Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Candy Gourlay - Bone Talk - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)


Amazing cover illustration by Philippine illustrator Kerby Rosanes

Samkad lives in a tribe deep in the Philippine jungle at the end of the nineteenth century, and has never encountered anyone from outside his own tribe before. He's about to become a man, and while he's desperate to grow up, he's worried that this will take him away from his best friend, Little Luki. However, Samkad's world is about to change utterly. A strange man with white skin arrives in his village, and Samkad discovers the brother he never knew he had. A brother who tells him of people called `Americans'. Americans who are bringing war, and burning, to Samuel's home...

The remarkable primitive culture of the Philipines, many years ago, has been brought to life by Candy Gourlay. Bone Talk is set around 1899, a period which is known as the Philippine-American War. It's a fantastic story that will be published on the 2nd August 2018 by David Fickling Books. This will be the author's third published book and, in my opinion, the best book to date. You are all definitely in for a great historical treat. 

Some books grab the attention of the reader well before you turn the first page. The idea for this book is very intriguing as you are instantly transported back in time to 1899, Bontok. Like small ripples in a pond, this book will reach out to the fantasy brain and stay with you for some time. The story is told from a Filipino perspective, which I really loved and depicts the beating heart of tribal life in the Philipines around that time. It is brilliantly written, weaving historical facts and research together to deliver a plot that, hopefully, reflects the time as authentically possible.  

It's a fantasy story that itches at the skin through the brutal reality of life and will ask many questions of the reader along the way. It is a reflection of a time that many people will be very unfamiliar with. However, it makes the reader want to know more. In fact, I became really emotionally involved with the story. I wanted, on so many occasions, to be able to climb up the nearest tree and experience what was going to happen first hand. Pure armchair fantasy! Nevertheless, it's a very hard-hitting book that combines a basic way of life with a dark and macabre reality from death and war.

You will love one of the main characters called Luki. She is very well written and dances off the page with a playful charm and cheekiness. She will make you chuckle as her character really does deliver a lighter-side to the plot. 

I loved this book in so many ways. It's diverse, very challenging and really made me think. I feel as if I have lived every moment of the story. You set off on a mundane ramble and end in an explosive narrative that finds the Philippine tribes move beyond the village into an unknown world. This is a great young-adult read that strikes away from the norm. It certainly shook me from my reading perch as it was enjoyable on so many levels. 


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