The Bone Key by Sarah Monette

The Bone Key by Sarah MonetteThe Bone Key by Sarah Monette
Published: Prime Books (2007), eBook, 288pg
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, GLBTQ, Gothic Romance, Horror, Mystery
Source: Scribd


Summary:

The dead and the monstrous will not leave Kyle Murchison Booth alone, for an unwilling foray into necromancy has made him sensitive to — and attractive to — the creatures who roam the darkness of his once-safe world. Ghosts, ghouls, incubi: all have one thing in common. They know Booth for one of their own. These ten stories draw Booth from the safety of his work as a museum archivist into the darkness both of the supernatural and of the human psyche, where he will find answers to mysteries unsolved for decades and learn truths about himself he would rather never have known . . .

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So apparently I have a thing for books about repressed introverts who’re plagued by the paranormal when they’re not working in a museum. I’m not really surprised. It combines my love of books, antiques, mysteries and the paranormal, plus there’s a character with the potential for some sort of clam situation if they have a cute enough sidekick.

(Spoiler: Kyle doesn’t have a sidekick (or friends). He also doesn’t go anywhere in a character development sort of way. It’s the only downside to an otherwise wonderful book.)

Sarah Monette is the lady who wrote The Goblin King (as Katherine Addison), one of my favorite books from 2014! This is the first of her books I’ve read written under her own name, and I was very excited. I knew that her Sarah Monette books were a little darker than her Katherine Addison books, and that’s pretty much true for The Bone Key. Its stories were inspired by Lovecraft and various other gothic horror writers, so it was bound to be at least a little depressing.

The stories themselves are VERY good; I don’t recognize all the references and homages, but they stand so well on their own that I didn’t need to in order to enjoy them.1 They’re spooky, a little bit gory, and pretty much perfect for us readers who like to be scared– but not TOO much. My favorite thing was how SM built up the atmospheric horror (weird sounds, darkness, that sense of impending doom) and then bust out a monster in exactly the right place.

The depressing stuff comes from poor Kyle Murchison Booth himself, who sometimes saves people from the monsters and who sometimes doesn’t. He’s shy and repressed and has a problem completing sentences, and (unlike Whyborne) he doesn’t get a boyfriend to cuddle after the monster’s been defeated.2 Kyle is a wonderful narrator and I became attached to him pretty quickly, so I was super sad when he didn’t get a happy ending in any of the stories.

There’s always hope, though! This book collects 10 stories into one volume; there are five more stories out there and maybe in one of them he gets a cuddle buddy. Until then, I suppose I could always reread the Whyborne & Griffin series.

Read: June 14-16, 2015

What’s your favorite gothic romance/horror story? I’m still madly in love with Rebecca, myself, but I also adore Georgette Heyer’s The Quiet Gentleman. Those two don’t have any paranormal elements in them, though!

  1. Plus there are explanations for each story’s influences in the back of the book.
  2. His sole boyfriend turns out to BE a monster, so.

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