May 20, 2019

Book Review: The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale


Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

I was introduced to Peternelle van Arsdale's style with The Beast is an Animal.  I loved her dark, atmospheric writing that thoroughly immersed me in a strange world with frightening things at its edges.  That is true for The Cold is in Her Bones as well.  This is a story of friendship and loyalty, framed in an inventive Medusa retelling.  Milla and Iris's friendship takes center stage, which I found refreshing.  Milla is not especially special, not a "chosen one" character, but does the brave and scary thing when her best friend is taken by a demon.  Her journey into a dangerous magical world outside of her small circle of experience is a compelling one.  

The first time a snake slithered over her, she held her breath.  It wasn't fright that made her still.  It was delight.  The feel of snake scale on skin was so delicious it sent a tremor up her spine. The snake was slender and green and its tiny black eyes regarded her with a calm as well.

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