The Boneless Mercies
A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life. When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies' one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

The Boneless Mercies Details

TitleThe Boneless Mercies
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
ISBN-139780374307066
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Retellings

The Boneless Mercies Review

  • شيماء ✨
    January 1, 1970
    “a dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory”? EXCUSE ME IT IS MY GOD GIVEN BISEXUAL RIGHT TO HAVE THIS BOOK RIGHT THIS SECOND
  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    This is so entirely atmospheric! It's the kind of book that you soak in, really, because it's here to absolutely enthral you with this gorgeously wrought world and deliciously described food...all centred around 4 badass girls who do "mercy" killings for the sick and dying. And, oh, for vengeance sometimes too because men suck. And OH yeah also some witches and some monsters. \_(ツ)_/ Basically they are badass assassins who are also actually kind of sweet.(Also I've only read Wink Poppy Midnight This is so entirely atmospheric! It's the kind of book that you soak in, really, because it's here to absolutely enthral you with this gorgeously wrought world and deliciously described food...all centred around 4 badass girls who do "mercy" killings for the sick and dying. And, oh, for vengeance sometimes too because men suck. And OH yeah also some witches and some monsters. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Basically they are badass assassins who are also actually kind of sweet.(Also I've only read Wink Poppy Midnight by this author, which was magical realism, so I WAS a little surprised this was epic fantasy. But in a good way!)I also really loved the Norse-inspired setting! YAY VIKINGS. We also have witches and magic and jarls and snow...so much snow everywhere. You totally get absorbed by the setting and how harsh and yet beautiful it is.So let's talk about our little band of Mercy killers, shall we?! I confess, big casts scare me a little and this hit us straight away with a group of 5....plus they meet SO many people along the way. I didn't get confused but I never really felt like I knew anyone? • Frey: She narrates and she's like the basic selfless Gryffindor. KILL ALL THE THINGS TO SAVE ALL THE PEOPLE. I admired her, but like...I didn't have my heart in my mouth at any point caring deeply for her? IDK.• Runa: She is the feisty one who has bitten and will bite again, just you watch. She's a bit contrary and I kinda loved her.• Ovie: She was quiet. That's all of it right there.• Juniper: OK OUR ACTUAL GORGEOUS SOFT SWEET TREASURE. She's a sea witch and actually the sweetest little thing. (Also my niece's name is Juniper?! SO I was doomed to love this sone.) She's the youngest and just ajkfldsa Juniper!!• Trigve: He's the sole boy in the group, so not a mercy killer, but they kind of just picked him up like a cute lost puppy and he follows them everywhere. He seemed to have a thing for Frey??? And also he is so so soft. I love books with soft boys.I have to admit the romance confused me. It...isn't? But I felt led on to believe on thing, but eh, it sort of flopped in a different fishy direction. (Also lowkey disappointed there was no sapphic rep here. I really was hoping for that.)It also feels like a peek through a window into a world you don't get to see the full scope of. Which is a style! I do appreciate it! It has this vast vast world and it is constantly throwing words at you, types of people, references different gods and countries and witches and wars and stories. And woahhhh mate. 0_0 I wish it had a map wow do I. I felt a bit lost with how BIG it was, but at the same time it felt so realistic. This is a full world, not just a few spatterings of a town and one or two people. (Also LOVED the Quicks! They felt like Robin Hood sort of people!)And it is full of witches and bones and sweet honeyed bread and curses and whippings and knives and axes and hangings and marshes and gold and triumph. Like it is literally a delicious feast for the eyes with the writing! It's so ethereal! I didn't really connect to the characters or felt I got to know them enough, is the only downside. AND THAT COVER THO. HOW GORGEOUS.
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  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    you know that feeling of when you're reading a book and things start happening and you're like "oh, i must be around a third through" and then actually the book's almost over, it was just super slow?that's what this book was like, except things never started happening. the book just ended.review to come / thanks to FSG for the ARC / 1.5 stars--------------me: i've never read beowulfthis book: i'm a dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female gloryme, suddenly: you know that feeling of when you're reading a book and things start happening and you're like "oh, i must be around a third through" and then actually the book's almost over, it was just super slow?that's what this book was like, except things never started happening. the book just ended.review to come / thanks to FSG for the ARC / 1.5 stars--------------me: i've never read beowulfthis book: i'm a dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female gloryme, suddenly: beowulf?? i love it. me, and the epic story beowulf? get along like peanut butter and jelly. best pals. big fan. love the Old English Epic of Beowulf
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  • Hannah Greendale
    January 1, 1970
    Four fierce young women work a dark trade. They are death for hire, mercy kills on call. Highly recommend this book to fans of Norse myth, The Hobbit, or winding sagas steeped in lore. Four Boneless Mercies stood at a crossroads near a hangman's tree.It was like something from a Vorse saga.In their hands they held four weapons, freshly ripped from the grave.I smiled.
