Evie’s shattered ribs have been a secret for the last four years. Now she has found the strength to tell her adoptive parents, and the physical traces of her past are fixed — the only remaining signs a scar on her side and a fragment of bone taken home from the hospital, which her uncle Ben helps her to carve into a dragon as a sign of her strength.
Soon this ivory talisman begins to come to life at night, offering wisdom and encouragement in roaming dreams of smoke and moonlight that come to feel ever more real.
As Evie grows stronger there remains one problem her new parents can’t fix for her: a revenge that must be taken. And it seems that the Dragon is the one to take it.
This subtly unsettling novel is told from the viewpoint of a fourteen-year-old girl damaged by a past she can’t talk about, in a hypnotic narrative that, while giving increasing insight, also becomes increasingly unreliable.
A blend of psychological thriller and fairy tale, The Bone Dragon explores the fragile boundaries between real life and fantasy, and the darkest corners of the human mind.
You can listen to a clip from the audiobook, below.
Here are just a few reviews the novel has received so far…
‘With a relentless emotional charge and unexpected twists, Alexia Casale’s first novel will captivate readers… Beautifully evoked… Dark, with unexpected twists and a strong – if disturbing – ending, the narrative has a relentless emotional charge… an outstanding debut that vividly portrays the power and fragility of the human heart and mind.’ — Guardian
‘Casale’s dazzling debut begins with a sick girl who, when presented with a fragment of her own rib, carves it into the shape of a dragon. And then it just gets stranger. A haunting portrayal of damage, resilience and revenge, and one of the finest novels of the year – in any category.’ — Financial Times (Books of the Year 2013)
‘Beautifully written, poetic and haunting, this is a superlative debut.’ — Financial Times (Summer Books Guide)
‘There are numerous young adult novels dealing with dark subjects such as bereavement, illness and abuse, but THE BONE DRAGON stands apart from the crowd. Bold, brave and often unsettling, this tale of a teenage girl profoundly affected by a past that she cannot talk about – even to herself – is also both understated and beautifully-written. As well as dealing with challenging issues, with its positive and thoughtful depiction of adoption and adoptive parents, it is a tribute to unconventional families and friendships of all different kinds. An intriguing blend of psychological thriller and fantasy, this is an impressive and unusual debut.’ — Book Trust
‘Please read this book: I confess to feeling a certain sense of trepidation in writing this review for fear that my words will not do the book justice. To put it simply, this book has that ‘something special’ factor. From the first few pages I was immersed in this unsettling, hypnotic story that flits seamlessly between real life and reality. The plot is engaging despite the difficult subject matter; Evie is a courageous yet damaged individual and at times her pain and anger is so raw it can be uncomfortable to read. The book also poses a moral question as it explores the idea of revenge and whether you could exact it and live with the consequences. This is a totally original novel and Evie is a character I’ll find hard to forget and I would urge everyone to read this exceptional novel.’ — Waterstones (Brentwood)
‘THE BONE DRAGON was published as Fantasy fiction for older children but it could equally have been marketed as a psychological thriller for adults. It all depends on how you interpret what you are reading… a deceptively clever novel… has the scariest happy ending since the original Grimm (in every sense) version of `Snow White’. Whether it is Fantasy fiction or a novel about living out your fantasy is up to each individual reader to decide. Either way, Evie’s story is a mesmerising read.’ — Fantasy Reads