Tuesday, October 18

The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead

After the sudden, and surprise, ending of The Skin Map, I was curious how Lawhead would continue the series. Though The Skin Map was not my favorite work of his, I generally enjoy his novels. The Bone House mostly picks up close to where The Skin Map left off. I say mostly because when dealing with alternate universes and various times, some events begin to happen in a non-linear fashion.

Having reconnected with Wilhelmina, Kit searches for other elements of the Skin Map, hoping to find them before the Burley men find them. Wilhelmina aids him when possible, though she is careful to keep up work at a coffee house in one of the alternate dimensions. In that world she is close to some alchemists who have created a device capable of reading ley lines. Added to the cast is Arthur’s grandson, a man willing to do anything to recover the Skin Map and who serves as a second villain, after Burleigh.

As in The Skin Map, my favorite story thread was Wilhelmina’s. Though I sometimes question motivations, she also feels the most real. Once again, Kit seems to be an extremely passive person. He does things at the direction of others. Near the end of the book he travels through a ley line alone and ends up separated from his friends. I won’t say much more to avoid spoilers, but even when on his own his character still passively reacts to the environment.

At the beginning of the novel there appeared to be some continuity problems in the story line. Though they are resolved at the end, they still pulled me out of the story. I also struggled with the addition of Arthur’s grandson. While his character’s actions influenced events in The Skin Map (though he was not yet introduced), he seemed largely unnecessary to the story and didn’t seem significantly different from Burleigh to warrant adding a second villain. Also, his accomplice seems like the typical young, evil henchman who isn’t very intelligent.

I really enjoyed the way that some narratives began to weave together more. Though not always direct, the story of Arthur begins to weave itself with Kit and Wilhelmina’s story. There seemed to be a bit more mystery and intrigue to the story, though the sense of danger wasn’t always as high. Though the sequel wasn’t as strong as I hoped, it didn’t drag the story down.

3/5 stars

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