Thursday, October 24, 2013

[Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black]

"Doll Bones"
Author: Holly Black
Series: None
Pages: 244
Genre: Middle Grade, Horror
Date Published: May 7th, 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format Read: Hardback from the library


Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

My Thoughts:

In all honesty, I'm disappointed with this book.  I've read some fairly creeptastic MG novels before and I heard some people comparing this one to some of those (namely Coraline) and I just didn't get that vibe from this book at all.  It had moments where it was almost there, but then it didn't make the scary happen.  A lot was left to the imagination, which I love, but for some reason I just didn't connect with Holly Black's writing style.  In a way I think this is a heavy case of "it's not you, it's me".  The fact that I haven't been in Middle School for over 10 years might also have something to do with my reaction.

The kids were dealing with growing up and though I'm sure that some of their reactions to the things that happened to them were warranted, I couldn't get behind all of it.  I totally got how upset Zach was when his dad tossed his action figures out, I think we've all been there, but I didn't find the way he treated his friends after to be very honest.  Poppy and Alice  had their strong points, but they were so catty to each other.  It's a real part of being that age, but it grated on me as a reader that these girls were treating each other like they did.  Over all they were an honest hot mess, it just wasn't an honest that I enjoyed.

The adventure and using your imagination part of the novel was really well rounded.  I liked the games that the three friends played.  Creating worlds and stories out of thin air.  It was actually the most enjoyable part of the book for me.  In a way I think we all still seek adventure like that.  Black handled that youthfulness really well!

The Queen (as the call the old china doll) had so much potential to be scary.  I wanted to want to be scared, but I just wasn't.  The mythology behind the girl ghost in a doll is awesome and when the details actually come to light, they are the right kind of creepy.  Age appropriate and all.  But the things that happen before, didn't affect me at all.

I think this book would be great for middle grade audiences who don't like something too scary.  I can see someone else connecting with this book differently than I did.  In fact, I've seen a lot of positive reviews and it seems like I'm in the minority.  Plus, Zach's cat is named The Party, which is pretty much the dopest cat name ever, so there is that!     

2 Unicorns = It was okay, but something just didn't work for me!

Don't forget to head over to Read My Breath Away for an interview with "Asylum" author Madeleine Roux!


Unknown said...

sounds like a creepy read! liking the illustration on the book

The Young Bridget Jones

Giselle said...

I haven't read Coraline but I did watch the movie and it was creepy and awesome! I liked this one more than you did though I just love Holly's writing and the atmosphere her books have. I think I mostly forgave Zach's attitude due to his age. Kids can get pretty melodramatic like that and lash out to whoever. The doll! I think if this was a YA novel or one of those "MG for adults" kind of books it could have been really creepy. Maybe she toned it down to not freak out the actual target readers or something. I can't say I wouldn't have minded more creep factor either though I'm all about that! :D Great review, chickie!

Shelly said...

Aww I'm sad to see you didn't enjoy this one as much! I love Holly Black but I just haven't had enough time to get to read this one. I don't like anything too creepy as well so this one seems perfect for me. Great review! :)

Nicole said...

So I don't really read Middle Grade or Horror but I have this one on audio so I might wind up giving it a try regardless. I am actually happy to hear it's not too scary hah. But your not the only one who was disappointed by this one tho so my expectations aren't too high.