The Bone Way by Holly J. Underhill is a queer retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. In this novella, we follow as Teagan travels to the Shadow Kingdom to get her wife back.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
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 tale inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Teagan and Cressidae must face both the horrors of the Shadow Realm as well as their own past.
“Teagan of Lefora, the greatest pleasure you could have given me in life is choosing me as your wife.”
Firstly, can we talk about that gorgeous cover? Rarely do I start a review mentioning a cover but look at it. It is absolutely gorgeous. Much like the cover, this novella was beautiful. The descriptions of the world around them were well done, considering the lack of pages for it. I appreciated the back story that we received throughout Teagan’s journey to save her wife. There were, admittedly, moments where it felt like an info-dump, and this was jarring from the story. It was needed for the tale to make sense, but at times, it felt like too much all at once.
“Cressidae of Tyras, I always said I never wanted to get married, but then I met you.”
Teagan is a wonderful main character. We get a lot of her story and her grief in snippets as she journeys to save her wife. What I liked about this tale was the realism that even wonderful couples do still argue with one another. Teagan and Cress love each other, but they have moments of miscommunication and arguments. You can feel their love, even in these moments, and you are rooting from them from the get-go. I did find Cress occasionally frustrating with her strong-headedness. This is, however, just a factor of her personality, and not necessarily a fault.
“Once there was a girl born of starlight.”
I really enjoyed this retelling. The romance is sweet, the journey was interesting, and the ending was a solid wrap. I appreciated the fullness of this novella, as sometimes they leave things to be desired. I’ll be interested to read more from Underhill!
“Don’t you remember how thrilling it is to find that something and realize you’d do anything to keep it? Give me the chance to truly live, with the love of my life. Please.”
Thank you to Nyx publishing for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.