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I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak; Ears, but I mustn't hear; Eyes, but I mustn't see. 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged mur I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak; Ears, but I mustn't hear; Eyes, but I mustn't see. 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman. As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder. But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly. June Hur's elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.


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I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak; Ears, but I mustn't hear; Eyes, but I mustn't see. 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged mur I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak; Ears, but I mustn't hear; Eyes, but I mustn't see. 1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman. As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder. But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly. June Hur's elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

30 review for The Silence of Bones

  1. 4 out of 5

    June Hur

    THE SILENCE OF BONES is, in part, my love letter to Korean history. I was born in South Korea, but I was raised in Canada, and spent all of my teenage years obsessing over British history, Jane Austen and BBC dramas. In short, I grew up knowing almost nothing about Korean history, except for the brief stories my parents shared with me, and the snippets I learned about whenever I managed to stay awake during Korean history class (back when I studied in South Korea). Then everything changed for me THE SILENCE OF BONES is, in part, my love letter to Korean history. I was born in South Korea, but I was raised in Canada, and spent all of my teenage years obsessing over British history, Jane Austen and BBC dramas. In short, I grew up knowing almost nothing about Korean history, except for the brief stories my parents shared with me, and the snippets I learned about whenever I managed to stay awake during Korean history class (back when I studied in South Korea). Then everything changed for me in 2015 when I, out of sheer curiosity, read further into Korean history – and fell madly in love with it. I was fascinated by everything and was gripped by a terrifying desperation to write a Korean historical mystery. I hesitated for a while, wondering if I, a Korean-Canadian ‘diasporan’, even had the right to write about Korea, and afraid that no one would be interested in a mystery set in a non-western country. It was the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement that finally gave me the courage to write. At the very heart of this book is a more personal story inspired by my family, a family dispersed. I spent nearly half my life living with my siblings in Canada, far away from my parents, far away from my relatives. And so, while I was writing this book, I found myself wrestling with two questions that always haunted me: What will it cost to keep family together when things are falling apart and everyone is scattered? And where is home when you live far away from those who have loved you for all of your life? Soon THE SILENCE OF BONES will be out in the world, no longer mine but belonging to the readers! I hope this book will introduce you to—or deepen your appreciation for—the complexity, depth and grandeur of Joseon Dynasty Korea. I especially hope that those who are homesick, like I was and still am, will feel less alone. CONTENT WARNINGS: violence | murder | misogyny | mention and description of animal abuse | mention and description of suicide

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    (Thank you Chels, I love you!) Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Spotify | Twitch (Thank you Chels, I love you!) Youtube | Instagram | Twitter | Blog | Spotify | Twitch

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amélie Zhao

    This book, you guys. My heart just filled with ten thousand rivers of emotions and tears. Set in Korea in the 1800s, TEN THOUSAND RIVERS follows the journey of Seol, a girl indentured to the police bureau who becomes caught up in an investigation of a murder. She quickly becomes entangled with the dark secrets and political intrigue surrounding the case. TEN THOUSAND RIVERS swept me away to ancient Korea, filled with misty mountains and hazy, foggy cities; paddy fields and oceans. June's writing This book, you guys. My heart just filled with ten thousand rivers of emotions and tears. Set in Korea in the 1800s, TEN THOUSAND RIVERS follows the journey of Seol, a girl indentured to the police bureau who becomes caught up in an investigation of a murder. She quickly becomes entangled with the dark secrets and political intrigue surrounding the case. TEN THOUSAND RIVERS swept me away to ancient Korea, filled with misty mountains and hazy, foggy cities; paddy fields and oceans. June's writing is so atmospheric, and sometimes I had to pause and close my eyes over the gorgeous imagery her prose evoked. Even better than the setting are the characters -- strong, wounded, yet brave -- and the relationships between them. It's not often that I get teary or feel sad reading a book -- but certain chapters of June's had me clutching my chest and reading the lines over and over again because they were just so perfect a delicate balance of hope and depth and grief. The book is filled with themes of courage, morality, feminism, and family relationships, each explored in such sweeping, lush ways. I'm so honored to have read an early version of this, and I cannot wait to buy this once it's out. A gorgeous debut.

