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California Bones Hardcover – June 10, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (June 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765328550
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765328557
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Daniel Blackland, a professional (if fairly small-time) thief, is hired by his uncle, a crime lord, to break into a supposedly impenetrable stronghold and steal something so rare, so important, that others will kill to get it back. Sound like a typical caper novel? Let’s add in some details. Daniel is the son of a powerful magician who was killed many years ago by the Hierarch, the ruler of the Kingdom of Southern California, and the object he’s trying to steal is a sword, made by Daniel’s father, that possesses the magical essence of Daniel himself. This wonderfully imaginative story is set in an alternate-reality Los Angeles that will seem both familiar (the author mentions Topanga Canyon and Rhino Records) and weirdly unusual (the city has an elaborate canal system, like that in Venice, for example). In this world, the bones of magical creatures contain remnants of their powers; if you consume these ancient bones, or the bones of magical people living today, you acquire their magical properties (when the Hierarch killed Daniel’s father, he, um, ate him). The story is structured like a caper novel, and fans of stories about heists will enjoy it, but its fantastical elements make it an absolute must for urban-fantasy readers, too. --David Pitt

About the Author

GREG VAN EEKHOUT is the author of one previous fantasy novel for adults, the mass-market original Norse Code. He is also the author of two middle-grade SF novels, Kid Vs. Squid and The Boy at the End of the World (a finalist for the Andre Norton Award). He lives in San Diego, California.


More About the Author

Greg van Eekhout writes novels for adults and young readers, typically characterized by mayhem, banter, weirdness, and action. His first novel, Norse Code, was a finalist for the Locus Award for Best First Novel. His middle-grade novel, The Boy at the End of the World, was a nominee for the Andre Norton Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy award.
He lives in Southern California, where two seismic plates crash into each other and give rise to disaster and mayhem.

Customer Reviews

Many of the characters are surprisingly well developed, unique individuals.
R. C. Bowman
I have thoroughly enjoyed this story, it has a great pace, great concept, fantastic vision of a Fantasy California and well written characters.
Disciple of Poseidon
California has such a history of crime noir fiction that it was about time we saw an alternate universe fantasy type noir in this setting.
Talvi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Wiles Parker VINE VOICE on March 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Greg van Eekhout's California Bones is part heist, part urban fantasy, and part dystopia with a generous side of action, magic, and adventure. The author shows a lot of potential to entertain while crafting a complete story in an alternate setting with the same problems commonplace in society. This is the story of Daniel who has magic in his bones courtesy of his osteomancer father who once fed him some Kraken bones so that he would have the magic of the creature available in his bones when he needed it. After the gruesome death of dear old dad, Daniel finds himself a bit of an outcast and ten years later he's surviving as a thief in Los Angeles. Daniel not only has magic, but smells of it which makes it possible to track him down. Faced with the threat of being controlled by the Heirarch, aka the guy who runs southern California, Daniel must assemble a crew and reclaim the sword his father made of and for his son.

California Bones may be marketed and targeted as an adult fantasy, but the author's pedigree as a writer for younger readers shows in a good way. This is one of those books that easily could have crossover success with young adult fantasy readers. The main players for the most part are just past their teens and Daniel's story is as much coming of age as it is dealing with the added responsibilities of being an adult. What makes the book great isn't just the accessibility of the story but the way the author pieces it together. Sometimes you're given the bare bones necessary to understand a situation to get the back story later when it helps flesh out events. Other times it's just a small factoid or connecting piece of information that helps create setting and make LA recognizable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By ShawnaLanne on July 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I can read a book, not like it it but still know that it's a good book. It doesn't happen often, thankfully, that I have to say good writing, awesome world building but, I'll pass. But this is one of those books.

This is a dystopian world where magic is consumed by grinding the bones of others. It's a coming of age, coming to terms and coming into power story. It was too dark all together for my personal taste, but a well written, original and imaginative book non the less. I think if this gets the right sort of marketing and word of mouth it could be a best seller.

It's original and well written, for selfish reasons I wish it were less so because it makes for a more difficult review. Selfish me.

I think this is an author to watch. I gave it four stars instead of two because I think it is an exceptional book that I just couldn't like.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lichter VINE VOICE on June 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
In Greg van Eekhout's California Bones, everything revolves around bones. Bones - human bones, the bones of animals, the fossilized bones of dinosaurs, the exceedingly rare bones of mythical creatures - capture and concentrate magic. Osteomancers -- practitioners of bone magic -- use their talents and skills to extract and channel the magic. They can conjure fire, make themselves invisible, enhance their own strength, or give strength to others.

The most powerful osteomancer in Southern California is the Hierarch, a brutal dictator who rules his small, independent nation with an iron fist ... and a silver fork. Why a fork? The way osteomancers sustain their powers and gain new ones is through consuming the bones and tissues of magical creatures. And people are creatures, too. This is why Daniel Blackland's most haunting memory is of seeing the Hierarch kill and eat young Daniel's father.

In the decade since his father's death, Daniel has done his best to keep under the Hierarch's radar. He survived first as the protégé of a crime lord and later as an independent thief. Now the crime lord wants Daniel back for One Last Big Score, and, even though it is absurdly risky, Daniel can't turn it down. The Hierarch has Daniel's sword, the sword his father made for him, and the Hierarch will use it against him if he doesn't recover it. So, Daniel gathers up his gang of misfit criminals and, together with a mysterious woman whose motives are unclear, proceeds with plans to raid the most perilous and secure vault in the land.

There's a lot to like about this novel. At the most superficial level, it's a fun crime caper novel with a lot of cool magic mixed in.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Disciple of Poseidon VINE VOICE on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Greg Van Eekhouts California Bones is a great story of a Fantasy version of California where the state has susceeded from the nation after a brutal civil war and is separated into two kingdoms, Northern and Southern California. Travel in these areas are possible through boats and a massive canal system, and the whole area is ripe with magic. Enter Daniel Blackland, an Osteomancer whose powers come from ingesting essences of other creatures. Daniel is a low level thief who is constantly on the run from the Hierarch, the ruler of Outhern California who through a nasty purge, consumed Daniel's father and caused his mother to go on the run, and possibly killed at the Northern California border. From here comes a story of a great heist, as Daniel gets hired to pull off a theft from the vault of the Hierarch himself. Daniel enlists help from his group of misfit friends, Moth, an almost invincible bulk with regenerative powers, fellow thief Cassandra and a sharpshooter named Josephine Alverado. I have thoroughly enjoyed this story, it has a great pace, great concept, fantastic vision of a Fantasy California and well written characters. I highly recommend this book to fans of Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim series, Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series and Justin Gustainis Occult Crimes series.
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