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  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    It was okay enough! Mel 🖤🐺🐾
  • Lia °booksnpenguins°
    January 1, 1970
    Once upon a time, in the final days before Salt and Marsh Witch War, four Boneless Mercies turned their backs on the death trade, and went west, seeking immortality. This freaking book broke my heart in so many ways I don't even know where to start talking about it. Badass assassin girls are my weakness and The Boneless Mercies doesn't only have the bestest cast of characters I've ever read about, it's also gifted with an impressively tormented, impactful and visual writing. When I first read Once upon a time, in the final days before Salt and Marsh Witch War, four Boneless Mercies turned their backs on the death trade, and went west, seeking immortality. This freaking book broke my heart in so many ways I don't even know where to start talking about it. Badass assassin girls are my weakness and The Boneless Mercies doesn't only have the bestest cast of characters I've ever read about, it's also gifted with an impressively tormented, impactful and visual writing. When I first read the synopsis, I so wanted to like this book, yet I went into it very carefully because I almost expect it to be a flash in the pan that couldn't live up the hype that was created around it like it happens very often in cases like these. But guess what? This book is great, even way too great for its own hype.Frey, Runa, Ovie and Juniper (my fave❤️) are the plain example and the written proof that it's possible to have an all-female cast without the girls bitching, pitting and shaming one another. The sisterhood-y feelings, the bond between the girls, THE SEA WITCHES...if this book doesn't scream genuine and healthy feminism to you, I don't know what would. At this point, you'd think their male counterparts would be the mediocre and weak ones, but that's where you'd be wrong. Though less relevant, they're still important to the plot and the development of the MC's. And why not, even their own, even if the story doesn't revolve around them. There's honestly nothing -nothing!- bad or wrong I can say about this bunch of fictional people, and trust me, I wish I had because that would mean I didn't dream all of it. Yeah, I know I didn't. I just read it and I'm still holding the actual book in my hands like the fuming weapon it is, but you get what I mean. It's incredible. Too incredible. There's a mild hint of romance (if you can call it this way)in case you're asking, but it's so mild and hidden among the various friendship, women adoration and heart-wrenching plots and twists, even those who aren't particularly interested in the romantic side of a novel would truly appreciate. If romance is your everyday bread, well, you might end up starving a little but I promise you it's not a priority. April Genevieve Tucholke owns the English language like I own my inability to stop eating so many fries. She can create a mood and she surely can set up a freaking scene. That drug-induced ritual/mushroom scene in the woods??? Pure art. I still shiver thinking about it. She also seems immune to the need of writing Mary Sue characters in favor of creating complex, flawed and morally gray ones, and she's not afraid of exploring themes and dynamics only someone with undeniable talent would dare engage in.In case you didn't get the memo, I am in love with her writing. I wanna woo it and marry it under a started blue sky on a hot summer night. AGT's became a new absolute favorite and all it took her was something less then 340 pages and the courage to write what really was in her heart. I stan. Haaaard. TW: gore, lots of killing, drug use.PS: I shamelessly added my bookstagram pic at the top because I'm (again) shamelessly proud of how pretty it looks and even prouder to share with you all that gorgeous biker lady poster my adorable bestie sent my way! 😎
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  • Acqua
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThe Boneless Mercies is a genderbent Beowulf retelling and the third book I've read by April Genevieve Tucholke. I liked Wink Poppy Midnight for its weirdness and had mixed feelings on Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and this one might be my favorite one of the three.The Boneless Mercies is, at its heart, a story about friendships. Mostly about friendships between women, but there are some relevant m/f ones too - the only thing that this book lacks is a romance, and I really di 4.5 starsThe Boneless Mercies is a genderbent Beowulf retelling and the third book I've read by April Genevieve Tucholke. I liked Wink Poppy Midnight for its weirdness and had mixed feelings on Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and this one might be my favorite one of the three.The Boneless Mercies is, at its heart, a story about friendships. Mostly about friendships between women, but there are some relevant m/f ones too - the only thing that this book lacks is a romance, and I really did not miss it.Even in YA books that are supposedly about friendships, the romance almost always ends up overshadowing the friendships. Because in YA fiction, friendships are static and boring and one-dimensional, while romance gets the development.Not here.This is the only book I know that not only doesn't fall in the "this is just friendship" trap, but reverses it. When the main character is asked whether she's in a relationship with a guy, she answers that they're friends. And the other person answers "so it's deeper, then" (or something like that) and it was so beautiful to see. It's also a sex-positive story. There's no romance, but the main character sleeps with a man she's not in a relationship with, and again, I almost never see this in YA fiction.The Boneless Mercies is the story of four women looking for a future in a world in which they're forced to wander as outcasts. It's about striving for more while never belonging, about seeking glory. The main characters aren't forced to face peril by circumstances: they look for it. They find it, and they go through it together.I don't remember the last time I saw that in a YA book. Maybe I never did, especially not in a book with a mostly-female cast, and it was so refreshing. I hadn't realized how used I was to passive main characters.As I now expect from April Genevieve Tucholke, this book was beautifully written and atmospheric. It has the kind of writing that makes you feel the wind, the snow, the smell of saltwater; that makes you feel as if you're getting lost in the marshes too, as if you're wandering in the mist with the characters.Some described this book as slow-paced and incomplete, and I see why, but I don't think this story would have worked if it had been written like most YA fantasy books. It's creepy and bloody and dark, but it's mostly sad, and I think many didn't like that. But this is not a story about defeating a beast and falling in love in the process, this is a story about looking for your place in an unwelcoming, changing world, about the uncertainty of it all. The way it feels so distant and so close at the same time is exactly what made it feel like a myth and not just like another retelling that kept the bones of the story but not the heart of it.There's something nostalgic about it, and I think that's the way it should be.For something that felt very distant, it sure made me feel a lot of things. It's been a long while since a character death affected me this much, as I find most of them cop-outs. Also, the characters were great and I loved all of them:🐺 Frey, the narrator, a girl seeking glory in a world in which glory is a man's thing. I loved her a lot.🐺 Ovie, a warrior girl with a mysterious past. Probably the least developed of the five, but still great.🐺 Runa, an archer with a very abrasive side. She went through a lot, she just wants to leave. An awesome character.🐺 Juniper, Sea Witch, the youngest and most magical of the group. Deserves every good thing.🐺 Trigve, the only guy in the group, a Soft Boy between warrior girls.I didn't think this book was perfect - I thought that changing words like "Norse" to "Vorse" and "Valhalla" to "Holhalla" felt more cheesy than anything - but it was everything I wanted Sky in the Deep to be earlier this year, and I'm glad I found a book inspired by Norse mythology about female warriors I actually liked.I did kind of want this book to be gayer. Listen, there was so much sapphic subtext here, but as there was no romance at all, I'm not even mad it just remained subtext. Also, at some point the main character says she wouldn't be mad if Trigve decided to spend the night with a healer girl because she'd do the same thing and... I know, I wouldn't recommend this as a queer book as it's a blink-or-miss thing, but there's no heterosexual explanation for this. Frey is totally bi.
