4 out of 4 stars
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Benjamin Oris is touring the catacombs of Paris with his friend Laurette when he finds himself inexplicably attracted to the centuries-old bones around him. Ignoring -- or unable to heed -- Laurette's pleas for them to turn around and leave, he touches a bone that somehow leaves him with a papule on his hand. He soon finds himself in over his head when he returns to Philadelphia and his medical internship. The mysterious papule isn't healing and his loved ones are dealing with what can only be called a curse. However, according to Laurette, Benjamin may be the one causing said curse.
The Bone Curse by Carrie Rubin pits a pragmatic medical student who looks for the logic in everything against the mysterious and inexplicable happenings of old, black magic. When people hear of Vodou (or voodoo) they usually think of Louisiana, but the novel takes place in Philadelphia, a completely fresh setting. Benjamin is strongly built character, sticking to his beliefs and not easily led astray despite the signs slapping him in the face.
I honestly had a great time with this novel. I enjoyed the way it sucked me into the world of Vodou and medical internships, Rubin's descriptive writing style allowed me to picture every single detail. I could hardly put the book down and sped through it in just a few days of reading to, from, and during work. Despite finishing it so quickly, I held off writing my review because I wasn't quite sure how to put into words how much I enjoyed the way Rubin tugged and tied the storyline together to make such a cohesive and enjoyable novel. I'm still not sure if my review will do it justice. However, I knew that I needed to give myself time to come down from the high of such an action-packed and fast-paced novel before starting another review. Even a well-written and fairly enjoyable novel would seem plain and dull compared to the memorable, heart-pounding world I had just come out of.
The Bone Curse was easily the best-edited book I've reviewed for Online Book Club so far. I couldn't find a sentence to tweak or make a suggestion on, much less an actual mistake. In fact, the only part of the novel that bothered me was that overall, the novel gave me slight anxiety after a while. It was so fast-paced and harrowing all the time. There was no time for the reader to calm down before the next big surprise, because even if the plot was calm, I found myself sympathizing with the ever-worsening physical and mental problems Benjamin was experiencing. I felt short of breath myself, and while that was slightly irritating when I finished my lunch break and had to get back to work, looking back it may have been part of what made the book so enjoyable for me.
I didn't have to think twice before giving Carrie Rubin's The Bone Curse 4 out of 4 stars. I love the world and characters she created. The Bone Curse is going to stick with me for a long time. Apparently it is the first in a series that is yet to be continued, but personally the plot wrapped up quite nicely and I definitely think that it could be a standalone work as well. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys supernatural or medical thrillers, as it's a perfect mix of both. However, there are some highly descriptive scenes, so readers who get queasy at the thought of blood should probably stay away. I'm highly impressed by Carrie Rubin and will definitely be keeping an eye on her to see what she releases next.
The Bone Curse
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