The Silence of Bones by June Hur
Release date: April 21, 2020
An e-galley was provided by Macmillan via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.
As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.
But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Everything about The Silence of Bones should've equaled a book that I loved. I enjoy a good murder mystery. I like books set outside the United States and Europe. I love YA historical fiction. Yet, I felt oddly ambivalent for the entire course of this novel.
The subject matter of this story is so fascinating. I did like learning about how the police bureau in early 19th century Korea worked. (And Korea in general, during this time period.) Historical fiction mysteries are also very cool. However, the prose felt a bit dry, and that made reading take way longer than it normally does for me. It needed a bit more work to draw the reader in and keep them interested. There were also some plot details that were confusing, about Seol's past. There was a lot she couldn't remember and then other details that were vague, which was peculiar and frustrating to me. And unfortunately, I didn't connect with the characters, which I really need to do to love a novel.
Content warnings: murder, some mild gore
The Verdict: Probably another book that partly fell victim to my lack of focus during COVID lockdown. Will absolutely try whatever June writes in the future. :)
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Alas, probably not.