Book Review – Doll Bones

Doll BonesDoll Bones by Holly Black
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

While on vacation, I finished one audiobook and, late at night, needed another to help me get to sleep. This was the first one I spotted on the library website. I had no idea what it was about when I grabbed it – though the name should have given me a clue that this would be a pretty creepy read – and I quite possibly would have passed it by had I known it was about a possessed doll and three kids and a quirky librarian. Or not, because actually, that sounds like it might be right up my alley.


“Did you know that bone china had real bones in it?” Poppy said, tapping a porcelain cheek. “Her clay was made from human bones. Little-girl bones. That hair threaded through the scalp is the little girl’s hair. And the body of the doll is filled with her leftover ashes.”

Three kiddos – two girls and a boy – spend most of their days playing with action figures/dolls and making up stories to act out. But they are getting to that age where kids are less interested in make-believe and more interested in sports, dating, social lives and the like.

“I hate that you can do what you’re supposed to do and I can’t. I hate that you’re going to leave me behind. I hate that everyone calls it growing up, but it seems like dying. It feels like each one of you is being possessed and I’m next.”

This is a coming-of-age novel in the fairly typical vein. Once the trio discovers the secret behind “The Queen” – a porcelain doll that has played a role in some of their adventures, they go on a “quest” to set the soul inhabiting the doll to rest, and have adventures along the way. It sounds very formulaic when I lay it out like that and… well, it is. But it’s still quirky and entertaining along the way.

“Adventuring turned out to be boring. Zach thought back to all the fantasy books he’d read where a team of questers traveled overland, and realized a few things. First he’d pictured himself with a loyal steed that would have done most of the walking, so he hadn’t anticipated the blister forming on his left heel or the tiny pebble that seemed to have worked its way under his sock, so that even when he stripped off his sneaker he couldn’t find it.

He hadn’t thought about how hot the sun would be either. When he put together his bunch of provisions, he never thought about bringing sunblock. Aragorn never wore sunblock. Taran never wore sunblock. Percy never wore sunblock. But despite all that precedent for going without, he was pretty sure his nose would be lobster-red the next time he looked in the mirror.

He was thirsty, too, something that happened a lot in books, but his dry throat bothered him more than it had ever seemed to bother any character.

And, unlike in books where random brigands and monsters jumped out just when things got unbearably dull, there was nothing to fight except for the clouds of gnats, several of which Zach was pretty sure he’d accidentally swallowed.”

The story is pretty good. There’s some character development. There’s an interesting twist here and there and a very cool librarian. You know I gotta love the cool librarians. It’s fairly short but has decent pacing and plot. I might check out more by this author, I was intrigued enough to see what else she has to offer.

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What did you think?