I just finished this book two minutes ago – and by the way, I’m writing this review on the last day of December, 2018 so Happy New Years Eve! – and before I forgot everything that I just read, I thought I would write down my thoughts while everything is still super fresh!
Before I do delve into that, I will quickly provide y’all with a synopsis that can be found on Goodreads:
Dr. Emily Norton is a recent med school grad starting her surgical residency at a renowned hospital in Baltimore. She’s dedicated her life to science and reason–so when she receives a supposedly magical amulet from an eccentric neighbour, she ignores the old man’s warning.
Almost immediately, Emily’s well-planned world begins to unravel. At first, the problems are minor, like finding herself in trouble with the hospital administration on her first day at work. But soon Emily is dealing with much bigger issues, from losing her job and fiancé to being framed for a patient’s suicide.
As Emily struggles to comprehend the amulet’s strange effects, she also faces a dilemma about coincidence and fate: none of these disasters could have been caused by a mere amulet, right? Because everyone knows: there’s no such thing as magic.
Desperate and confused, Emily will need to use every bit of her reason, love and faith to confront and conquer the cursed amulet–even if it means forsaking everything she’s ever believed.
At turns darkly suspenseful and playfully lighthearted, More Than Bones chronicles Emily’s mystical journey with humour, empathy, and more than a few surprises.
Narrative and Characters
I don’t know what I thought to expect in More Than Bones but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The narrative is from the perspective of the main protagonist, Dr. Emily Norton, who had just moved to a new city and was completely ready to begin a new chapter of her life in Baltimore. She finds herself roommates in a glorious mansion with an eccentric landlord, Norton Theodore Wharton, who is as fabulous as they come. A strange interaction with an old man and the benefactor of a 300-year-old amulet as a result, Emily finds herself the victim of a series of unfortunate events (did you see what I did there?).
I thought that there would be more focus on the magical amulet aspect of the narrative, but the amulet acts as more of a signpost to certain pivotal moments within Emily’s journey of self-discovery. I have to say that I quite liked how the amulet was interwoven in this way. Instead, the narrative is kind of slice-of-life but also suspenseful – when Emily becomes embroiled in the middle of a terrible tragedy that brings an awful secret into the public sphere. Singer’s ability to weave the realities of a physician in a busy hospital with the magical and a side dish of crime suspense, was really fantastic. For a debut novel, you can really observe the writing talent of Singer.
Where the narrative itself succeeds, the characters are a bit more underwhelming. Well, I shouldn’t say characters more character – the side characters in the narrative was hilarious, fun, strong and wholeheartedly themselves and I adored them. Honestly have not read a book where I fell in love with the chaotic side characters who bring love and support, and are sometimes assholes but are so with love. Instead, the character of Emily Norton was average. I found her to be quite average. I don’t know how else to say it, other than she came across as an unlikeable person who always seemed to lash out at people and kind of came across as slightly judgmental.
She was just too bland to read.
But it was a fun story to read, even if the protagonist was not the most enjoyable.
For a debut novel, Craig Singer shines. He is able to write an authentic and enjoyable narrative which brings everything one could ever want within a story. You have magic, doctors, friendships, a cat who is literally a queen (I will fight anyone who says otherwise) and a long journey of self-discovery and self-understanding. It was a great read and even though I did not fully enjoy the main protagonist as a character, More Than Bones was fun and an unpredictable read. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars and I have to say that I will be looking forward to any future works by Craig Singer!
That’s it for today, friends! Until next time, happy reading!
Craig David Singer is a physician and author living in Baltimore. A graduate of the University of Florida, Dr. Singer is a passionate sports fan, an incurable computer geek, and a music lover who cannot carry a tune despite his last name. He and his husband have traveled all seven continents in search of the perfect martini.
You can purchase More Than Bones tomorrow!