So today Kris and Jay are here doing a Buddy Review of A Ferry of Bones and Gold by Hailey Turner. After the summary, check out our chat about the book!
Patrick Collins is a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency, brought in when there is a crisis that needs his expertise. Despite the fact that his magic was weakened in battle three years ago, Patrick is still a skilled mage and an experienced fighter. Yet he also has a soul debt to the gods that means his life isn’t fully his own.
Patrick’s latest case brings him to New York City where a series of grisly murders show clear signs of dark magic and demon killings. It doesn’t take long before Patrick realizes that the Dominion Sect, the bad guys he fought in the war that injured his magic, are back, once again attempting to steal the power of a god.
While on the case, Patrick meets Jono, a werewolf without a pack. Patrick is attracted to Jono and all for their one-night stand, but he knows he can’t get seriously involved with the man. Patrick’s case is way too dangerous (Patrick’s life is way too dangerous) and he is too emotionally scarred for anything serious. Not to mention Patrick still owes a soul debt that makes a relationship impossible. But it seems that the Fates have different ideas, and they make it clear that Patrick and Jono need to stick together.
The case gets more dire and dangerous the further along they go. Patrick has called in all the reinforcements he can, but he knows the chances of them making it out of this battle alive are next to nothing. Patrick has begun to open his heart to Jono despite himself, and Jono is clear he is sticking by Patrick’s side. But between the evil sect, the deadly soul suckers, and magical attacks he can barely survive, Patrick is just hanging on. Now the men must fight against their enemies and hope there is something left standing when the battle is over.
Jay: So as soon as I started reading this, I was like whoa, the world building! Kris is going to be in heaven!
Kris: Yes!! Always with her. She does that so well. Just all the pieces that need to be there! I love Turner’s writing. Love love love. So descriptive and just pulls me right in.
Jay: I know that is one of your hot button issues so I knew you would go crazy here. The world building was amazing.
Kris: Plus myths? My heart nearly exploded. Turner really took the myths, turned them on their heads, and really just made it all work. Well, I should say turned them on their heads while still holding true to the core of the mythos.This is why I always love this author. The worlds are complete and so detailed, so it all makes sense.
Jay: Yes, I have to say, this was a long and very detailed book. I just couldn’t believe all the levels of lore and mythology and paranormal world building here. Every single element seemed so clearly thought out and developed, but at the same time, not a giant info dump.
Kris: Oh heh. Yes! So good at giving all the information without it feeling like a history lesson.
Jay: I was really impressed with the world Turner built here. I agree with you that it is an interesting mix of mythology (with a twist) and then a whole paranormal/urban fantasy world combined. It takes a really talented author to pull all those elements together so well.
Kris: Definitely. I also have to say I loved how the magic worked, and how the author would throw in…say the mageballs…and without much explanation, they fit perfectly and, as a reader, I understood exactly what was going on. I loved that there were consequences to the magic. Too often it’s like a cure all….and it can’t be that way if it’s supposed to work. So I loved that it had action and reaction and took a toll on the user and those affected by it. Total two thumbs up.
Jay: Yes, I agree. The magic and the way that worked was really creative and well developed. And the twists on wolves and packs, the vampires… There is a lot here that really came from a creative place.
Here is my tiny admission though (and this is really my only negative with the book). I found some of it hard to follow. The mythology aspect went over my head at times. I think if I had been more familiar with the lore of gods and goddesses it would have been easier. But I had some trouble following all these immortal beings (gods, fates, etc) that were playing a hand in here. I also had trouble keeping track of all the organizations and who worked where and what they all did.
I am a person who likes to GET it all right away, so a lot of this is personal. And I probably don’t need to understand every nuance. But there were places where I felt a bit lost. I will also note that there is a reference at the back with lots of definitions and explanations that I would have liked to have read beforehand, so heads up future readers!
Kris: Ah yes. i can see how that might be an issue. And I had a feeling you would say that, to be honest. I didn’t have that problem and as I was reading i thought, I can understand all this BECAUSE of my background and knowledge beforehand.
Jay: Yep. So some of it is lack of familiarity, some of it is me being a pain because I like to understand every detail and sometimes I let that bog me down when reading because it isn’t necessary. That said, some of the answers came by the end, I just wasn’t patient (who is suprised, lol).
