Blood Metal Bone

HQ Young Adult. Jun. 2022. 496p. pap. $10.99. ISBN 9780008292799.
Gr 9 Up–On the small dwarf planet of Dohrsar, Sonara is the illegitimate daughter of the queen. One day her brother and best friend, Soahm, is abducted by a mysterious spaceship. With Sonara as the only witness, the queen doesn’t believe Sonara’s story, and wrongfully sentences Sonara to death for killing Soahm. Sonara comes back from the dead as a Shadowblood with the newfound power to sense others’ emotions and auras. She joins a ragtag group of Shadowblood outlaws who embark on a quest to prevent a powerful rock called Antheon from getting into the wrong hands. Their mission is thwarted, however, when Sonara spots the same spaceship that abducted Soahm. Consumed with finding him, she interrogates and subsequently kills Karr, a member of the ship’s crew. This sets off a chain of events that results in many Dohrsarans being imprisoned and forced to mine Antheon. Karr is reborn as a Shadowblood and joins forces with Sonara and her friends to free the Dohrsarans. Most of the characters are purposely unlikable, albeit three-dimensional. Throughout, Sonara is referred to as the Devil, although her unremarkable powers will leave readers perplexed about the nickname and her notoriety. The betrayals and plot twists at the end fail to redeem the novel from the slow-moving plot. Sonara’s and Karr’s ethnicities are not stated.
VERDICT With a convoluted plot that is slow to unfold, this story is unlikely to motivate readers to read to the end.

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