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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best random picks I've had!
After going through the reviews post-read, I find myself absolutely astonished by some of the lesser-rated ones I read. As someone who'd never experienced Flewelling's work before, I went into this book rather skeptical, as I usually do when picking up a random read. The first couple of chapters were slow, and I felt a little uneasy about the choice, but as soon as the...
Published on Oct. 22 2008 by A. Ferland

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3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, but a bit stale.
I read this book because I am absolutely in love with Flewelling's earlier series, Nightrunner. This book is a prequel of sorts, highlighting the life of one of the warrior queens of Skala, and the prospect of filling in a bit of Skala's already rich history seemed more than worth my reading time.
The writing, is as always, very good, with the quality of voice that...
Published on Nov. 15 2003 by LKN


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best random picks I've had!, Oct. 22 2008
By 
A. Ferland (Winnipeg, MB, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
After going through the reviews post-read, I find myself absolutely astonished by some of the lesser-rated ones I read. As someone who'd never experienced Flewelling's work before, I went into this book rather skeptical, as I usually do when picking up a random read. The first couple of chapters were slow, and I felt a little uneasy about the choice, but as soon as the meat of Tobin's story began, I was completely engrossed. I found the entire story fascinating, and the concept of dealing with a personal haunting to be something I'd never read in fantasy before.

As for the story itself, it *is* a coming of age story, but while some might find Tobin's "meekness" to be irritating, I found it very sweet and realistic. The way I would imagine reacting to things if I were a child. I found the character progression to be well-paced, considering this is the first book of a trilogy, and thought the main characters-Tobin, Ki, Arkoniel, Lhel, Tharin-to be interesting in each their own way. Some I liked more than others, and for reasons that went unsaid in the book itself. The stuff you had to think about.

I think the fact that by the end of the book, I was chomping at the bit and went out to buy the second novel that day says something.

If you are looking for an action-packed read, this is not the book for you... but if you're more a fan of character development, dark undertones in plot, and a touch of the macabre, I'd say pick it up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe I waited so long to read this!, Nov. 15 2003
By 
"celes1" (Havre de Grace, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
Throughout Skala's history a line of warrior queens have protected the land but when King Erius usurped his sister's throne, plague and drought overran the land. The only way to change this is to restore the female line to the throne. However, finding a new queen of royal blood is no easy task since every female who has even a distant claim to the throne is murdered. That all changes when Ariani, the King's sister, gives birth to twins; a boy and a girl. The boy twin is murdered so that, through dark magic, the girl can take his form. Consequently, young Tobin grows up, unaware of his true identity and perpetually haunted by the ghost of his murdered brother.
Very interesting fantasy that borders on dark fantasy. I loved Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series so I ran out and bought this one as soon as it came out. Then I stupidly let this gem of a book sit on my bookshelf for two years. Normally when a character in a fantasy novel is a child I'm bored to tears until they grow up but that wasn't the case with Tobin. I adored him and a lot of the other characters, although not quite as much as the Nightruner characters. However, I do think this book is a much more fluid read than the Nightrunner books. Anyway, this book is highly recommended even if you haven't read any of the author's previous work.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, but a bit stale., Nov. 15 2003
By 
LKN (New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
I read this book because I am absolutely in love with Flewelling's earlier series, Nightrunner. This book is a prequel of sorts, highlighting the life of one of the warrior queens of Skala, and the prospect of filling in a bit of Skala's already rich history seemed more than worth my reading time.
The writing, is as always, very good, with the quality of voice that make you think Flewelling has been in the forests and travelled the roads she describes. There are some images that I still find stuck in my head, even after reading this book only once. And there is a lot in this one installment; we're taken from Skala's capitol, to the holdings in the woods, and to the mountains to visit an Oracle. And all the places have a texture that makes them easy to see and grasp and hold onto.
After the initial action, the birth and early, early childhood of the main character, which is slightly terrifying, the book got -- I hate to say it -- boring. With a few exceptions, I didn't care. Tobin didn't seem to have a personality so much as personality traits, and he's the main character. Imagine how the rest of the cast fared.
