ARC Review: Hills of Heather and Bone by K.E. Andrews

Hills of Heather and Bone

Hills of Heather and Bone by K.E Andrews, a cozy necromancer fantasy featuring a really sweet and caring husband and wife with different magic trying to survive and find a safe place for their unborn children.Series: Standalone

Author: K.E. Andrews

Genre: Fantasy

Book Description:

The bones of the dead hold stories.

On the fringes of Errigal, Morana longs to exchange a life of hiding for a peaceful one with her husband, Percy. While Percy’s bloodgift lets him heal plants and grow broken bodies, Morana’s a boneweaver, despised and feared because she can hear bones and raise the dead. Morana doesn’t want to be seen as a villain from the old stories and instead spends her time gardening, writing the stories of the dead, and fending off a spiteful chicken.

Morana and Percy’s lives are shattered when a group of Failinis tasked with capturing boneweavers and rogue bloodgifted find them. On the run and battling the elements, ancient creatures, and the loss of all they called home, Morana and Percy search for any sanctuary left in Errigal. Morana must choose between the call in her blood or the family she holds so close to her heart if she and Percy are to survive.


I found the beginning a bit hard to get into. Too many chickens are introduced too quickly, before I know anyone, and I thought the garden was described in more detail than necessary at this point. A bit more description than I thought really necessary of the plantlife is a mark of the book throughout, though as a plantlover myself, I greatly enjoyed the way such things as dandelions and thistles – often thought to be weeds and killed or uprooted as infestations – are shown to be beautiful in their own right and a healthy part of the environment, not held in any disdain at all. The story is told in 1st person, present. This is one of my first times reading a book told in 1st person present (or present at all), and while it felt a little weird, it took me until more than half-way through the book before I really noticed. I think it was a very well-done 1st person present. However, I did have a bit of trouble figuring out who was speaking at times.

Both the main characters were enjoyable, though I did not connect to either of them very strongly. I was unable to see them, and while I liked them and they made sense, I did not feel like I knew them or felt how they must be how they were. Morana’s husband, Percy, is a healer and very likable. I would not say that his personality is the epitome of what it means to be a healer, and I did not care for the focus on study and how scientific exploration was mated to his magic and healing, but I see that in too many places to complain about it much (though that might also be why I’m complaining about it at all). Apart from that, his personality is definitely that of a healer. Being a healer isn’t just something he’s capable of, what he can do. It’s part of who he is, what drives and defines him, and woven seamlessly through all the other aspects of who he is. He’s the kind of healer who’s a healer, and not only does he not use his healing gift to harm, he’d rather not harm at all, ever, in any way. I really enjoyed this, and I don’t see enough of it. I really appreciated how his nature as a healer expresses itself in a constant desire to spend himself in healing Morana, who is afflicted with early arthritis.

I can’t say much about the romance between them, but I enjoyed the steadfastness of their relationship. Neither of them would ever give the other up, and while Morana is sometimes concerned about the fact that being close to her has brought a lot of difficulty and pain to Percy’s life, both of them are very sweet towards each other, though they do sometimes quarrel under stress. Percy is adamant that Morana must not give herself up so that the Failinis don’t hurt him, and she likewise won’t let him suffer if she can help it. I really enjoyed that joint loyalty.

“I’m not letting them take you,” Percy tells me, his hair plastered to his face and glasses broken.

“I don’t want you to get hurt,” I say, throat tight. I can’t let Percy die. “They want me, not you.”

“I’d gladly bleed for you if it means you’d be safe. When I make a move, run,” Percy whispers and kisses me. “I’ll be right behind you.”

I also really enjoyed the story of their relationship. I like the fact they got to know each other and married each other alone, with only the gods and nature as witness, and I really, really liked their wedding vows. (Yes, the narrative is interspersed with flashbacks, and I am very glad they were there).

“We swear by peace and love to stand,

Heart to heart, and hand to hand.

Beneath the eyes of the gods, both living and dead,

I vow to be at your side through this life and into the next.”

It’s such a lovely contrast to “til death do we part.”

Another thing I really liked and found quite touching was how much Morana and Percy care for their child, from the moment they know Morana is pregnant.

I felt kind of weird about the boneweaver stuff. Now, I know I knew that going into the book, so … but it still makes me feel a little odd. Not the part about the boneweavers being able to hear the voices of the dead, and a reason that I don’t think was brought up in the book why they might be hated occurred to me: they would be a very real threat to any corrupt aristocracy or other rulers, that might wish to kill or frame people, as killing someone is still not silencing them when you have a boneweaver around, and in many, many cases a boneweaver can probably determine who is the real murderer, and at least who is not. They could learn lots of things people don’t want known. So I’d expect them to be hated in many places, pretty much everywhere that aristocracies can manage to plant themselves and get others to follow them, and maybe others besides. But I feel a little weird about the raising of the bones of the dead. It just feels a bit wrong to me.

I want to know more about the gods and the mythology. In this world, the gods seem to be mostly (or entirely – some things weren’t quite clear, or I read too quickly) good, and death is not painted as the end to life and joy, something to be feared. But I want to know more about Arianrhod, the goddess of death. I want to know more about the gods and the war with the morrigans, and the history and how it all is.

“What if we can’t escape them? What if we aren’t strong enough?” I whisper.

“Then we’ll find each other in the Forest of Cadal, never to be separated again,” Percy says, the corners of his eyes creasing.

That thought doesn’t calm my fears but makes them worse. How can he sound so calm about death while I, a boneweaver, am afraid of it? Irritation prods me, and I want to snap at him, but I’m too exhausted. It’s not the dying that scares me, but losing Percy and being alone again. There’s always that chance that someday I’ll feel his life snap, sense his death, and be left with his ghostly voice clinging to me.

K.E. Andrews’ Website

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