I don't review many books, but this new series is really excellent, and I can't wait to read more from author Scott Bury.
The Bones of the Earth, Part 1: Initiation Rites is the first novel by author Scott Bury. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to much more from him. I liked this coming-of-age epic filled with believable characters and situations, tense action, and mystical, magical elements. This is the story of Javor, a young man unknowingly destined to defend the world against evil forces pouring out of the east.
The story begins with a fertility ritual led by Vorona, the village witch and performed by the adolescent members of the village. Bury deftly accomplishes several things in this scene. First, he introduces the characters as typical young people, a bit confused about life, but eager to become adults. It also shows Javor to be naive, which makes his later ascendance even more appealing, as the reader sees how much he grows during the story.
Unaware of his destiny as a conqueror of evil, Javor gets his first taste of combat when Elli is captured by Avars, a pack of savage horsemen. He rescues her, exhibiting a both natural talent for fighting and an unshakable courage in the face of extreme danger. Javor returns a hero, and his life changes when he meets Photius, who convinces Javor to join him on a quest to drive evil from the lands.
The rest of the story is filled with intense action as Javor and Photius encounter a variety of monsters and creatures; each time Javor learns a bit more of just how powerful and capable he is. Eventually, Photius admits that he is part of a secretive group of warriors and that he believes Javor to be destined to join the group and lead the defeat of evil forces coming out of the east.
Bury does a great job here, combining violent, exciting action, with Javor's reluctance to accept his new role. Javor is a realistic young man, pulled in different directions by confusion about what he ought to do with his life. Still, and perhaps despite Javor's reluctance, we see him growing in power and confidence, and he eventually starts to accept, and thrive in, his new role.
The violence, combined with several scenes in which Javor is intimate with female characters, makes this more suited for older teens. The novel also contains many characters, which help give it a foreign feel. This makes it initially difficult to keep track of them, but it becomes clear after a few chapters.
The real strength of The Bones of the Earth is that Bury has created a realistic character chosen by fate and destiny, who is able to fight magical, mystical forces with his very human strength, skill, and determination. I look forward to reading more of this series.