ARC Review: The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

Posted September 4, 2021 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 2 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review:  The Bones of Ruin by Sarah RaughleyThe Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on September 7, 2021
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA Paranormal Romance
Pages: 496
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: four-stars
Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes & Noble


An African tightrope walker who can’t die gets embroiled in a secret society’s deadly gladiatorial tournament in this thrilling historical fantasy set in an alternate 1880s London, perfect for fans of The Last Magician and The Gilded Wolves.

As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…​

She cannot die. 

Haunted by her unnatural power and with no memories of her past, Iris is obsessed with discovering who she is. But that mission gets more complicated when she meets the dark and alluring Adam Temple, a member of a mysterious order called the Enlightenment Committee. Adam seems to know much more about her than he lets on, and he shares with her a terrifying revelation: the world is ending, and the Committee will decide who lives…and who doesn’t. 

To help them choose a leader for the upcoming apocalypse, the Committee is holding the Tournament of Freaks, a macabre competition made up of vicious fighters with fantastical abilities. Adam wants Iris to be his champion, and in return he promises her the one thing she wants most: the truth about who she really is. 

If Iris wants to learn about her shadowy past, she has no choice but to fight. But the further she gets in the grisly tournament, the more she begins to remember—and the more she wonders if the truth is something best left forgotten.

My Review:

So this is one I reached out to the publisher about because I love a good circus book! And while the whole story wasn’t set in a circus, it still had a great story to it. But boy was it long! In many ways it somewhat reminded me of The Hunger Games, in that there were champions chosen to participate in events, that would eventually lead to fighting to th death. And it was an elite group of rich people who chose their champion teams. But the story was really so much more than this.

There was a TON of things going on. The main character, Iris, didn’t remember much about her life before a certain moment in time. And so when a man shows up when the circus she works with is performing in London and says he can help her remember she is intrigued. Especially since just seeing him memories spark to life for her of meeting him when he was younger. This book includes ancient civilizations, people with freakish powers, mysterious societies, as well as a corrupt government and the evil doctors it has working and experimenting on the people who have these powers. There’s a bit of romance in it, but only so much as fits in with the action and adventure and backstabbing and fighting for their lives. The main character is a girl that only knows she may once have come from a colony/society in Africa that was discovered by the explorers during the 1800s. So not only does she have this power to deal with, but she is dealing with discrimination for both the color of her skin, as well as her gender, based on the time she is living in.

A heads up that we don’t get a conclusion or everything all wrapped up at the end. At least one main person from the elite society is left, and they really want to get Iris back. Not only that, the final chapter takes place in the US (in Kansas and a mention of MIssouri, where I live!) and it introduces two new characters to us. Although one of the, well the name will sound familiar from what has happened in the story. At almost 500 pages, it is a big read. A good one, but there were times maybe it was a little more to read than I was expecting. But based on the little snippet of the new characters at the end, I really hope there will be a sequel, because I want to see what happens next!

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