Thursday, April 15, 2021

2 Bloggers 1 Book - Near the Bone


So this time around Stormi and I tackled an author I really enjoy who just happens to be one she was giving one last chance.  We were both really excited to read Near the Bone and honestly, I think I was a tad disappointed and I know she was REALLY disappointed.   I even tried to convince her to DNF the book but she didn't listen.  And she usually DNF's so much more easily than I do.  So read on for my thoughts and then hop over to Stormi's @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! and read her review - I'm sure it will at least be entertaining!

TITLE: Near the Bone
AUTHOR: Christina Henry
PUBLISHER: Berkley Books
PUBLISHING DATE: April 13, 2021
PAGES: 336


A woman trapped on a mountain attempts to survive more than one kind of monster, in a dread-inducing horror novel from the national bestselling author Christina Henry. 
Mattie can't remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they're not alone after all. 
There's something in the woods that wasn't there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws. 
When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.

MY THOUGHTS: I really don't pay attention to trigger warnings.  I mean, I read horror so I've ran into them all at one point I'm either not phased or else cold and heartless (my money MIGHT be on that one).  But I do have to say, this book is not for everyone. There are strong depictions of domestic violence, rape and incest.

Mattie lives on a mountain with her much older husband, William.  He is very controlling and abusive and there is definitely a reason they live off the grid.  One day Mattie stumbles upon something odd going on in the woods (and is later beaten because of it which didn't start me out on a good foot).  As the story progresses, William and Matttie learn there is some kind of creature sharing their mountain and William, believing it is a demon God has sent for him destroy, sets out to kill it.  However, Mattie knows the unknown creature isn't the only monster on the mountain, and she is trying to figure out how to escape them both.

I did enjoy quite a few things about this book.  I love Henry's writing and everything flowed well.  And you know me, I also love my secluded, snowy settings (although they have really burned me lately so I may have to rethink that).  I really wanted to see Mattie succeed and the other characters Henry introduced were likable too.  Well, one was a bit annoying but he was written that way so it was no big deal.  And I have to give Henry credit.  I've ran into many unlikable characters during my reading journey but William crossed the unlikable category and went immediately to the hated-his-guts category. 

Another thing I have to add.  I taught domestic violence classes for over nine years and Henry nailed that element of the book.  The tactics William used to manipulate and isolate Mattie were classic DV 101.  And how everything he did effected Mattie was spot-on as well.  The scenes between the two weren't easy to read but on the other hand I really respect the time Henry put into creating them.

Now for the dislikes.  I honestly think this book is being marketed wrong. Everyone thinks it's primarily a horror novel but I would argue it's more of a domestic thriller with some supernatural aspects.  Dare I say I didn't get enough of the creature?  And the explanation for it at the end kind of angered me.  I wasn't pleased.  I actually picked this book up for the creature, not the crazy-ass fanatical wife-beater.  

And finally, I must ask this question.  Who the hell was Heather?  If you've read this and have an answer, please leave it in the comments.  I either really missed something or am not smart enough to pick up on some deeper meaning.  

If you want a hard-hitting domestic thriller, then look no further.  But just prepare yourself for the hard-hitting part.  



  1. Aw I was wondering about this ever since The Girl In Red. Henry impresses me as a writer even though I've only read one of her books. The creature part though- even though she did the DV stuff very well, sounds like, I think I'd be into this for the monster too, so if that's given a little short shrift I might be les inclined to dig this one. Still... :)

  2. I liked this more than you and WAY more than Stormi. But its still not my favorite Henry book. And I have to agree, I wanted more of the monster too. The Heather thing is a mystery, now that I think about it. There's a part where the author makes you think that Heather isn't real. Hmmm now that's going to bother me!

  3. I don't usually get bothered by horror or violence, but I feel it has to happen in service of the story. This one sounds like maybe it is all just a bit gratuitous.

  4. Darn! I hate when books have poor marketing... I've been curious about this one, but I was definitely thinking it was horror heavy. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. I would agree with this - I wanted more monster! But I still enjoyed the book just because the elements of human horror were written so much better. And you're too generous calling it an "explanation" at the end, lol! It explained nothing for me, I think that's the thing that disappointed me most.

  6. Well, I am glad that you liked it more than Stormi did. I really have liked the two books by Henry that I have read so I might have to give this one a try. I am not phased by much either.

  7. Who the hell was Heather? LOL. Thank you for the trigger warnings. I'm probably not in the mood for this one.