I am not quite sure what's going on with me lately, but I keep on having completely wrong exceptions of books. The Bracelet of Bones is no exception. Although I did read the blurb before requested the ARC, for some reason I kinda had in the back of my mind that this was a fantasy. Ok, so admittedly knowing my memory for names is bad at best, I should have known that I wouldn't necessary connect the right name with the right blurb. But see books come with covers, so I remembered the pretty cover was a story about a girl from Norway, during Viking times. Which it is! Since it was quite clear from the beginning that this is what Bracelet of Bones is about, I was sure I am reading a fantasy book. When I was about a third in, I had the suspicion that I might be wrong and read the blurb. So long story short. This is not a fantasy but a historical novel.
It's an epic story about friendships, clash of religions, coming of age and fathers-and-daughters. The best part about this is definitely the way the story is told. Crossley-Holland knows how to tell an epic story. Though this isn't told over thousands of pages, no it's in a average sized book. Still in this relatively short span, Crossley-Holland brings across many subject and brings many thoughts to mind.
While this is a great journey, with many adventures, the novel is somewhat slow paced, not boring, but more reflective. So very much my kinda thing; I was enchanted by the prose and enjoyed the story, but mostly loved the thoughtful and subtle aspects of the novel.
The plot is interesting, but possibly my least favorite bit of the story. The entire way it was written, while I thoroughly enjoyed it, made this somewhat slow. Let me warn you this is not a sugar-glossed version of the past, no it's rather realistic. So it's not only not your HEA but be prepared for heartbreak and sorrow, but also for loss. The plot lets you quiver between despair and hope, which I guess is to a great credit to the writing of Crossley-Holland. But also no doubt due to the wonderful character building.
At the beginning of the book is an inventory of character names and who they were. It's several pages long and holds many unfamiliar names. Can you imagine how worried I was? See me, mrs. crapy-name-memory, staring at the list in utter despair? Well, though at time I had to concentrate on who was who, not once did I go back to check who I was dealing with. So yes, there are a rather big amount of characters all with not exactly familiar names, but the character building is so well done, I feel like I know them. I know who is who- and most importantly I connected with them. And yes, I said them, because I connected with every one of them. This is told from Solveigh's POV, but I got to know most of the characters, the left impressions on me, and though I saw them through Solveigh's eyes, I cared for them (even the slightly more unpleasant ones) and felt like I knew who they were.
The world building is absolutely amazing. I know quite a bit about ancient history. I also am quite clued up on the Norse gods and their mythology. And I have traveled through some of the area's this is set. So I was pleasantly surprised to find things, I didn't know. In fact after finishing the novel, I dashed to our library checking out dates, names of hero's and brushing up on my history of that time. Then I hit google. Honestly Crossley-Holland did an amazing job at bringing the time to life.
A beautiful book, that inspires thought, bring the past to life and is full of subtle wisdom.