2 out of 4 stars
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Spyder Bones by Oliver Phipps is an exciting, action-packed, modern fantasy novel filled with vampires, werewolves, angels, and demons. The main character is a man named Aaron who is a Vietnam War soldier turned medic. His friends, however, call him either Spyder or Bones so he decided to combine his two nicknames. After a life or death situation, Spyder is called as a “soldier of light” and he must protect the world from evil forces. Soon, he will be face to face with some pretty formidable enemies that want him dead.
This book was not what I expected. At the beginning of the book, I never would have guessed the author would weave in vampires and demons and werewolves. The concept of light versus dark, good versus evil, was very compelling. Of course, that makes the reader instantly root for the main character and hope they make it out alive. I also enjoyed that the book was set in the 70’s with the Vietnam War as a time reference because I thought it was different from most other fiction novels.
The aspect I liked most about this book was that it was unique. I have never read a book with this plot or premise. I truly did not know what would happen next. I didn’t know the rules of Aaron’s magical capabilities, or in what ways the bad guys could be defeated. This I enjoyed because it let the reader learn along the way instead of the premise being cliche or predictable. However, there are several things that I disliked about this book. The most obvious one is Spyder’s relationship with Sonya. Spyder meets Sonya randomly the day he relocated to a new state and she instantly becomes clingy, obsessive, and wants to move in with him. Sonya’s character serves no purpose except as a sexual object and this is one of the only ways she even enters the story. She plays no role, no part, the story would have turned out the same if she was not written in. This bothered me because I felt she could have easily been written as more than a useless companion for Spyder. I kept hoping throughout the whole book that she would have some important role, but it never came.
Another part I disliked was the ending. The author tried to wrap up the book so completely that he wrote years of important events in a matter of a few pages. I found it necessary to skip forward that much in time when the book could have been perfectly resolved before that.
Overall, I would rate this book 2 out of 4 stars because of the reasons stated previously. The book is very well-written, but has several aspects that could have been improved to make an even better story. I also found the dialogue to be a bit stiff and unrealistic at times. This book is clearly professionally edited as I did not notice any grammatical errors.
I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy books with fantasy elements, but set in modern times. I think some YA readers would enjoy this book, although all the characters are older adults so it might be difficult to relate. The violence is very minimal and never described in great detail. There are only a few cases of strong language.
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