Review: The Map of Bones

The Map of Bones
The Map of Bones by Francesca Haig
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

Where The Fire Sermon was an excellent start to this brilliantly conceptualized series, The Map of Bones was a letdown. I was interested in how they would resolve the world, how the problems of the twinning and the imminent tanking of the Omegas would be overcome. But the first half of this book was slow – it dragged on to nowhere, gaining nothing much with respect to plot or character. It was so boring that I stopped multiple times till I reached the middle, where the plot started gaining momentum. The Council has been implementing measures to tank the Omegas, yes, but they also have another agenda in mind. Cass is still plagued by her dreams of the blast and now the deaths of people on the island, and of Kip. She is mourning him in the first half, yes, and I get that it was an important step in terms of character development, but in actuality the change comes at the climax of the book, when she realizes the meaning of living.

Though I was mostly dissatisfied with the pace of the book, the introduction of the Ark in the second half and the unraveling of another of Zach’s plan almost made up for the sheer boredom of the first half. And I liked that it went into a little more detail about the origins of the twinning, though not as much as I would have liked. It does make sense from the narrator’s view to not understand what is, for them, arcane knowledge. The introduction of the new element (spoilers) towards the end does imply some hope for the series, and how that plot thread will be pursued should be interesting. In simple terms, this was not a worthy sequel but I am not giving up on this series.

Received a free galley from Gallery Books, via Netgalley, for review purposes.

Previous books in series

The Fire Sermon

View all my reviews

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