Review: Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks

Posted August 23, 2011 by Carmel in / 3 Comments

Title: Bone Dressing
Series: Bone Dressing #1
Author: Michelle I. Brooks
Publisher: Smashwords
Published: April 20th, 2011
My Copy: from publisher

Time is running out … the Dark that’s been chasing Syd for many lifetimes has finally caught up with her …

Sydney Roberdeau lost her parents as a young girl. Waiting for her life to start and the freedom that will come with her eighteenth birthday, Syd spends much of her time haunting the local cemetery. It is there, stretched out among the dead, that she feels most alive, most at home. Until one rainy night when Beau, Sarah and T.J. crash her ghostly sanctuary, appearing out of nowhere, turning her already inside-out world one degree past upside down.

Syd must now revisit past lives, dressing in the bodies of her previous selves … bone dressing. Her only chance to outrun the evil breathing down her neck is to face her own worst nightmares and her strongest desires. But if she can’t stay out of trouble in this life, how can she possibly fix mistakes from past lives? And just how many lives has she lived, loved and lost? What is Syd exactly, and what will she risk for the life of a man she doesn’t remember, the man she spent a lifetime with, the man she loves? Everything … including her very own life?

Bone Dressing, the first in a series of seven books, will carry Syd and Beau on an adventure that transcends life itself.

Michelle I. Brooks pursued me relentlessly in an attempt to get me to read/review her book. I’ll give her points for perseverance! She claimed that we have similar reading interests and argued that Bone Dressing was a perfect fit for me. Admittedly, I was reluctant and the back blurb is somewhat discouraging. It doesn’t do the contents justice whatsoever. The beginning of this book is a tad slow out of the gates in my opinion. The fact that this novel is nearly 400 pages in length was daunting. Luckily, I’m not one to leave things incomplete so I pushed through until the end and am I ever happy that I did! There’s nothing like a good ending to tie a story together and turn a so-so read into something special.

Sydney is a fantastic character. I liked her from the get-go. She has that no nonsense attitude that really appeals to me in a protagonist. Syd is witty, sarcastic, funny and is capable of overcoming any obstacle when she puts her mind to it. I especially enjoyed the multitude of similes that are peppered throughout this novel. They’re inventive and fun. This book is classified as Young Adult but its approach is darker than what I’ve come to expect out of this genre. Which is a good thing! Bone Dressing didn’t overplay the teenage drama card nor the dumb kid one. Sydney is mature and easy to relate to. Perhaps, in part, because of her life experiences. She hasn’t had it easy and that usually forces a person to grow up rather quickly.

The plot started off at a slower pace than I would have liked. When Beau, Sarah and T.J. meet Sydney in the graveyard for the first time I found that it dragged on quite a bit. I’m still kinda confused about T.J.’s role in the overall scheme of things as well. I mean, he doesn’t exactly blend in easily so how is it possible that he’s out and about but no one raises a fuss? I had a hard time with Syd’s transition from one lifetime to the next. There wasn’t much of a segue and when she jumps into someone else’s body I felt as though the stories weren’t linked in any way. A few flashbacks or internal monologues from Sydney’s perspective while she was bone dressing would have greatly helped to tie things together.

Fortunately for Bone Dressing there’s a yummy guy that serves as a nice distraction to the, at times, confusing story line. Beau is downright delectable! The revelation of his true identify and the ending manage to sweeten the deal quite a bit. That being said, it’s the conclusion that made all the difference for me. It literally knocked my rating of this book up by a star. The last few chapters really bring the story full circle. They do a great job of answering those pesky unexplained questions and also generate just enough interest to make me want to read the next installment.

Although this book was slow to start off, I immensely enjoyed Sydney as the main character and the ending was absolutely perfect. The synopsis does not paint a good picture of the story so when deciding if this book is for you; base your verdict on reviews instead. Bone Dressing is a much needed dark YA book that helps to balance the scales within a typically flaky genre. Syd is not your average teenager and for that I’m grateful. I’m looking forward to The Dreaming because I expect less of the tedious world building and more of the “good stuff”.

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I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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3 responses to “Review: Bone Dressing by Michelle I. Brooks

  1. That’s an interesting concept. I always have mixed reactions to past lives stories. I think it’s hard to pull off but I have to say this sounds intriguing.

  2. @Karen – I hear ya. It’s hard to nail this type of storyline. Michelle does a pretty good job though!

    @Hayley – Hmm… I haven’t read book 1 in the Halo series yet. Maybe if I win book two I’ll have to! 😉