Review: The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

Posted October 16, 2021 by Richetta in #ownvoices, Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

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I received this book for free from SimonTeen and Turn the Page Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Review: The Bones of Ruin by Sarah RaughleyThe Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley
Published by Simon and Schuster on September 7, 2021
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult Fiction / Action & Adventure / General, Young Adult Fiction / Fantasy / Historical, Young Adult Fiction / Science Fiction / Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
Source: SimonTeen and Turn the Page Book Tours
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bookshop

An African tightrope walker who can’t die gets embroiled in a secret society’s deadly gladiatorial tournament in this thrilling historical fantasy set in an alternate 1880s London, perfect for fans of The Last Magician and The Gilded Wolves.

As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…​

She cannot die.

Haunted by her unnatural power and with no memories of her past, Iris is obsessed with discovering who she is. But that mission gets more complicated when she meets the dark and alluring Adam Temple, a member of a mysterious order called the Enlightenment Committee. Adam seems to know much more about her than he lets on, and he shares with her a terrifying revelation: the world is ending, and the Committee will decide who lives…and who doesn’t.

To help them choose a leader for the upcoming apocalypse, the Committee is holding the Tournament of Freaks, a macabre competition made up of vicious fighters with fantastical abilities. Adam wants Iris to be his champion, and in return he promises her the one thing she wants most: the truth about who she really is.

If Iris wants to learn about her shadowy past, she has no choice but to fight. But the further she gets in the grisly tournament, the more she begins to remember—and the more she wonders if the truth is something best left forgotten.

Dahomey Fighter. Tightrope Walker. Immortal Girl. The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley starts off with one heck of a character profile.

It’s been a while since I had this feeling about a character in a book, but Iris Marlow and I could be friends. I love that her character is a no-holds barred, unbowed by racism, I am okay with punching you in the face if you mess with me kind of girl. I vibed with her almost the entire time.

Super Power Central

X-Men Wow GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Find & Share on GIPHY
Hold Your Breath! That boy is fast!

This book felt like a combo of X-Men and Heroes. Everybody was coming out of the woodworks with this power or that! Iris can take a lickin and keep on tickin; one girl is the female version of Gambit; one of the guys is like my man Quicksilver. I loved it! And there wasn’t just diversity in powers there was diversity in characters too. These teens hail from around the world a consequence of the colonialism of Great Britain. There is also LGBTQ representation among the group of friends.

Stick to the 80/20 Rule

Iris is a tightrope walker in a circus act, so she has traveled a lot, but she is also a sheltered girl.

My girl had not one, not two, but three boys in love with her. As a matter of fact, it was like Iris had some type of pull on her that just made people fall in love with her. But let me make this clear, I am Team Jinn. None of that nonsense about Team Adam because that boy is a straight sociopath! Now I’ve seen this pattern so often with readers of books that have romance triangles, (although what would this be called a quad?) and the majority of the people always head towards the bad boy who is morally questionable.

Ummm, not this time! Adam gives if I wasn’t in awe of you and also needed you to accomplish my own goals I’d kill you vibeseven though you are cute. Not while Jinn is at her side! Nope! Not playing with that boy! If I could give Iris some advice, it would be stick to the 80/20 rule. Jinn is 80 and everybody else is 20.

Waiting GIF by Jen Atkin - Find & Share on GIPHY
Hand over the facts Adam!


One thing that was a little annoying, but I stuck with everything because I was so into Iris’s character, was how long it took to get some hard facts on Iris’ full background story. I really wanted to shake (okay maybe dropkick) Adam into giving up some secrets. Everybody had some big secret about their identity and I got a little frustrated that it took so long to reveal most of them.

Movie Please!

Now for my Call to Action: Dear Netflix or Any Movie company, If you can produce a movie on Enola Holmes, then you can produce one for Iris Marlow from The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley. They live in the same time period. They both are running around London kicking butt and trying to solve a mystery. Let’s get some #blackgirlmagic on the screen too! Fantastical Freaks for the win!

What book do you most want to see turned into a movie?

Bonus! The Bones of Ruin Jam Session

This book had me looking up some nineties alternative rock music. There was just so much action packed into the novel, I couldn’t resist creating a little playlist. Here are a few songs that came to mind as I read.

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