written and thought that the present-day events and flashbacks were balanced nicely. I also loved how dark and creepy the Shadow Realm was, mixed with the joyful whimsy of the main characters' life together. I wish we had more time to see Cress and Teagan in their everyday world, it seemed so cute and cozy. I also really enjoyed the themes of grief, healing, and existential dread. Just the perfect tone for a book released in 2021. My only real problem with The Bone Way--and I find that I have this problem with almost every SFF novella I read, so its probably just me being nit-picky--is that there wasn't enough detail in some parts of the story. Of course, a novella leaves an author with very little time to tell a story, and so it only makes sense that some aspects will be less detailed than others. I was okay with a flimsy description of the city in the Shadow Realm and why it existed, but I was less okay with the villain whose motivations were unknown for most of the book. When her motivations were finally (sort of?) revealed it fell a bit flat. The main characters had too easy of a time escaping the villain's clutches and it felt a little bit lame at the end, leaving me feeling just a little bit underwhelmed with the story upon finishing it. Regardless, I still enjoyed The Bone Way a lot and I think so many people are going to love this story. The relationship between the two main characters is very sweet and its refreshing to see a sapphic story have a happy ending. I wish this book was longer only so I could explore this world more! Here's to hoping Holly J. Underhill writes more stories in this universe. The Bone Way releases June 26th, 2021. Please pick it up if you're interested, it's so lovely!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    Haunting, romantic and touching, The Bone Way tells the story of Teagan who travels to the underworld in search of her missing wife, Cress. There she must battle monsters both literal and figurative, and gain help from unexpexted places in order to save them both. This book has a lot to live up to as it's marketed as a sapphic Orpheus and Euridyce retelling, which for me set very high expectations. It's a very sweet retelling about two women who love each other trying to find their way back to o Haunting, romantic and touching, The Bone Way tells the story of Teagan who travels to the underworld in search of her missing wife, Cress. There she must battle monsters both literal and figurative, and gain help from unexpexted places in order to save them both. This book has a lot to live up to as it's marketed as a sapphic Orpheus and Euridyce retelling, which for me set very high expectations. It's a very sweet retelling about two women who love each other trying to find their way back to one another, I loved the exploration of what Teagan and Cress meant to each other and how they helped bring out the best in the other. The setting of the underworld was so haunting and atmospheric and the myth of the shadow princess, the ruler of the underworld, was also really cool - I always love a vengeful woman antagonist. However I did think the conflict was resolved very easily, but I think this comes from the novella format, things happen very fast and I would have liked a bit more time to explore a lot of elements as the premise was so fascinating. In conclusion a great novella to read when you need something easy to read but will also make you feel like you believe in love again. And you can never go wrong with wholesome married sapphics uwu thank you to Nyx publishing for providing me with an ARC review copy, this in no way affects my opinions

  24. 5 out of 5

    Holly J. Underhill

    Hi, I wrote this little book and I'm really proud of it! Now that ARCs have gone out, I wanted to share the content warnings for The Bone Way, which are also up on my website. - death of parent (in the past) - terminal (fantasy) illness - mention of (fantasy) incarceration - harm to (fantasy) animals It has heavy themes of grief and death, but it's also very hopeful and romantic. :) Hi, I wrote this little book and I'm really proud of it! Now that ARCs have gone out, I wanted to share the content warnings for The Bone Way, which are also up on my website. - death of parent (in the past) - terminal (fantasy) illness - mention of (fantasy) incarceration - harm to (fantasy) animals It has heavy themes of grief and death, but it's also very hopeful and romantic. :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    jocelyn

    sapphic orpheus and eurydice retelling—IM SCREAMING

  26. 4 out of 5

    liz

    I received an eARC of this book from Nyx Publishing. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 4 stars A sapphic retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice? With witches? Who are also wives? Could this book be even more perfect. I really liked this novella! It follows Teagan's journey into the Shadow Realm. She has to go through several awful and dangerous places to get to the Shadow Princess to make a deal to save her life from a lethal poison that's slowly killing her. She was supposed to g I received an eARC of this book from Nyx Publishing. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. 4 stars A sapphic retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice? With witches? Who are also wives? Could this book be even more perfect. I really liked this novella! It follows Teagan's journey into the Shadow Realm. She has to go through several awful and dangerous places to get to the Shadow Princess to make a deal to save her life from a lethal poison that's slowly killing her. She was supposed to go on this journey with her wife, Cressidae. But being the stubborn woman she is, Cressidae decide to leave before Teagan in the hope she'd manage to save her wife on her own. But no one makes it out of the Shadow Realm on their own. I loved all the different places and landscapes of the Shadow Realm, not only are there dangerous creatures but the land itself is made to hurt and kill anyone who would dare set foot in the realm. But the determination of a woman in love who misses her wife is stronger than anything. Teagan and Cressidae were so cute. The flashbacks were so nice to discover more of their relationship and love. And I always get super emo when women are called wives. Like yes these women are gay, and in love, and MARRIED.

