Friday 31 May 2013

Doll Bones - Holly Black

Pages: 244
Publisher: Doubleday
Release Date: 9th May 2013
Edition: UK paperback/e-book, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: The Spiderwick Chronicles, Tithe, Valiant, Ironside, White Cat, Red Glove, Black Heart

Twelve-year-old Zach is too old to play with toys. Or at least, that’s what his father thinks.

But even though he stops hanging out with Poppy and Alice, stops playing with his action figures, it’s no good. There’s one toy that still wants to play with him. A doll that’s made with the bones of a dead girl.

The only way to end the game is to lay the doll to rest for ever. It’s time for a journey to Spring Grove cemetery. It’s time to grow up.

I’m a big fan of Holly Black’s gorgeously dark books so I was expecting a lot from Doll Bones. Sadly, it didn’t quite wow me as I was expecting it to.

Though I was slightly disappointed, there’s no denying that Doll Bones is a wonderful look at growing up and leaving some of the magic of childhood behind. I felt the strain on Zach of being pushed out of playing games and making up stories before he was ready and I hated his dad for it! In the end, he started to grow up naturally and as he should have by going on a mystical quest with his best friends.

Zach, Alice and Poppy’s quest was sparked by their imagination and furthered by a ghost and I wish that had happened to me when I was twelve! The importance of stories and the imagination was reinforced as they travelled from Pennsylvania to Ohio to put The Queen, who is a supremely creepy doll, to rest. I also loved how friction began to arise among the trio as a little more than friendship began to arise between Zach and one of the girls. Zach’s utter obliviousness and confusion was brilliant and heart-warming.

Holly Black’s stark, simple prose gave Doll Bones a vivid atmosphere and the moments with The Queen gave me chills. With the addition of beautiful black and white illustrations of scenes interspersed through the novel, The Queen and the ghostly goings on came alive (excuse the pun) and thoroughly creeped me out.

Doll Bones is a quick, sweet read with added chills and is the perfect bridge between children’s and YA.

Thank you to Random House/NetGalley for the review copies.



  1. So sorry this disappointed you, Sophie. I tried to read Tithe a while back but ended up DNF'ing it, sadly. Just couldn't get into it!

    This does sound intriguing so I'll have to keep an eye out for it. :)

  2. I keep seeing this on netgalley. and have thought at about reading. Holly black is pretty hit or miss with her books.
    Great fair review though.


  3. I got a random copy of this in the post and must say I do like the sound of it. Sounds quite creepy. Dolls sometimes creep me out though so I'll have to keep an eye on that. Sorry you were a bit disappointed but here's hoping her next book (which sounds amazing, by the way!) makes it up to you!

  4. Ooh--if the illustrations are anything like the cover, that must add a lot to the feeling of the book!


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