Hills of Heather and Bone by K.E. Andrews

Genre: Fantasy
Length: 412 pages

The bones of the dead hold stories.

On the fringes of Errigal, Morana longs to exchange a life of hiding for a peaceful one with her husband, Percy. While Percy’s bloodgift lets him grow plants and heal broken bodies, Morana’s a boneweaver, despised and feared because she can hear bones and raise the dead. Morana doesn’t want to be seen as a villain from the old stories and instead spends her time gardening, writing the stories of the dead, and fending off a spiteful chicken.

Morana and Percy’s lives are shattered when a group of Failinis tasked with capturing boneweavers and rogue bloodgifted find them. On the run and battling the elements, ancient creatures, and the loss of all they called home, Morana and Percy search for any sanctuary left in Errigal. Morana must choose between the call in her blood or the family she holds so close to her heart if she and Percy are to survive.

Please be aware that this book contains some scenes of violence, death, depression, mentions of miscarriage, birthing scenes, suicidal thoughts, suicide, and cannibalism.

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I did a beta/sensitivity read for Hills of Heather and Bone but since I was one of the last people to read it, I didn’t have much else to add except for a few remarks that would add more flavour to the story. The book has been edited at least once more since I read it so I won’t go into details.

I immediately fell in love with Morana and Percy. They’re a married couple living in a tiny village with their chickens. Percy is a healer while Morana has the power to speak with the dead. She can’t talk openly about her powers since necromancy is seen as something evil, while it’s not. The authorities end up finding her and they have to flee.

Andrews knows what’s she’s doing, crafting a vibrant and dark world which feels daunting and intimate, beautiful and terrifying at once. The character dynamics are great, and all have their own story and growth. Despite the high stakes, it still has cozy moments, the moments between the battles, the intimate times Morana and Percy share. You see the daily lives of the people they meet, the inner workings of the magic system, and you’ll meet the (in)famous chicken, Morhenna, the best chicken companion anyone could wish for. It’s slow to medium paced book but I appreciated every second of it. The action scene held me tight, especially the ones later in the book. Don’t let the sweet and still moments fool you, Morana can throw a punch when needed.

I really enjoyed Hills of Heather and Bone and am sad this is the only book planned with this magic system. It’s wonderfully done and more extensive than you see here. Definitely pick this up if you’re looking for character focused fantasy, intricate magic systems, necromancer, and women coming into their own power.

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