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  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    Four female mercenaries kicking butt and slaying monsters? I am in!
  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    This one just wasn't for me. :(
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    THE BONELESS MERCIES is a wonder, infused with the spare and melancholy magic of a heraldic ballad. It's the story of an all-women pack of paid mercy killers winding through a Norse-influenced fantasy world on their way to slaying the marauding Blue Vee Beast, thus earning fame, glory, and enough money to leave their old lives behind.But more than that it's about the world Tucholke creates, which sings with glimpses of mythology and history and plant lore and dead kings and lost goddesses and lo THE BONELESS MERCIES is a wonder, infused with the spare and melancholy magic of a heraldic ballad. It's the story of an all-women pack of paid mercy killers winding through a Norse-influenced fantasy world on their way to slaying the marauding Blue Vee Beast, thus earning fame, glory, and enough money to leave their old lives behind.But more than that it's about the world Tucholke creates, which sings with glimpses of mythology and history and plant lore and dead kings and lost goddesses and long-ago battles and people passed out of memory. It feels lived in and deeply magical. I LOVED it.
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  • TL
    January 1, 1970
    Characters: 4 starsWriting: 3 to 2.5 starsPlot 3 stars----What I loved:the atmosphere and the world the author built.The bond between the girls and Trigve.The Sea Witches home The mythology she creates, blending with some known ones.So-so's:I was interested enough to keep reading but at times I could feel my eyes glazing over and there were times I would look at the book and think Do I really want to pick this up .I did get bored and push myself through some of this... skim read some of it *shru Characters: 4 starsWriting: 3 to 2.5 starsPlot 3 stars----What I loved:the atmosphere and the world the author built.The bond between the girls and Trigve.The Sea Witches home The mythology she creates, blending with some known ones.So-so's:I was interested enough to keep reading but at times I could feel my eyes glazing over and there were times I would look at the book and think Do I really want to pick this up .I did get bored and push myself through some of this... skim read some of it *shrugs*Overall, a well done book but underwhelming for me.
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  • Susan Kennedy
    January 1, 1970
    I would give this one 4 solid stars. It was well written and I enjoyed the story. I also enjoyed the character development. I wasn't sure going in what this one would be like, but I was pleasantly surprised by the story and the characters. It was different and a bit dark, which I found pleasurable. This was a story full of adventure and with girls as the main characters. They were brave and strong and together they were a family even though they were as different as night and day. I enjoyed gett I would give this one 4 solid stars. It was well written and I enjoyed the story. I also enjoyed the character development. I wasn't sure going in what this one would be like, but I was pleasantly surprised by the story and the characters. It was different and a bit dark, which I found pleasurable. This was a story full of adventure and with girls as the main characters. They were brave and strong and together they were a family even though they were as different as night and day. I enjoyed getting to know each character and their histories. I felt the character development was well done and I grew more attached to them as their stories unfolded. I loved that they were all so different yet molded together into an incredible family circle. The author was great at developing these characters while keeping the story moving at a steady pace. The story was full of adventure and it never left you bored or waiting for more. It was always moving.This was really well done.
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  • ☆★Tinja★✮ A Court of Pizza and Laziness
    January 1, 1970
    3 Stars with some extra lil gold starsHmmm honestly I thought this could have been better. Some parts I loved but somehow it wasn't enough at all. I wanted 4 POVs. I wanted more charactarization. I wanted more action. I wanted to get spooked. I wanted more info. Just more of everything!Things I really loved- 4 girl killers- strong friendships and sisterhood 🖤 - no amnoying drama- almost no romance- no ridiculous girl-boy drama, there was actual friendship between boys and girls and such easy com 3 Stars with some extra lil gold starsHmmm honestly I thought this could have been better. Some parts I loved but somehow it wasn't enough at all. I wanted 4 POVs. I wanted more charactarization. I wanted more action. I wanted to get spooked. I wanted more info. Just more of everything!Things I really loved- 4 girl killers- strong friendships and sisterhood 🖤 - no amnoying drama- almost no romance- no ridiculous girl-boy drama, there was actual friendship between boys and girls and such easy companionship I wanted to jump around because I'm sick and tired that there has to be insane drama in every FUCKING BOOOOOOK- oh and monsterhunting
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  • Rae
    January 1, 1970
    So Soooo good!! Full review soon!