  4. 4 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    "The dead are gone, yet we live in their shadows." representation: Korean (own voices) [trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers] ★★★★.5 THIS WAS SO GOOD. Firstly, the ATMOSPHERE and the SETTING were so well done. I could picture everything so clearly in my head (although this may be because I've watched so many historical k-dramas lol). Secondly, the MYSTERY was so well done and constantly kept me guessing. Thirdly, almost every other chapter had a plot tw "The dead are gone, yet we live in their shadows." representation: Korean (own voices) [trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers] ★★★★.5 THIS WAS SO GOOD. Firstly, the ATMOSPHERE and the SETTING were so well done. I could picture everything so clearly in my head (although this may be because I've watched so many historical k-dramas lol). Secondly, the MYSTERY was so well done and constantly kept me guessing. Thirdly, almost every other chapter had a plot twist so I was constantly on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out whether the reveals were reliable or not. And lastly, I just had a great time reading this. It was quick and fun while also tackling darker themes at the same time. trigger warnings: death, murder, loss of loved ones, mention of dying of starvation, mentions of suicide, being branded, sexism, classism, injured animals and animal death, torture and imprisonment, physical and verbal abuse, slavery, PTSD.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

    Where do I even begin with this review? This book is like nothing I’ve ever read. June Hur has officially become one of my favorite authors. The writing style was so detailed and immersive. I felt like I was a part of the setting and everything that went on in the book. I hardly ever read historical fiction but something about this book made me add it to my tbr without hesitation, and made it one of my highly anticipated of the year. Oh it also become one of my favorite books of 2020 and ever. Th Where do I even begin with this review? This book is like nothing I’ve ever read. June Hur has officially become one of my favorite authors. The writing style was so detailed and immersive. I felt like I was a part of the setting and everything that went on in the book. I hardly ever read historical fiction but something about this book made me add it to my tbr without hesitation, and made it one of my highly anticipated of the year. Oh it also become one of my favorite books of 2020 and ever. The book was so atmospheric and in the most amazing of ways. It’s set in Korea and it felt like a Kdrama unfolding in your mind’s eye and I can’t even begin to explain how exciting that is! Everything was absolutely perfect. I’m usually a fast reader but I wanted to take this journey slow. I wanted to take in every detail and everything that was shared. I wanted to piece together the mystery on my own as well. I wanted to be as much a part of the story as the characters themselves. The mystery was so complex! Seol spent the whole book collecting her own evidence and trying to solve this mystery and the further into the story we went, the more questions I had. I was left trying to solve things until the very end of the book. I guessed at a few things and some were correct but the overall feeling of having the mystery finally solved was overwhelming. The book had so many plot twists and I enjoyed every one of them! Seol was such a different character to follow but I enjoyed having her as a main character so much! She was so determined and never backed down. I don’t think the mystery would have ever been solved without her. She put so much on the line and proved to be the most loyal character. Nothing felt rushed in the book. I felt like we got everything at the perfect time, including Seol’s story. I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. It’s officially one of my favorite books and I urge you to read it. Content Warnings (the author’s listing on Goodreads): violence | murder | misogyny | mention and description of animal abuse | mention and description of suicide.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Diabolica

