The Bone Doll’s Twin

Posted by : atcampbell | On : July 2, 2002

The Bone Doll’s Twin by Lynn Flewelling

Twelve people attended this discussion in person, and two others submitted comments by email. The topic of this meeting was The Bone Doll’s Twin, a recent fantasy novel by Lynn Flewelling. The complicated plot is hard to summarize, but it involves evil kings, wizards, prophecy, war, sexual confusion, and a haunted doll. Nine of us had read this book, and two had read prior works by Flewelling.

Several of us enjoyed this book a lot. We felt the author’s clean writing style led to a fast reading experience. The sword fighting sequences were fun. We liked the characters with moral ambiguity. One person felt the king’s moral dilemmas were comparable to the biblical King Herod’s. This book starts out as dark fantasy and gets increasingly darker, verging on horror at times.

The rest of us found this book less enjoyable. All the characters in this book are evil to some degree, and we had a hard time finding anyone to root for. The use of pronouns to describe the confused prince/princess was awkward. The pacing of the story seemed a bit off, likely due to this being the first book in a series. The plot didn’t really get moving until about a third of the way into the book, and the ending was abrupt and unsatisfying. A major character is injured near the end of the book in a confusing manner, and we’re not sure whether he’s alive or not.

The Bone Doll’s Twin primarily appealed to those who normally like dark fantasy. About half of us plan to read its sequel. After the meeting we had a nice dinner at Threadgill’s.

–A. T. Campbell, III