The thing I loved about Flewelling's other books was that she stuck to her plot, and if she failed to do so, I was disappointed. However, this trilogy seems to be taking the opposite extreme, and is just about the story. The characters, their relationships, smaller, cultural, or personal events are of no consequence. And that's what makes writing rich. After I finished the first book of the Nightrunner series, I couldn't get my mind off of it, I needed to have the second one...With The Bone Doll's Twin, I just sort of closed the book, tossed it off to the side, picked up something else. I didn't notice when the second book came out at all; my mom picked it up for me.
If you are looking for a well-written, compelling fantasy novel, or if you loved Nightrunner to death and are interested in the Skala backstory, you should pick this up. Just be aware that you'll be fighting to love the characters, and you'll be fighting to care about what happens.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's all that, plus feminism, Sept. 8 2003
By 
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
I confess to having bought this book as recommended by a reviewer of George R.R. Martin's "Game of thrones". That reviewer had been outraged because of the numerous ordeals George R.R. Martin makes his feminine characters go through.
Indeed, "Bone Doll's Twin" is far from that. I've read some of the reviews here, and tend to agree to those not-so-favorable. Besides, influenced by the mentioned reviewer, I've noticed some aspects that suggest a strong feminist orientation of the writer.
The plots are carefully shaped so that all abasements of women frustrate the reader. The leaders have to be females (queens); if this does not happen, all kind of disasters happen to the country (Skala). The army contains equally men and women. We are led to consider reproachfully the current situation, when the king disallows this: unhappy, the warrior-women find shelter by the hearths. Iya, one of the most important characters, is an old female wizard; it so happens, that she has a male apprentice, whom she teaches wizardry wisdom. And Iya is the one to forbid or recommend to Arkoniel, the apprentice, to have sexual experiences.
Lhel, a fascinating character by all means, is a female witch initiated in nature magic. She is the sexual partner of Arkoniel. She chose him, hunted him, and eventually rode him in an explicitly depicted intercourse.
Apart from all these, the book offers a rather pleasant reading. I'm mildly interested in the next installment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dark But Enthralling, July 30 2003
By 
Josh Aterovis (Baltimore, Maryland United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
Fans of Flewelling's incomparable Nightrunner series will be a little shocked when they pick up THE BONE DOLL'S TWIN. It's impressive how different in tone this new series is when compared to her other books. The Tamir Trilogy promises to be much darker, even a little disturbing, but just as brilliant.
THE BONE DOLL'S TWIN is set in the same world as the Nightrunner series, but far earlier in Skala's history. The small kingdom has enjoyed centuries of peace and safety thanks to divine protection which is maintained by a line of warrior queens. When an ambitious young prince decides to steal his sister's throne, he makes sure all contenders for the crown are eliminated. That means all females in the royal family are murdered. When a young woman married to the King's nephew gives birth to twins, a boy and a girl, the children's father takes desperate steps to ensure a return of the divine protection. He brings in an earth-witch to cast dark magic on his daughter, an act that necessitates the death of his son. The girl is magically made to appear male and is raised believing she is a boy.
The girl/boy Tobin must survive much before she can become Queen however. Her mother has gone mad, her twin brother still exists as an angry, bitter ghost, and if anyone should discover that he is really a girl, she would be quickly eliminated.
The book is amazingly original; I've never read anything remotely like it. Lynn Flewelling has proved herself a master at world building and character development and she doesn't let us down in either case with her latest series. Once again, all her characters, both good and bad, are richly developed and complex. The story, while dark and sinister, is enthralling and I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent tale of death, identity, and destiny., June 24 2003
By 
Jason C. Hill (Far Rockaway, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
As a fan of Lynn Flewelling's "Nightrunner" series, I was eager to see what else Lynn was capable of outside of the adventures of Seregil and Alec. I was by no means disappointed by "The Bone Doll's Twin." Ms. Flewelling has crafted an intriguing, chilling, and thoroughly engrossing tale.
Why only 4 stars, then? While "The Bone Doll's Twin" is an excellent book as is, there is still much room for improvement, and the story doesn't quite live up to its full potential.
The story follows young Tobin. Even before her birth she is destined to become one of the greatest queens in Skalan history. She is prophesized by the god, Illior, to rule the land and end the tyranny of King Erius, who usurped the throne from Tobin's Grandmother. Erius, fearful of the long-standing prophesy of a woman being the only rightful ruler of Skala, has all women with connection to the throne assassinated to solidify his position as king and assure the ascension of his son, Prince Korin. Tobin, who was born a girl, is made into a man by ancient magic to protect her from the King until she is of age to rule.
