2 Book Reviews: The Bone Sparrow & And I Darken



I read two books this week and unfortunately I didn’t love either one of them.  They both started with great potential but I just couldn’t get into them.  Maybe it was because I had a crazy week and I couldn’t focus. I guess you can’t love every book.


The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

3.5 stars out of 5

This book was an interesting read. I enjoyed reading the different perspectives from the two main characters. Subhi, is ten years old and is living in a refugee camp. In fact, Subhi, was born in the refugee camp so it is all he has ever known. He is in there with his mom and sister while they wait for his dad. Subhi describes the horrible living conditions in the camp such as the lack of food and water, toilets, and the overcrowding. Jimmie lives in a nearby town and one night comes down to the camp and meets Subhi. Her mother is dead but left a book of handwritten stories that she can’t read so Subhi reads them to her. They become fast friends and Jimmie tries to convince Subhi to escape from the camp. A couple of complaints about this book is that the main characters are so young but talk and act way older. I didn’t think it made sense that Subhi could read but Jimmie couldn’t.  After all, Subhi hasn’t had much of an education. Also, this book is marketed to middle grade and YA but I don’t think middle grade readers would find this interesting. Some parts of it were violent (there is a riot and people are killed) and there was talk of refugees getting depressed and killing themselves. I am not sure the younger middle grade students would even know what a refugee camp is. There were some magical aspects of this story that I just couldn’t follow or understand.


And I Darken by Kiersten White

3.5 stars out of 5

I would give this book 3.5 stars. The author did a great job creating a detailed world and interesting characters. The first third of the book kept me engaged but the second third of the book seemed to drag and I just really lost interest. The last third of the book picked up and had a great ending. I did love the main character, Lada. She was such a strong female character but I am not sure in the 14oo’s, when the story takes place, she would have lasted long in a world dominated by men. I think if you like stories about countries fighting for control over each other and political games, then I recommend this book. It just wasn’t for me.

Goodreads summary of the book below.

Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.




4 thoughts on “2 Book Reviews: The Bone Sparrow & And I Darken

  1. La La in the Library says:

    That seems to be a new slant in Middle Grade, the violence. I don’t understand it. I have had a few people say that MG should be scary and I told them scary doesn’t have to equal graphic violence. I wish all Children’s publishers and editors had to take a mandatory class in child psychology. I feel that suicide has no business in MG either. I have read three MGs with suicide in them. Kids those ages worry too much anyway without giving them extra fears of what can go wrong with loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

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