World of Shell and Bone Review by Robert Palmer
I just reviewed World of Shell and Bone by Adriana Ryan for NerdSpan. It’s a dystopian novel set in an Orwellian future run by a ruthless matriarchy. Vika Cannon, the heroine of the story, has to deal with pressures concerning her own fertility, her mother, and a rebellious husband in a world in which everyone is a snitch and a whispered word results in a death sentence. Acid rain, death trains, refugees struggling to survive in nuke-blasted wastes …
Sounds pretty cool, yeah? Unfortunately the story falls apart shortly after it starts and meanders to an unsatisfactorily saccharine ending. Still, the characters are strong (well, the main ones anyway) and the author at least attempts to paint a vivid picture of what living in a Stalin-esque post-apocalyptic world run by women would look and feel like. I was glad I picked the book up for free on Amazon but I can’t say that I was glad I slogged through the latter half of it — it just kept getting worse. The failings of the book are far too numerous for me to give it a recommendation. I won’t be reading the sequels — unless I hear they’re mind-blowing — and I won’t be re-reading this piece any time soon.
I will, however, keep an eye out for a second novel from Adriana Ryan (at least one that’s not set in the Wolrd of Shell and Bone universe) because her writing is mechanically strong and her voice is sometimes brilliant. It reminds me of my own a bit — vanity is sometimes a weakness — at least when I actually wrote fiction instead of selling my non for cash.