  • Elisa
    January 1, 1970
    It makes me kind of sad that I didn’t love this book — it features strong, independent women, and the cover is gorgeous. (What. That’s important)But despite how I may have liked the characters, the story is just... blah. The pacing is off, with scenes just blending into one another without any sort of definition; there is a fair amount of fast-forwarding in key scenes, and a little too much telling without showing. The world-building isn’t bad, but with the narration being so incredibly humdrum, It makes me kind of sad that I didn’t love this book — it features strong, independent women, and the cover is gorgeous. (What. That’s important)But despite how I may have liked the characters, the story is just... blah. The pacing is off, with scenes just blending into one another without any sort of definition; there is a fair amount of fast-forwarding in key scenes, and a little too much telling without showing. The world-building isn’t bad, but with the narration being so incredibly humdrum, it affects how much the scenes and the entire world actually come to life.The characters are interesting, distinct, and fairly remarkable in their own way — but they have to carry the whole story, and even with all their strengths... it’s just not enough. I really, really wanted to like this book. I had a hard time deciding how to rate it and bounced back and forth; but ultimately I realized that I don’t want to keep it and I am fairly certain I won’t want to re-read it, so that brings it down below 3 stars. So it’s 2 1/2 STARS for me, and I’m afraid I am not really inclined to recommend it, sadly.
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  • Amy (libraryofamy)
    January 1, 1970
    I am woman, wanderer, and warrior. This is not the end of my story. The Boneless Mercies is a standalone fantasy novel that is not only a gender-swapped retelling of Beowulf, but a completely unique and beautifully written story that is one of the best new releases I've read this year. I've seen little to no conversation about this book, which leads me to believe it is severely underrated and y'all are missing out by not picking this up.I adored The Boneless Mercies. It's beautifully written, p I am woman, wanderer, and warrior. This is not the end of my story. The Boneless Mercies is a standalone fantasy novel that is not only a gender-swapped retelling of Beowulf, but a completely unique and beautifully written story that is one of the best new releases I've read this year. I've seen little to no conversation about this book, which leads me to believe it is severely underrated and y'all are missing out by not picking this up.I adored The Boneless Mercies. It's beautifully written, perfectly plotted and paced, and I adored the characters. For a standalone fantasy novel thats only a little over 300 pages, I was blown away by the depth Tucholke was able to achieve so flawlessly when creating this story and world. Seriously, y'all, this book is beautiful.This is the first book I've ever annotated, and I am so glad the universe fated me to do it with this book. I have a ridiculous amount of tabs for so many different reasons, most of them being for beautifully written passages, incredible imagery, or moments that just spoke to my soul. I saw so much of myself in these characters; lonely, beautiful wanderers just looking for a purpose, looking for something more. I think it's something a lot of young adult readers can resonate with.The plot to this book was so unique and I absolutely loved it. I thought the ending was wrapped up perfectly. I was a little nervous that some things would fall to the wayside, but Tucholke managed to wrap it up at the very end in a way that was satisfying and believable. I liked that the ending was open enough for a potential sequel. I don't really think this book needs one, and I don't think the author actually plans to write one--as far as I know; but it's nice that she left it open enough for the reader to guess at what each character's future holds. I thought the pacing was lovely, and I actually loved that there was kind of two or three independent plots that occurred within the overarching story itself. It felt like a true epic journey novel, which was obviously the intention considering it's a Beowulf retelling. Now I have to go and read Beowulf, don't I...I guess my only complaint is that I wish it was longer! I wish I got even more of this world and these characters. I loved the magic system and how it didn't overpower the story, merely added to it. I loved how everything was so deeply connected to nature, and how freeing it felt to be lost in the pages while reading. I wish I could travel to Vorseland myself, if only to feel its chilling wind on my own skin. There was also a certain eerie element to it, especially in the middle of the book. I just loved the world so much and really hope Tucholke writes more books in this world, even if it isn't necessarily a sequel to this book.I was also pleasantly surprised by the lack of romance. The author could have very easily took it there, could have very easily made it a love triangle, but it was clear the main character did not need that to hold her own. If anything, it would detract from her story, and I loved that the author recognized that. I mean, of course I wished there was some more making out, who doesn't? But it was also super refreshing to see a band of female characters who literally don't ever need men for anything ever. I felt more sexual tension between the female characters then I did between them with the male characters, and I really wish that had got to be actually explored. But it's okay. Someday I'll get my lesbian warrior romance, just not today.And the characters. Wow, I enjoyed them so much. My bisexuality was alive and well in this book. I had a crush on nearly every character, especially the main character, Frey. The amount of times I tabbed and wrote "HOT!" next to something bad-ass she did is concerning. Every character was so interesting, and not only did they have a great dynamic throughout the story, but they all also had heartbreaking backstories that genuinely made me understand and care for them. I just want more of them! I want a standalone for every character, I want them all to be happy and beautiful and I want to follow them forever. Even the "evil" characters I really enjoyed and want more of. Now that I think of it, I seriously wonder if there will be sequel. UGH, the ending was so satisfying yet there is so much more that could happen. Please, April Genevieve Tucholke, GIVE ME MORE OF THESE CHARACTERS AND THIS WORLD AND THIS STORY!One more thing that I wanna talk about before I wrap this review up is how perfectly Tucholke wrote these female characters. They were the perfect blend of strong and bad-ass/warm and empathetic. I loved how they weren't afraid to be open, emotional, and affectionate with each other. Too often in fantasy (and maybe just all media in general nowadays) we equate "strong women" to these heartless, murderous girls who spit on everything feminine. Yeah, that's probably a turn-on for fake woke guys who mask their misogyny with some warped version of feminism, but there aren't any actual women out there like that. Women are beautiful, kind, compassionate, bad-ass, and take no shit. You don't have to be on a particular end of the spectrum to be a believable female character. A truly talented writer who cares enough to write a good female character will be able to give her some realistic depth without a hitch. I think this book achieves that perfectly with its female characters and I am just so grateful for it.Anyways, I'm so confused as to why no one's talking about this book! Actual strong female characters, little to no romance, magic, creepiness, adventure, nature... it's everything you could ask for in a fantasy novel, and you don't even need to invest yourself in a big series! It's all here! In 300 pages! And done really well!If the synopsis of this book sparks your interest at all, please pick this book up. Not only can you read it relatively fast but I just promise you it'll be worth your time. The Boneless Mercies is definitely added to my favorites list and I can see myself rereading it over and over again in the future. Please, please read it!
