Elizabeth Bear’s novella Bone and Jewel Creatures is set in the same world as her Eternal Sky trilogy ( Range of Ghosts , Shattered Pillars , Steles of the Sky ), though it focuses on a completely different set of characters, mainly the 96-year-old wizard Bijou. It was released before a prequel novella, Book of Iron , about the same protagonist during her adventuring days many years ago. Although it’s not absolutely necessary to do so, I am glad I read Book of Iron  first since it provides more background on the characters involved in the central conflict (plus I loved it—here’s my  Book of Iron review ).

After that, it seems to take a long time to come around to the inevitable conclusion, and I don’t really think this is a novella to read for the plot. It’s one to read to admire the imagination that went into Bijou’s menagerie of bone and jewel creatures, the beautiful writing, and the character perspectives. Both Bijou and Emeraude (the name Bijou eventually gives the child) stand out as quite different from other characters I’ve come across in the books I’ve read.

Emeraude also has a third person perspective told from the viewpoint of “the cub.” Having lived in the wilderness with a family of jackals, the child has learned to survive as they do and views the world as one of them. Although quick to learn, Emeraude is new to human customs and perceives humans as a separate group to which the cub does not belong, and it’s quite compelling to read events through this child’s eyes as one who has not had contact with humans before.

Bone and Jewel Creatures Kindle Edition - amazon.com

Bone and Jewel Creatures by Elizabeth Bear - Goodreads

Posted by 2018 article