I really wanted to like this book. It's the first in what appears to be a trilogy of young adult fantasy stories by a Canadian author. The plot should be appealing to the YA set, a troubled "cross-cultural" romance (well, elves & humans - maybe interspecies is more accurate), strong female lead, looming war between fantasy-feudal kingdoms ... need I go on?
Ms. Bennett lost me about halfway through; I must admit I speed-read the second half of this book. I only finished it because I wanted so badly for it to get better; I was really on the author's side.
What sunk it was the literary quality, or, more accurately, the lack thereof. Awkwardly written, with stilted dialogue and promising but ultimately one-dimensional characters, this book just isn't well-written enough for me to be able to recommend it.
Middle school to teen readers might be able to get into it, and maybe Ms. Bennett's later works improve? My 12-year-old daughter, a voracious consumer of female-lead fantasies, has informed me that she has read and quite liked one of Bennett's other books, The Warrior's Daughter, though it "isn't as well written as it could be. Her ideas are good but her writing is kind of boring."
2 stars as a rating seem kind of harsh so I've given it 3; it's not a dreadful book, just not up to the standard of many others in the field. For well-done girl-power fantasy, compare Ms. Bennett to writers such as Robin McKinley. It's a tough genre, and sadly this book finds a place on the lower part of the curve.
Maybe Ms. Bennett's writing has matured and grown with her later works? Sad to say, I'm only mildly interested to find out, because The Bonemender, quite frankly, left me disappointed.