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  • A.G. Howard
    January 1, 1970
    I will read ANYTHING by April. Her world building and characterization are always spot on. And her prose is always lovely, thought-provoking, and sensorial without being purple.
  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    4 starsI really enjoyed this, and it's not just because of the two gorgeous covers this book has.This is definitely one of the better fantasies I've read, and it incorporates a lot of different aspects that makes this book really really cool. Like, if I wanted street cred, I'd say I read this book.The premise is just so awesome. A genderbent Beowulf? Like hello there please come and let me read you. It's about a group of female assassins who do the work that men aren't willing to do (truth) and 4 starsI really enjoyed this, and it's not just because of the two gorgeous covers this book has.This is definitely one of the better fantasies I've read, and it incorporates a lot of different aspects that makes this book really really cool. Like, if I wanted street cred, I'd say I read this book.The premise is just so awesome. A genderbent Beowulf? Like hello there please come and let me read you. It's about a group of female assassins who do the work that men aren't willing to do (truth) and mercy kill the old and the sick. And then they decide to renounce this job and instead monster hunt for glory (yes girls you work it) which leads them across different lands.Plus, it has something that I know is like an super big trend now, but it's got "Vorse" people aspects which I assume is the author's Norse/Vikingish inspired group of people. But what makes this book superior to the other bland Viking books is that it incorporates more than just Vorse (there are Sea Witches and Quicks and Mercies and all other types of peoples) and they're not! all! white!So yay +1 for diversity and being creative and devising this wonderful magical world with an awesome premise.Tucholke is such a skilled writer. You can see in the way she weaves the plot and hints at certain occurrences later in the book that she knows how to write and craft a good plot and a complex magical world.The story was left off with a bunch of potential for a sequel (please be a sequel please be a sequel) but also resolved this book's storyline. I think this is definitely one of the best resolutions that I've read in a fantasy novel before.The characters' immediate needs were wrapped up really well, but the world still has certain issues brewing between groups of people that has sequel potential. I think the plot was wonderfully structured and am really hoping for a sequel.The only issue I really had with this book was the intensity, which ended up affecting a lot of the book for me. The ending was wonderfully tense and intense and it grew more and more fierce as we kept reading, until it slowed down after the climax.But the first 2/3 of the book felt kind of one-tonal to me, as if the intensity was exactly the same throughout. It was like they had these trials and different happenings along the way to kill the Blue Vee monster, but it felt like the story didn't really oscillate between more and less intense for things like fight scenes vs. wandering.Tucholke does a really good job in setting up this fantasy world's system, and it never felt like she was infodumping us, but rather was easing us into this world. I think this definitely could have contributed to why the book felt a little one-tonal for the majority.But that doesn't discount the quality of the writing too much, and this could definitely be just me. I read the first half-ish on a plane and kept getting distracted, so that's definitely a possibility as to why I felt like I wasn't really invested in something I should have loved tremendously.I wanted to fall fiercely in love with characters and ships, but I eventually realized that's not Tucholke's writing style. The biggest hint is that it's a whole girl gang and they're heading towards near certain deaths, and that Tucholke's not really setting everyone up for their perfect ship pairing (i.e. it's not like the entire girl gang is getting matched up with a significant other).Overall, I did really enjoy reading (especially the last third) and found this to be a very well-written and well-crafted novel. This might not be the book to bring you your next best ship, but it's well-paced, luscious, and a fantasy I think a lot of people will read.It may be somewhat untraditional for the genre (no giant sweeping romance), but will definitely appeal to people looking to dive into fantasy.Thank you so much to Hashtag Reads from Simon & Schuster UK and Fierce Reads @ BookCon from Macmillan for providing me with (two!) advance reader's copies in exchange for an honest review!Blog | Instagram | Twitter
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  • Giulia
    January 1, 1970
    "They called us the Mercies, or sometimes the Boneless Mercies. They said we were shadows, ghosts, and if you touched our skin, we dissolved into smoke."TW: gore, deathUnpopular Opinion Time I guess 🐸☕This, to put it simply, did not work for me. There was no suspense whatsoever and everything got boring pretty quickly. The Boneless Mercies dragged and nothing exciting happened, tbh. The plot was just bland, which is really bizarre. This book is filled with death and gore and blood and murder, an "They called us the Mercies, or sometimes the Boneless Mercies. They said we were shadows, ghosts, and if you touched our skin, we dissolved into smoke."TW: gore, deathUnpopular Opinion Time I guess 🐸☕️This, to put it simply, did not work for me. There was no suspense whatsoever and everything got boring pretty quickly. The Boneless Mercies dragged and nothing exciting happened, tbh. The plot was just bland, which is really bizarre. This book is filled with death and gore and blood and murder, and yet. And yet I found myself bored throughout the book and I had to force myself to continue reading - and that’s never a good sign. Truth be told, there was nothing bad in the writing style. It was readable and enjoyable