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Miscony is a dark world.
With murder-crazy dictators like Father Ivory and the Earl controlling the Nightshades, a scary force of soldiers, Miscony really can’t be any other way. It’s a world where a loving family gets punished simply because one of the children have a ‘demonic ability’ to heal and refused to just watch their father die, a world that does not seek compromise unless by force.
Malik is, in a sense, Miscony personified. Right from the start, he’s terribly ill, a loner with dark secrets, and, in spite of his best efforts, unable to participate in a barroom brawl that sets off a series of life changing events for himself and those in Miscony. Like Malik, Miscony is in need of healing and separation from its dark secrets and never ending violence. One could say it is fate, or Lightbringer finally coming forth, that pairs those children from above with Malik.
A wagon trip that should’ve been their death, becomes their vehicle of escape. As Malik and the children run from the corrupted leaders, they gather a force of wronged citizens more than willing to fight for what they’ve lost. On the other side, Malik’s ruthless former Captain takes charge, and the battle to begin a new age becomes even more personal. The question is not only, “Can the people of Miscony be freed?” but also, “Can Malik face and defeat his inner demons, the very same inner demons that plague Miscony as a whole?”
By page 44, the two upcoming paragraphs are exactly how I felt about ‘The Bone Sword’:
Four thoughts have consistently and honestly popped up in my mind. 1.) This is violent, and I like violent, so yay! 2.) Such beautiful description and pacing! I’m enjoying this. 3.) Hm. Maybe my opinion has been tainted by reading some reviews of his book before this, but he DOES have quite a few adverbs, and the evil characters do seem to just be evil without being multifaceted, save for Malik who isn’t really evil so much as…well, I can’t think of the word right now. 4.) I’ve noticed some sentences that seem like run-ons and qoutation marks in the wrong direction, but this hardly matters to the story.
I don’t think Walter wrote this with the intention for us to analyze his characters and settings and symbolism. So far, I think ‘The Bone Sword’ is closest to storytelling in its purest form, and that’s also a good thing. Sometimes, I just like to be told a good, fun, action-packed story and not the analysis.
I’d been enjoying the story, with its brevity and wonderful fighting scenes and clear-cut dialogue, from the get-go. However, I began to emotionally identify on page 81. I even bookmarked the page! The words, “He started running. He hadn’t stopped for nearly ten years,” really rang in my heart. Sure, Walter could have literally meant that Malik had never stopped running, but I saw that as meaning, ‘Malik, still lost and confused, didn’t know HOW to stop running from himself and his demons.’ After that, I looked at Malik differently. He became more than some loner protagonist and moved into the realm of real.
Walter is a master at pacing. His short sentences, the way he shows time passing when characters are sneaking about, the way he shows the methodology behind fighting when Malik is in battle…it all leads to an entertaining tale. While I wish I could’ve seen more of the big battle at the end, and I was a bit confused about some things concerning Malik’s former Captain (this may have been a result of me reading too fast in that silly way I always do when a book gets fun and intense and action-packed), I still smiled at the end before I closed the book.
If you want pure storytelling, lots of action, and brevity, please give ‘The Bone Sword’ a read!