Publisher: Science Thrillers Media
Author: Carrie Rubin
Release: March 27th 2018
I received a copy of The Bone Curse from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Bone Curse is a unique sounding thriller. Take one of the most pragmatic people you can think of (in this case a medical student who firmly believes in using facts and nothing else) and force them into a position where they have to believe in something they cannot see. That’s more or less the situation Ben Oris has been put in for this novel.
Warnings first: There is a bit of talk about rape in the context of history; an ancestor was a rapist and a slave owner (clearly somebody we can’t even remotely consider to be a good person), and it’s the groundwork that the rest of the novel sits on. So it comes up a bit. There’s also this freaky dream/rape scene, seen from the rapists perspective. It doesn’t go into extensive detail…but it’s still an incredibly alarming and uncomfortable scene. You’ll get a little bit of notice that it’s coming, but not much.
The main character, Ben Oris is a medical student, and the novel includes the medical jargon to support that. Which was actually pretty cool to see. It also explains why he kept seeking medical reasons for what was happening to him and his friends/family, rather than listening to his friend’s superstitious concerns.
Now for the sake of honesty, I didn’t really like Ben. Sure, he’s a bright and brilliant guy, but he seems to take everyone in his life for granted, especially the women. It isn’t an endearing trait, to say the least. It takes multiple people being cursed and dying before he finally agrees to accept the advice of his best (and female) friend. And even then he only starts taking it seriously after he thinks his father has been curse. As in, the only started taking it seriously when a guy (admittedly a very import father figure in his life) took ill. I know this was likely a coincidence, and not intentional on the authors part (or was it? I could be wrong), but it came off feeling very wrong. Like the women who had already died were disposable.
If I’m being honest, I have a lot of concerns about this novel. And not just what I already mentioned above. I’m worried about the way Haitians were represented in this novel – it frequently felt insensitive. I would love to have an open discussion about this, so please feel free to comment with your input. If I’m being honest I’m feeling pretty conflicted about the whole thing, and would greatly appreciate talking it out with others that feel similarly.
To the author’s credit, I believe she did thoroughly research all subjects covered. Especially the medical side of things (based on her other novels, I feel like it’s safe to say that she has a medical background). I did love all the medical jargon she through in during Ben’s time at the hospital (mostly as a student).
I did find myself wishing I liked this novel more. I love the idea of forcing a character like Ben out of his comfort zone and his preconceived notions of what is and isn’t real. Unfortunately it just ended up falling flat for me.