The Silence of Bones by June Hur

The Silence of Bones
Author: June Hur
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: April 21st 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical, Historical Fiction

I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak;
Ears, but I mustn't hear;
Eyes, but I mustn't see.

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.

June Hur's elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

The Silence of Bones is a murder mystery in 1800 Joseon (Korea). We follow Police Damo, Seol, who is serving out her indentured servitude. I absolutely the writing in this book and the way the story kept you riveted as the mystery unfolds.

Seol is a bright and clever girl. She has a very analytical mind and often sees things in this very clinical way. She is very curious and thirst for knowledge and also has a very good memory. We navigate this story and world with her as she can’t help but feel a need to help solve the case. Her motivations change as she goes on her journey but the fact of the matter never changes that this is fuel for her bright mind.

I loved the way the plot unfolds. There were certain things that I figured out because there are clues all over but I didn’t necessarily know how they fit together until I was supposed to. I thought the pacing and discovering of information was perfect. I was never like come on Seol, I felt like she was figuring out things at the same rate the reader was for the most part. Which I think always makes a murder mystery more enjoyable. I don’t want to give anything away though so I don’t even want to talk about the other characters. Like all mysteries there are offshoots of other things that are happening to the characters, besides the main case.

There was a point in the book that I felt mad at everyone except for Seol. Ha ha

I found 1800 Joseon really interesting too. Just the culture references and the way the class system works. The treatment of women was really interesting. It’s made me want to research more about the era. I think June Hur did a wonderful job of incorporating it in a way that made you feel like you were there. I love the way the mood was set.

I loved the book. I thought it was well written and super intriguing up until the mystery is finally solved.

JUNE HUR (‘Hur’ as in ‘her’) was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. Most of her work is inspired by her journey through life as an individual, a dreamer, and a Christian, with all its confusions, doubts, absurdities and magnificence. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto, and currently works for the public library. She lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea (early 1800s), and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home. It was recently selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of the top debuts of Winter/Spring 2020.

She is represented by Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.

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