Bone Driven by Hailey Edwards (The Foundling Series #2)

Second in the Foundling series, Bone Driven picks up about a week after the violent and emotional finale of Bayou Born. There isn’t any kind of leisurely intro and if you haven’t read the first book, there’s no way you’ll get all the nuances of this one. Even if you have, initially there’s still that slight feeling of being lost, though that might be because I read the first book last year. After glancing at the initial page, I put the book right down and did a mini recap for myself so I could I got properly into it. And boy, did I ever. I love this Coterie and despite a few quibbles, I am all in to this series.

Bayou Born was all about discovery as a small-town cop, Luce Boudreau, finds out just why she’s always been different. Now come the consequences. Trapped between two worlds, she struggles to do what she has to to survive, whilst keeping her newfound secrets from those she loves, especially once a new arson/murder case brings everything crashing together. What Hailey Edwards does so well here is this tension between human and supernatural worlds, and how that affects Luce and those around her. Edwards puts just as much effort and imagination into her normal, human characters as she does the demons. Luce’s cop partner, Rixton is a gem, with the kind of humour and quotable lines that had me highlighting like crazy and laughing out loud. And I don’t mean like when you text ‘lol’ but in reality you’re just sitting there with a slight smile, I mean the kind when you have to put the book down for a moment while you laugh to yourself, then read it again because you want to make sure it’s as funny as you thought- and it is. Their history and the work they do together is increasingly strained, and stained, by the lies Luce has to tell, and the resulting conflicts are rendered painfully real. Luce has such deep connections to her family and her community that when they are put under pressure by her new responsibilities, it wrenches the heart. Likewise, the individual fears of each Coterie member are gradually revealed in these delicate, personal scenes full of hope and trust that feel genuinely moving. Luce has so much to learn about her new position, but she tries so hard to give her Coterie what they need, whilst learning to take the support they offer. Even if she didn’t have a completely kickass personality and a serious dose of snark, you’d still have to respect her strength, loyalty, and honour. Her fight to remain herself, Luce, and not world-destroying demon, Conquest, is easy to get behind as a reader and as it is increasingly threatened by outside forces, which grow ever more powerful and dangerous, she’s going to have to see just how close she can get to the monster inside her before it all goes to hell…

My main quibble centres around the interaction between Luce and Cole. This may say more about me than anything else but I do not like the type of crowding and unnecessary leaning over Luce that happens in some scenes, the invasion of personal space, the physical trapping of one body by another makes me squirm. It doesn’t happen throughout, mostly just at the beginning, but there’s just something in it that makes me think: nope. That’s not love or protection, that’s creepy. It’s something that happens a lot in this type of book and though I see why authors use it, as some kind of enticing display of strength, but it’s the type of toxic power play I just can’t get behind. There are, at least, deeper levels here, as it represents an overturning of their relationship in previous incarnations, where Conquest literally chained Cole into a subordinate, desperate position, trapping him in every way someone can be. That would get an equal rejection from me, either which way, it’s wrong. Thankfully, one of the main transitions of this book is the move towards more positive body contact and physical expression between Luce and the Coterie, as well as others- so much so that I felt the tenseness fade away. Now that I’m writing this, I’m wondering if Hailey Edwards did this on purpose and if she did, she’s even better a writer than I thought. There’s still some outrageously stalkerish behaviour by another male character as well as the usual overcrowding of supermen, which is typical for the genre, but there’s enough in this book to give these characters and relationships more validity than I’ve seen elsewhere. On top of that, it’s really fun, while retaining a true warmth that makes it stand out from the crowd.

An inventive and multifaceted world with serious heart and one hell of an emotional kick, this is a series that needs to be on your reading list. (But Thom is mine…)

ARC offered by the publisher via NetGalley

9/10 An inventive and multifaceted world with serious heart and one hell of an emotional kick

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