  27. 4 out of 5

    I can't read straight

    I am having a very hard time rating this book. When it comes to novellas reviewing is tricky because it's nearly impossible to create and expand the world, the story and the characters in a neat and well-rounded way in 100 pages. The Bone Way succeded for 95% of the book, I was really astounded by how the author managed to create a whole world with a few simple descriptions. Teagan was a really good Orpheus, we get a few glimpses into her life, her love story with Cressidae, her past, her family I am having a very hard time rating this book. When it comes to novellas reviewing is tricky because it's nearly impossible to create and expand the world, the story and the characters in a neat and well-rounded way in 100 pages. The Bone Way succeded for 95% of the book, I was really astounded by how the author managed to create a whole world with a few simple descriptions. Teagan was a really good Orpheus, we get a few glimpses into her life, her love story with Cressidae, her past, her family all while her cross of the Shadow Realm. Cressidae, is definitely more assertive than the greek Eurydice but has inevitably just as much space in the story. What really made the rating drop was the ending. It was really a shame this wasn't a longer book because it had all the elements to be an amazing fantasy but the lack of space for development really showed through the final chapters. The final confrontation with the queen was grotesque and could be summarized with "You shall not leave"/"Please, you promised"/"Ok, fine, go". It really made the whole journey bizarre and left me a bit with the bitter feeling of a missed opportunity.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pia

    Thank you to NetGalley and Nyx Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review First of all, this cover? Badass sapphics holding daggers and looking like they're going to kill you if you look at their wife funny? I am here for it. You can read a more detailed review over on my blog The story is supposed to be (or at least that is what the reviews on here made me believe) a re-telling of Eurydice and Orpheus, however, it did not feel like it. I suppose it is more of an Thank you to NetGalley and Nyx Publishing for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review First of all, this cover? Badass sapphics holding daggers and looking like they're going to kill you if you look at their wife funny? I am here for it. You can read a more detailed review over on my blog The story is supposed to be (or at least that is what the reviews on here made me believe) a re-telling of Eurydice and Orpheus, however, it did not feel like it. I suppose it is more of an imagining of the Greek Myth or more of the myth's formula put into a different setting. I saw another reviewer talking about how this novella could be translated into a Ghibli film and after reading it I could not agree more. It is a quite quick read--it is a novella after all--and it is simplistic. I really liked the "I love my wife with every fibre of my body" trope this piece exudes. However, I did not really feel any emotional connection with the characters (which is odd because I always get attached way too much to fictional characters) and I was not the biggest fan of how the ending was so quickly resolved. ~ 3 stars

  29. 5 out of 5

    atlas ♡

    In this novella we follow Teagan as she goes into the Shadow Realm to find her wife, Cressidea. Teagan herself is almost dying because of a poisonous creature's attack. Cress went to the Shadow Realm to try and save her. It's a beautiful story of love and how it prevails above all else I absolutely adored the romance! They really do love each other and you can easily tell that. This is a pretty quick and easy read. It's still very enjoyable despite it's shortness. This was written very well, a ba In this novella we follow Teagan as she goes into the Shadow Realm to find her wife, Cressidea. Teagan herself is almost dying because of a poisonous creature's attack. Cress went to the Shadow Realm to try and save her. It's a beautiful story of love and how it prevails above all else I absolutely adored the romance! They really do love each other and you can easily tell that. This is a pretty quick and easy read. It's still very enjoyable despite it's shortness. This was written very well, a balanced mix of present day events and flashbacks. The flashbacks were very cute and I would've loved to see more of Teagan's and Cress's everyday life. My only "complaint" is that this could've been longer and fleshed out more. This isn't unusual with novellas. There are a few places where I wished we could've gotten more details. Overall, I definitely recommend to anyone who wants a short, sapphic, fantasy read! Thank you to Netgalley and Nyx Publishing for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    rose ✨

    “she’d become the monster she’d defeated in the forest when she was a young woman.” the bone way was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021, so it’s safe to say that i was disappointed. maybe my expectations are to blame: i went in expecting a sapphic retelling of orpheus and eurydice and instead i got a very, very loose reimagining with a witchy cottagecore aesthetic. i love the premise, but the story itself left a lot to be desired. teagan is already dying when she follows her wife, cre “she’d become the monster she’d defeated in the forest when she was a young woman.” the bone way was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021, so it’s safe to say that i was disappointed. maybe my expectations are to blame: i went in expecting a sapphic retelling of orpheus and eurydice and instead i got a very, very loose reimagining with a witchy cottagecore aesthetic. i love the premise, but the story itself left a lot to be desired. teagan is already dying when she follows her wife, cressidae, into the shadow realm, where cress has gone to make a deal with the shadow princess for teagan’s life. teagan’s journey should have been the focus of the book—especially considering how short this one is—but it’s constantly interrupted by oddly-placed flashbacks and asides, almost none of which were necessary. nothing is exactly as it seems in the shadow princess’s realm, and i wish underhill had spent more time exploring teagan and cress’s relationship in that context. instead it all felt very low-stakes. i really struggled to finish this one despite its brevity. i didn’t connect with the characters or their romance, the writing (particularly the dialogue) felt stilted, and the conclusion was… unsatisfying, to say the least. how are you going to call your story an orpheus and eurydice retelling without music or a tragic ending? i received an arc from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. rating: 1.5/5 stars

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