We follow Tobin's life from birth to adolescence. This is one of the book's weak points. Since the book is pretty much about Tobin's day-to-day life in his household, there is very little sense of conflict and virtually no sense of the plot progressing. This is counterbalanced, however, by Tobin's unusual circumstances. His brother--who was murdered when he was born so that Tobin could be made into a man--haunts the house as a poltergeist. His mother, who was driven insane by the death of her son, haunts the household also, as disturbingly as any ghost. There are some genuinely creepy moments here that will have you nervously turning pages.
There are, sadly, some plot elements that could have been done better. Tobin's dead twin, for example, could have been portrayed better. There is so much potential for conflict between Tobin and his dead brother, but such a conflict never happens. She really should have experimented with the prospect more, and thought up a better role for him aside from the classic poltergeist.
The characters are done very well in this book, though a bit shy of the masterfully human characterizations of the Nightrunner series. Some of the characters play the classic Fantasy archetypes--the fretting nanny, the strong woman, the conniving noble--but most of the characters stand out on their own and grow as the story progresses. Some will even surprise you. For example, King Erius, who is supposed to be an insane tyrant of a king, comes off as a pretty likeable, even-tempered gentleman.
All in all, "The Bone Dolls Twin" is a more than worthy tale for lovers of fantasy. I particularly recommend this book to anyone with a taste for the macabre.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Overlong, unnecessary, and incomplete, June 15 2003
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
The Bone Doll's Twin employs a nasty bait-and-switch tactic of not actually informing the reader that it's the first of a trilogy on the cover or back cover. So I expected a complete story and only got, what, one-third of one?
The story itself feels remarkably generic. It's set in a basic feudal society, replete with travelling and consulting wizards having prophecies and trying to guide the future. The essential hook of the story - that Tobin is a girl unknowingly in boy's form - is intriguing, but almost ignored by the story's substance (it briefly rears its head at the end, in a rather contrived manner, but is otherwise a side issue). Instead, the book focuses on Tobin's youth shelted at his father's remote keep, learning to be a warrior and bedeviled by a demon. Not particularly novel stuff, it's competently told, but so are many such fantasies.
Two-thirds in, it became clear that Flewelling wasn't going to resolve the story in the next 150 pages, and my interest flagged. The story that is here could easily have been edited down to half its length with little of import lost. The characters are fairly bland, sticking to some tried-and-true stereotypes involving honor, duty, and loss. And the tension is all in the background - there's fairly little true confict for Tobin to face, and very little that he can do about anything directly himself. In that way - and with the shifting point of view the novel employs - there's no true protagonist, and it's hard to care about any of the characters as characters - just as pawns in a game.
Contrast this with Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series, which tread similar ground of duty and honor in the name of one's father, but which do so with dramatic, eloquent characterizations and tense conflicts where the character faces the chance of real loss - and doesn't always win. The Bone Doll's Twin is tame by comparison. (More obviously, this book feels like a second-rate version of Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana, or George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, both of which - thought flawed - don't flinch at presenting conflict, pain and loss..)
What ultimately sinks the book is that it's just a prologue, and yet it's long enough for a whole novel, but the premise certainly lacks the meat to carry through to a trilogy. Feeling like I've already read more about Tobin and Iya and Ki and Arkoniel than I really needed to, I can't see any reason to proceed to the second volume. The first is plenty.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Overlong, unnecessary, and incomplete, June 15 2003
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
The Bone Doll's Twin employs a nasty bait-and-switch tactic of not actually informing the reader that it's the first of a trilogy on the cover or back cover. So I expected a complete story and only got, what, one-third of one?
The story itself feels remarkably generic. It's set in a basic feudal society, replete with travelling and consulting wizards having prophecies and trying to guide the future. The essential hook of the story - that Tobin is a girl unknowingly in boy's form - is intriguing, but almost ignored by the story's substance (it briefly rears its head at the end, in a rather contrived manner, but is otherwise a side issue). Instead, the book focuses on Tobin's youth shelted at his father's remote keep, learning to be a warrior and bedeviled by a demon. Not particularly novel stuff, it's competently told, but so are many such fantasies.