Kris: I’ve glommed this stuff since I was a wee baby child, so I drew from that understanding to frame the book a bit.
Jay: Ok, so let’s move on to our guys. What do you think about the relationship?
Kris: I was totally into it. I loved the way they had that tension, that push/pull. I loved that Patrick tried to hold back, and that Jono was there to support him even if he also occasionally wanted to throttle him. I thought their chemistry was off the charts, and not just when it came to sex. Though also there! I also loved that it was about mates and pack without being fated. So there was kind of a slow burn there.
Jay: Yes, agreed! I loved them together. I liked that Jono was strong enough in his own right to not just stand up to Patrick when needed, but to be able to be there FOR Patrick too.
Kris: Yes, exactly. They worked, and they got each other, even when it wasn’t easy.
Jay: Because Patrick has issues, and he can push people away so easily. And to an extent for good reason. So I liked that Jono felt like a guy who could be a good partner for Patrick. And yes, total chemistry!
Kris: Absolutely. I think, for me, that’s why they worked so well. They’re both broken, in different ways, and their broken pieces fit together. Jono has his issues too, but he knows what he wants, trusts his patron and fate, and knows he’s in the right place. He accepts his fate without being a doormat and I loved that.
Jay: Yes, agreed. I am also a huge fan of “found family” stories, so I really liked the way that Patrick finds a family not just with Jono, but with Jono’s friends as well. He learns there are people he can count on and who will have his back. He had that a bit with Nadine, one of his coworkers, but he is basically alone. So I loved seeing him find his people.
Kris: Yes. I loved that they both needed something that the other could provide. Jono needed a pack and acceptance, and he found that in Patrick. Patrick needs support and caring, and he found that with Jono especially, but with Jono’s circle as a whole. Which brings me to the secondary characters, which is also something Turner excels at. Unique, individual, and all so important to the plot.
Jay: Yes, agreed! It is a big cast, and it could be so easy for them all to be a muddled mess. But they are each distinct and interesting. Some play bigger roles than others, but I felt like they all had a part to play and a personality of their own.
Kris: I never had a moment of wait, who is this? And I know I won’t have any trouble as the series continues remembering who they are.
Jay: Yes, and that can often happen in giant casts like this one. Also, as a weird aside, this is the third book I have read in about two weeks with a major character named Marek…
Kris: Ha! Oh my god, that is strange, especially because it’s not common.
Do you think the series follows these guys the whole time? I am thinking yes, given where we leave things. I am so interested to see their relationship further explored now that things are more solid with them.
Kris: Definitely the next book will, and I’m sure they’ll be major players throughout the whole series. I wouldn’t be surprised if other characters also get their moment in the spotlight and share POVs in the upcoming books. Both because of the Metahuman Files series (which brought in other MCs POVs), but also because of the way Turner set a few things up. Like I wouldn’t be surprised if Leon or Lucien ended up having bigger roles in the future, just as an example.
Jay: Ah yes, that will be interesting to see. I was thinking about Lucien (badass meanie vampire) when he was introduced….
I saw she is working on the next book now, so hopefully not too long a wait!
Kris: Woo! I love that. Waiting builds anticipation, but I don’t like to wait too long.There’s so much more to the story there, and to Patrick’s past. I know it’ll all come out eventually and all play a role.
Jay: LOL, yes you know me and patience!
Ok, so anything else? Or on to rating?
Kris: I loved the “twist” in the last third of the book, which I don’t want to give away, but I CAN NOT wait to see how that all plays out.
Kris: We know there is more coming with that. And I have a feeling it’ll only get way worse before it resolves.
As for rating, 4.75 stars! I love Turner’s style and unique world building. I love the characters and the plot. I thought the pacing was very good, though there were just a very few small moments where I thought okay, let’s get moving! Maybe that’s me being impatient though!
Jay: Yes, it is a long book and the earlier parts are not as fast moving as she is setting the stage for everything.
Kris: Yep, that’s where they were for me.
Jay: For me, I am going to go 4.5 stars. I was so impressed with the world building, the creative story, the interesting characters, etc. I just got hung up a bit on being a little overwhelmed at times. But props for such a well developed story and characters.
Kris: Valid assessment. Especially for readers like you who don’t have maybe the most solid knowledge of mythos and magic.
Jay: Anything else you want to mention?
Kris: I think we covered all the high points.