enough. It was just that the plot, the characters and the world building did not work. Basically, the writing style was one of the only - if not the only - positive point. I found interesting the whole theme of “mercy” killings but, alas, they were not addressed and were mainly brushed aside. I thought that was such a pity because a great discussion about morality, mortality and mercy could have arisen. But that was not the case and it was really a missed chance, in my opinion. Also because that would have been a very challenging topic to tackle and it would have been a nice change since the majority of the problems and their solutions were incredibly easy and convenient. Everything got sorted out a bit too easily and a bit too smoothly and I was not a fan of that because it did not give tension to the story. It also did not help the fact that the characters were two-dimensional in a way that was painful to read and witness. Like, they shared once their backstory and that was it. That is the whole characterization that you get. I mean. Characterisation…where? Who? Clearly, April Genevieve Tucholke doesn’t know her.All the characters were incredibly two-dimensional and just superficial. And their relations felt stale. Which, again, really is a pity because it could have been such a great example for platonic friendships and relationships, but no. Not happening. Jupiter prays and has blu-greenish hair - those are the only things we know, basically.Runa has long legs and arms, and is passionate. That’s it.Ovie is quiet. And almost literally nothing else. Trigve is a guy. Nothing more nothing less. His character was completely useless.Are those characters, I ask you? Because to me, they were not. Also, world building…where? Who? Again, clearly the author doesn’t know her as well.There was no world building whatsoever in my opinion. Names and places were dropped left and right but there was no culture, no reason why the world was the way it was, no charm. Absolutely nothing. Lots and lots of random mythologies that were not explained but if put together do a lot of pretty smoke. Yeah, no. I wanted something more special and unique. Something more accurate and concrete and real. Idk man, I was bitter.Also, everybody is heterosexual? C’MOOOOOON DUDE! Like, you’re telling me that there are no queer couples? Mmmm, okay. Sounds fake but okay 🙄So, overall. I wanted something cool instead a got a rather dull and boring read. Alas, I really enjoyed the Old English epic poem Beowulf and I hoped this book could do it justice, but I was wrong. This just simply did not work for me, unfortunately ¯\_(ツ)_/¯"Only fools want to be great. Only fools seek glory."
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  • Moa
    January 1, 1970
    Why are people rating a book that's not out for another year?? Add it to your To Read list if you wanna read it, don't go skewing the ratings.
  • Dani
    January 1, 1970
    The thing that really struck me about this book was how effortlessly the author portrayed non-sexual relationships and closeness. Characters were bonded and demonstrated their affection with physicality but it never read as sexual and I really enjoyed that! When characters did pair off romantically, it was clearly a different kind of affection, but it didn't diminish the power of their friendships.They called this book a gender-switched Beowulf, but I think that sells the story a little short. S The thing that really struck me about this book was how effortlessly the author portrayed non-sexual relationships and closeness. Characters were bonded and demonstrated their affection with physicality but it never read as sexual and I really enjoyed that! When characters did pair off romantically, it was clearly a different kind of affection, but it didn't diminish the power of their friendships.They called this book a gender-switched Beowulf, but I think that sells the story a little short. Spoiler! (view spoiler)[The author did a really good job humanizing the Grendel character, as well showing that conflict and war is rarely black and white. (hide spoiler)] This is a great book for fans of fantasy YA who like realistic female warriors.
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  • Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book about strong women and their friendships and ambitions and yes yes yes that’s what we need (RTC)I received a copy in exchange for an honest reviewThis review (when it comes lol) will also available on my blog
  • Corinna
    January 1, 1970
    I wish I could say I wrote this book! Something about this novel felt like home; it felt familar like an over-sized sweater in front of my fireplace in the middle of winter. The Boneless Mercies follows a troupe of four young women and one young man who travel a Nordic-based region and take payment to perform "mercy killings." They interact with Sea Witches, Marsh Witches, and an ancient monster attacking a jarl's lands. I loved the Nordic back-drop. It will forever be my jam. I loved that it wa I wish I could say I wrote this book! Something about this novel felt like home; it felt familar like an over-sized sweater in front of my fireplace in the middle of winter. The Boneless Mercies follows a troupe of four young women and one young man who travel a Nordic-based region and take payment to perform "mercy killings." They interact with Sea Witches, Marsh Witches, and an ancient monster attacking a jarl's lands. I loved the Nordic back-drop. It will forever be my jam. I loved that it was a stand-alone novel that left me wanting more. I loved that the author only gave partial backstories (if any) for a lot of the characters so the book still ended with an air of mystery, though enough information that the reader felt satisfaction. The use of Nordic terminology that was just slightly tweaked was a little odd: Obin, Vollholla, and other variations. Overall, highly recommend. I'd rate this book a PG-13 for violence and perilous situations, gore, and some sexual situations though nothing explicit. Points of controversy could include god worship, ritual magic, and what could be considered euthanasia.