    I think I might start reading some more historical fiction because I really enjoyed this one. Or maybe I should just start reading fiction that isn't situated in America or Europe...? In either case, this was low-key an emotional ride and an extremely unexpected read for something in YA. I don't mean to bash YA books, but the lack of romance and the level of reflection in this book was astonishing Colour me shook. A bit background about our rollercoaster in question. If you are here for a ride of I think I might start reading some more historical fiction because I really enjoyed this one. Or maybe I should just start reading fiction that isn't situated in America or Europe...? In either case, this was low-key an emotional ride and an extremely unexpected read for something in YA. I don't mean to bash YA books, but the lack of romance and the level of reflection in this book was astonishing Colour me shook. A bit background about our rollercoaster in question. If you are here for a ride of reflection, a well-planned mystery, and plenty of independent musings this ride will be perfect for you. Buckle up as it will shortly begin. Before we embark on this ride (of a book), I would like to remind all passengers that our ride takes place in Joseon Korea (a detail that escaped me, till the Author's note), so it'll definitely be different than your usual read. I can definitely say that it was different from most of mine. As we slowly embark up our metal trail, I'd like to introduce you to a couple of faces that will follow us through the journey: Seol, and Inspector Han. I won't say that there was much character development, and if there was it was fairly subtle. I think while I liked Seol, I didn't strongly connect with any of the characters. If anything, I was just hoping for a happy end for the characters. To describe the ride itself, please be patient is what I'll say. The plot moves fairly slowly but fairly meticulously. There are a lot of workings and subplots (especially for a standalone) that Hur incorporates, while also painting the setting. So I found I'd lose interest if I stopped reading at any point, but the twists in this book were rather ingenious and caught me by surprise. Now if I can direct your attention to the rather interesting material used to build the ride, ceramics (ceramics is just for the metaphor, there's no double entendre here). The writing style was different. It was more contemplative and rightly so, because our MC was trying to solve a murder. That being said, there was a lot written about discrimination between the levels and against women. As well as about the principles the society relied on. There was a lot of talk about honour. Which was a quintessential part of the mystery, but also (at least I think) part of a message the author might have been trying to say (if there was one). I hope you've brought your tissues because the end of this ride might be a bit of a tear-jerker and your grown-up pants because the level of maturity to read this ending is unreal. Personally, I was not a fan of how it ended. I mean the perp was caught, which is great, but I otherwise dislike the fact that (view spoiler)[it wasn't a totally happy ending. Han died before he could see his older sister, and not to mention, he was still willing to keep his old life dead so that he continue is path of vengeance. (hide spoiler)] But this book really came as a shock to me. Especially because I found it in the teen section of my library's overdrive. It is very subtle (and artful) in the way that it integrates this story (a mystery story) during a historical period of persecution. The background had some but really no bearing on the key players (obviously the sentiments at the time dictated how the characters interacted and some of the motivations for some characters, but it wasn't a story about the key players in the prosecution). It wasn't a retelling, but rather a story of a serial murder at that time. I think the biggest surprise came from the focus to reunite family, which is a theme I've seen before, but not in the context that was brought in this book. I think there was a line in this book, when you are looking for someone the world becomes so immense (something like that) and this level of realism is something that came as a huge shock, a kick to reality and a maturing read. To top it off, there was no romance. SURPRISED? I know I was. I think this is literally a first for me in the world of YA. So that brings us to the end of our ride. I genuinely enjoyed the plot, it was a really good mystery and the context and setting were set amazingly well. While I didn't connect with the characters as well and really didn't like the ending, it is and amazingly well-written and well-thought-out novel.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elora Cook

    I had the utmost pleasure of reading this a while back and adored every word. June's writing is breathtaking, her characters pull at your heart, and her mystery is both alluring and constantly leaves you guessing! I am so excited that others will be able to read this beautiful book as well and that someone as deserving as June gets to have her words be out in the world. Everyone, you are doing yourself a favour by adding this book to your TBR!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lady H

    I have been looking forward to June Hur's debut for years, long before I became somewhat jaded by YA literature, and so I was not really expecting my expectations to be met, but I am so pleased to say that they absolutely were. The Silence of Bones is a vibrant, carefully researched, melancholic murder mystery that kept me reading for hours straight, until I lost track of time. Hur's writing is elegant and mature, as are her characters, who are all multi-faceted and complex. The mystery is intri I have been looking forward to June Hur's debut for years, long before I became somewhat jaded by YA literature, and so I was not really expecting my expectations to be met, but I am so pleased to say that they absolutely were. The Silence of Bones is a vibrant, carefully researched, melancholic murder mystery that kept me reading for hours straight, until I lost track of time. Hur's writing is elegant and mature, as are her characters, who are all multi-faceted and complex. The mystery is intricately crafted and genuinely interesting; Hur managed to weave her own characters into actual historical events and people in a skillfull way.

  9. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI ♠

    GUYS I AM LIVING FOR THESE CULTURALLY-CORRECT AND STUNNING COVERS OKAY . . . and now I feel weird because I truly SAW this cover, okay!! It was on Goodreads and it was beautiful . . . and now it's gone??? I am confused and devastated. a n y w a y s considering I am learning the Korean language, culture, and basically as much as I can about that country . . . yes, this is calling my name very loudly. yay we have a new cover . . . although I loved the first one better and I'm still super hyped for t GUYS I AM LIVING FOR THESE CULTURALLY-CORRECT AND STUNNING COVERS OKAY . . . and now I feel weird because I truly SAW this cover, okay!! It was on Goodreads and it was beautiful . . . and now it's gone??? I am confused and devastated. a n y w a y s considering I am learning the Korean language, culture, and basically as much as I can about that country . . . yes, this is calling my name very loudly. yay we have a new cover . . . although I loved the first one better and I'm still super hyped for this!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joshee Kun (조수아)