Two-thirds in, it became clear that Flewelling wasn't going to resolve the story in the next 150 pages, and my interest flagged. The story that is here could easily have been edited down to half its length with little of import lost. The characters are fairly bland, sticking to some tried-and-true stereotypes involving honor, duty, and loss. And the tension is all in the background - there's fairly little true confict for Tobin to face, and very little that he can do about anything directly himself. In that way - and with the shifting point of view the novel employs - there's no true protagonist, and it's hard to care about any of the characters as characters - just as pawns in a game.
Contrast this with Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series, which tread similar ground of duty and honor in the name of one's father, but which do so with dramatic, eloquent characterizations and tense conflicts where the character faces the chance of real loss - and doesn't always win. The Bone Doll's Twin is tame by comparison. (More obviously, this book feels like a second-rate version of Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana, or George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, both of which - thought flawed - don't flinch at presenting conflict, pain and loss..)
What ultimately sinks the book is that it's just a prologue, and yet it's long enough for a whole novel, but the premise certainly lacks the meat to carry through to a trilogy. Feeling like I've already read more about Tobin and Iya and Ki and Arkoniel than I really needed to, I can't see any reason to proceed to the second volume. The first is plenty.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff, Feb. 15 2003
By 
not4prophet (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
"The Bone Doll's Twin" begins with two wizards, Iya and Arkoniel, who are charged with an unpleasant task. Erius, the King of the land of Skala, has been exterminating all of his female relatives in order to prevent them from challenging his claim to the throne. To save Erius' infant niece, Iya and Arkoniel must employ a form of magic to transform the child's body into a male for an indefinite period of time. Unfortunately, this action necessitates killing the girl's twin brother, and the two wizards are unable to prevent his spirit from escaping and haunting the household. After this introduction, most of the book is spent showing the girl, raised as the Prince Tobin, growing up in a small castle in a remote part of the country.
This book has quite a bit going for it. Flewelling does an excellent job of capturing a sense of gritty reality. Life in a medieval society, even for lords and royalty, was never as pleasant as the way that many authors portray it. There was always a threat of disease and hunger, and, of course, people in those times lacked many of our modern conveniences. This books spares no details in presenting the truth about life in those times. All of the characters in this book are solid. I particularly enjoyed the portrayals of Arkoniel and Iya. Instead of just using the stereotypical wizard character (old, wise guy with beard and funny language), Flewelling gives each of them a unique and unpredictable personality. Tobin is also quite different from the overused 'young boy who's destined for greatness' character. I should also say that the writing has a very nice flow, and that the author does a good job a covering large amounts of time in relatively little space.
And yet, there's something a little bit unsatisfying about "The Bone Doll's Twin", particularly during the final fifty pages or so. I think that what really bothered me was that the author didn't explore the book's full potential, and didn't manage to create a truly dark and frightening mood. Now there are a few genuinely creepy scenes in here; see especially one near the end where Tobin encounters the evil wizard Niryn in his family's graveyard at night. But for most of the time there just isn't enough of a sense of imminent danger. In particular, the scenes featuring the ghost of the murdered child fall short of what they could be. And then there's the concluding scene. I don't want to give it away, so I'll just say that it rings false. Flewelling builds up a fascinating situation for one of the characters, but then that person's reaction to it just isn't believable.
So, what's the final analysis? Well, "The Bone Doll's Twin" is an excellent book, and I'll be the first in line when the sequel comes out. In my opinion, however, the author did pass up some good opportunities.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Royal Blood, Jan. 23 2003
This review is from: The Bone Doll's Twin (Mass Market Paperback)
This wonderful novel is one of a very few that I was unable to put down for more than a few moments at a time. Lynn Flewelling's writing style is matched only by her plot line and I can honestly say that reading The Bone Doll's Twin was sheer pleasure. Not only was the plot well conceived but her characterization is also definitive and believable. Readers will be swept up into the tumultuous world of Skala, finding themselves completely inured to the journey of this seemingly ill-fated duo. By the end of the book, you will hunger even more greatly for the next novel that follows entitled Hidden Warrior, which I have not had the fortune to read yet.
If you like this book and are interested in the work of more female authors, I suggest reading Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier and Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon. All of the aforementioned books do, however, have sequels, so if you want the story finished in just one book, I'm afraid you're just out of luck with these three great novels.
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The Bone Doll's Twin
The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling (Mass Market Paperback - Oct. 2 2001)
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