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  • Fiona
    January 1, 1970
    I've been reading much less YA over the last year than I used to. Thankfully though, there's some amazing YA novels coming out, and when I do read it I've been lucky enough to find absolute gems. That held true with The Boneless Mercies, a retelling of Beowulf set in a Vorse (Viking + Norse) setting of snow and blood and the absolute bond of those who had to find their family. Frey and her band of Mercies are a travelling group, dispensing mercy killings to those able to pay for the release. It' I've been reading much less YA over the last year than I used to. Thankfully though, there's some amazing YA novels coming out, and when I do read it I've been lucky enough to find absolute gems. That held true with The Boneless Mercies, a retelling of Beowulf set in a Vorse (Viking + Norse) setting of snow and blood and the absolute bond of those who had to find their family. Frey and her band of Mercies are a travelling group, dispensing mercy killings to those able to pay for the release. It's a job only held by orphaned teenage girls in this world, and even as the novel started it was clearly weighing on the group. So when they hear of a chance for fame and glory if they can relieve a Northern jarldom of it's monster problem, they're all for it - and into adventure they hurl themselves, head first.The setting itself is a mildly skewed version of our own history, with a touch of magic. Viking + Norse is a pretty good summary - we've got longboats, trolls, skinfights and seers. I actually felt like the book was at it's strongest when it wasn't trying to show just how Norse it was, but it's a first novel and sometimes you've just got to build a world. And as it let the dreaded infodump be avoided, I'll be forgiving. The real strength of the book for me was in the characters - the bonds between them were so well portrayed. The differing friendships between each of them were so skillfully done, and it really meant that we learned so much from each character just by seeing what they were like with each different person. Obviously, female friendship taking such a centre stage is always a plus, but this was just brilliantly handled.It's a very strong start to the series. And let me just emphasise - while it's the first in a series it is a stand alone story in it's own right, and thank you to the author because it's so important for other authors to see how to write a fantastic and complete story that still has the reader excited to go on to the next. I know I am.
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  • Aaminah Ackerman
    January 1, 1970
    This book is based on such explicit Viking mythology, I'm surprised that it's labelled as fantasy and not historical fiction. And, I don't know, I found the twisting of Viking names a bit silly. Valkree instead of Valkyrie (omg, that Oneus song 😍); Obin instead of Odin, etc., etc.. And the Blue Vee Beast, which was an interesting concept, but a lot like the saga of Beowulf — except all-female! Speaking of which, the characters were interesting but pretty mundane. They stood out for a moment and This book is based on such explicit Viking mythology, I'm surprised that it's labelled as fantasy and not historical fiction. And, I don't know, I found the twisting of Viking names a bit silly. Valkree instead of Valkyrie (omg, that Oneus song 😍); Obin instead of Odin, etc., etc.. And the Blue Vee Beast, which was an interesting concept, but a lot like the saga of Beowulf — except all-female! Speaking of which, the characters were interesting but pretty mundane. They stood out for a moment and then sank back into the book, into the background. And I kid you not, I expected them to be in their late twenties, so was surprised when I learnt the oldest of them is twenty! (I know this is YA, I found it in the Teen Fiction Room, but have you heard the way they talk?!) Bottom line: this book gets two stars from me, but according to GR, that means it was okay. Nothing close to dislike. I liked it, but in an okay way?? If you know what I mean??Except one question remains. Why were they called the Boneless Mercies? They’re called Mercies because they ‘mercy-kill’, but..... what does that have to do with bones???? Or not having bones, for that matter...?? Is it just because it sounds fancy??
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  • Ishmeen
    January 1, 1970
    My feelings towards this book are a bit conflicting so I’m going to go with 3.5 stars. The start hooked me because the story is so unique and I haven’t read anything like it before. And then I started to get bored because it is slow paced and I was getting impatient. I also wanted it to be a bit more darker but oh well🌚 I am glad that shit eventually went down in the second half and I was hooked again and it even managed to rip my heart out in a couple of places so here we are! The female empowe My feelings towards this book are a bit conflicting so I’m going to go with 3.5 stars. The start hooked me because the story is so unique and I haven’t read anything like it before. And then I started to get bored because it is slow paced and I was getting impatient. I also wanted it to be a bit more darker but oh well🌚 I am glad that shit eventually went down in the second half and I was hooked again and it even managed to rip my heart out in a couple of places so here we are! The female empowerment in this story is amazing which is one of the reasons I jumped it up from 3 stars and it sounded like more of this story will be expanded upon(hopefully??) so I’ll be looking forward to that 👏🏼
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  • Erica
    January 1, 1970
    While I was gnashing my teeth in irritation at Sawkill Girls, this was a balm to my blackened little quarter-soul.Here is an epic Nordic fantasy, loosely Beowulfian, about a group of young women and one young man traveling together as Mercies or euthanasianists, if you will. They roam from town to town offering a quick, merciful death to the ailing and infirm or to those who just cannot abide life any longer. They're a sort of necessary evil; scary because their job is death but also important b While I was gnashing my teeth in irritation at Sawkill Girls, this was a balm to my blackened little quarter-soul.Here is an epic Nordic fantasy, loosely Beowulfian, about a group of young women and one young man traveling together as Mercies or euthanasianists, if you will. They roam from town to town offering a quick, merciful death to the ailing and infirm or to those who just cannot abide life any longer. They're a sort of necessary evil; scary because their job is death but also important because no one else wants that job and someone needs to do it. The thing is, the death trade is becoming passe and no one remembers a Mercy; there are no stories about them, no songs. They