Nettle & Bone

by T Kingfisher

This isn’t the kind of fairytale where the princess marries a prince.
It’s the one where she kills him.

Marra never wanted to be a hero.

As the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter, she escaped the traditional fate of princesses, to be married away for the sake of an uncaring throne. But her sister wasn’t so fortunate—and after years of silence, Marra is done watching her suffer at the hands of a powerful and abusive prince.

Seeking help for her rescue mission, Marra is offered the tools she needs, but only if she can complete three seemingly impossible tasks:
—build a dog of bones
—sew a cloak of nettles
—capture moonlight in a jar

But, as is the way in tales of princes and witches, doing the impossible is only the beginning.

Hero or not—now joined by a disgraced ex-knight, a reluctant fairy godmother, an enigmatic gravewitch and her fowl familiar—Marra might finally have the courage to save her sister, and topple a throne.

My Take

I had high expectations for this after it won the 2023 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Plus I’ve read and liked other T Kingfisher books. I liked this one too. I liked this particular gaggle of misfits and found parts of it laugh out loud funny, which is always good. It takes real magic to make a bone dog a lovable pet. I like the delicate romance, where you can feel the heat but it’s not trying to burn your eyebrows off. And how nice to have a heroine who is not perfectly beautiful, all powerful, etc. All in all a warm and cuddly read, despite the bone dog and the evil prince.