exist in the shadows and they're fading further from view. Frey wants something more.Her fellow Mercies aren't hard to persuade. Off they go in search of glory.I loved this story. The environment - hamlets, roads, dark woods, a sinister marsh, late fall with early snows - is just as much a player as any of the characters. The writing doesn't have a lot of flourish, it's mostly straightforward but incredibly communicative. For the amount of stuff these people go through, this should have been at least 100 pages longer. The storytelling skills are strong with this author.The background characters often felt more fleshed out than a two-paragraph person needs to be. Some were awful, some were delightful, most were simply the people in the neighborhood, the people that you meet each day.And the main characters. With very little description, they're each fully formed - Frey is the default leader mostly because she was trained by the last leader. Juniper is the youngest in the group, a sea witch with green hair and a free soul. Ovie is the stoic; she's got their backs and she is ever dependable but she doesn't say much. Runa is Frey's counterpart, she's often angry and dissatisfied, brash and rash, a fighter. Trigve, a young man, travels with them for companionship and safety and he acts as Frey's anchor. They're all strong, determined, resilient, and they rely on each other, their wisdom and power comes from their togetherness. They don't fight one another, there's no romantic tension because there's one guy on the team with four girls. They talk things out, they vote for what's best for their group, they're solid. I think seeing women get along like this will be boring to readers who love catty drama; there is very little of that here. I think the lack of romance will put others off; obviously that was 100% my cup of tea because romance is gross. In addition to unromantic, this story is also melancholy, bordering on sad; there is grief and pain and loneliness, there are a lot of hard moments, specifically in examining the "monsters," and that, too, could put a reader off, especially a reader who wants a light-hearted read with a happy ending.This story is incredibly woman-centric but without the stereotypes and clichés. It's not Hollywood girl-power and it's not misandrist. It's just women supporting women and often men, as well, and it's amazing.My overall reaction: I need to find the Sea Witch colony because, despite me not being an ocean person, I am fairly sure that's where I belong.
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  • Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This was a great book! The author did a spectacular job of reeling you into their world. I was disappointed when it ended because I wasn't ready to leave the Boneless Mercies just yet. I really hope a second book is forthcoming. I'd love to see what role they'll play in the upcoming witch wars.*I won this ARC from Goodreads FirstReads in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*Read this for 2018 AMMP Trim A Tree*Read this for 2018 AMMP Gifts for the Wild
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  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    The world was really interesting and I was curious about how the adventure would end, but ultimately I wish I cared more about these four Viking girls.
  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Holly Angus"I am a woman, wanderer, warrior. This is not the end of my story."The Boneless Mercies trade in the art of death. Killing the old, sick, and wounded, their mercy kills are hired from all over Vorseland. Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Mercy Killers. They each have their own troublesome tale of how they joined a trade that included killing the innocent and suffering. However, our protagonist Frey wishes for more, a bigger, more Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Holly Angus"I am a woman, wanderer, warrior. This is not the end of my story."The Boneless Mercies trade in the art of death. Killing the old, sick, and wounded, their mercy kills are hired from all over Vorseland. Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Mercy Killers. They each have their own troublesome tale of how they joined a trade that included killing the innocent and suffering. However, our protagonist Frey wishes for more, a bigger, more heroic life.When the Mercies hear of an unstoppable beast terrorising local villages, they decide this is their opportunity to defeat the beast and escape the death trade once and for all. The reward associated with the defeat of the beast will be enough gold to allow them to depart on their separate journeys, to find heroism in other lands. However, this beast is immortal, gigantic, and out for blood. So what makes the band of four female Mercies think that they can be the ones to destroy it and save the village? Hope. Hope is all they have.April Genevieve Tucholke writes an exhilarating story of female companionship, compassion, and strength as the Mercies, who are raised to expect the bare minimum, thinking that a warm bath is too much of a luxury, finds the true meaning of heroism and the destiny of their broken lives.Frey is a resilient young girl who hopes for a world with no more death and destruction, only compassion and bravery. Coming from a bloody childhood that left her family dead and her destiny to be a pleasurer in a Bliss House, Frey escapes to join the Boneless Mercies. However, she is always hoping for a better life, one with warrior deaths and freedom.Each and every character in this story gave the reader hope and love for their story. Tucholke wrote the cast in such a way that has the reader completely attached to their storyline and rooting for them from their reading nooks. Not one of the characters was unlikable, even the villains. You know you have found a good author when they make the reader feel sympathy for the villains!The world was well thought out and very picturesque, making the whole theme and tone of the novel very grim but whimsical with each village the Mercies stopped at on the way. I genuinely enjoyed every second of this book and devoured it in one sitting.However, I am curious about the future of this storyline. Originally it was branded as a standalone and says so in the blurb on Goodreads, however, the end of the novel tells a different tale. The ending wraps up nicely, but there are still questions left unanswered, perfect for a sequel, or maybe two. Another instalment in this series would be vital because without it the ending would be leaving the readers wanting more, and not in a good “I don’t want this to end way” but a “well, isn’t there supposed to be another book, where is it?” way. Sure hope the publisher and the author will figure this out soon because I am already anticipating more!!!
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