    Thank you, Macmillan, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. There are usually only three causes of murder: lust, greed, or vengeance. Among these three, vengeance is the most common. — Inspector Han Do you enjoy watching K-dramas, particularly those with vivid, historical settings and well-developed characters? Shows like Splendid Politics and Empress Ki can have as many as 40-50 episodes because they have multiple story arcs, but this debut novel will give you all th Thank you, Macmillan, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. There are usually only three causes of murder: lust, greed, or vengeance. Among these three, vengeance is the most common. — Inspector Han Do you enjoy watching K-dramas, particularly those with vivid, historical settings and well-developed characters? Shows like Splendid Politics and Empress Ki can have as many as 40-50 episodes because they have multiple story arcs, but this debut novel will give you all the delights of the genre with just 336 pages. I was excited to read this book when I first heard about it last year, so I'm glad that it exceeded my expectations. The Silence of Bones is about Seol, a 16-year-old girl who is indentured to the police bureau during the Joseon Dynasty. She misses her family dearly, particularly her brother who died around 10 years ago. In addition to her homesickness, she has to deal with much fear and anxiety as she helps the authorities solve a murder mystery. Seol finds herself under the wing of Inspector Han, a highly esteemed noble (and the head of the investigation). However, as they collect more pieces of evidence, Seol begins to doubt Han's integrity. Could he be the killer they were all looking for? Seol prides herself in her loyalty, but not even her faith in the inspector will keep her silent. For someone who was barely an adult, Seol had a tough life because of the political climate. Nonetheless, I loved the historical context of this book. Joseon's queen regent was like the counterpart of England's Bloody Mary, planning to sniff out all of the Catholics in the country. After Seol's father was executed for converting to Catholicism, her mother committed suicide. Then, Seol was exiled for three years and was eventually bought as a slave. The Christian in me mourned the deaths of the Catholic characters, but the Asian part of me understood the queen's refusal to embrace Western ideologies. The police officers generally didn't abuse Seol, but the conservative rules of Joseon society (e.g., men couldn't touch female non-relatives) obliged them to use her as a collector/handler of female victims. As a result, Seol wasn't a stranger to violence and death. I was surprised that she didn't let those noseless faces drive her to insanity. But if I remember correctly, Seol rarely smiled or laughed in the novel. Her circumstances were that dire. Most of Seol's moments of positivity were linked to Inspector Han. Seol respected him a lot and did whatever she could to prove her usefulness and competence. She believed that he was the very first person to look beyond her status as a servant, the first man who really saw her. These epiphanies hinted at a possible romance, making the plot more exciting. Most K-dramas (and YA books) feature couples to root for, so I'm sure that other readers will also see the chemistry between the characters. Inspector Han was a puzzle to me. I couldn't predict his actions because his feelings for Seol were as fickle as the wind. His hatred for Catholicism was perhaps the most consistent thing about him. One scene in the book almost made me despise Han. Seol's life was in danger, but he conveyed (or feigned) indifference. Still, Seol resolved to set aside her emotions and give him the benefit of the doubt. Until she found solid proof, she wouldn't abandon her friend and mentor. June Hur excelled at making me doubt the characters. Seol wasn't an unreliable narrator, so I knew that she wasn't the killer. On the other hand, Inspector Han, Lady Kang, Officer Shim, and even the mother of one of the victims were potential criminals. Seol's fellow slaves weren't necessarily innocent, either. There were so many suspects that I was tempted to look at the last page of the book. The tension was almost unbearable! My one, nitpicky problem was the repetitive use of the word "silence." Whether or not it was intentional, I couldn't unsee it. You can blame my career as an editor, which encourages me to notice such minor details. xD Overall, The Silence of Bones is one of my favorite 2020 releases. It's probably the best Korea-inspired work in my collection, so I can't wait to read June Hur's sophomore novel. Be prepared for a tragic yet beautiful ending. ;)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    This brilliant YA Historical Fiction deserves to be on everyone's TBR. Meticulously researched, richly drawn and resonating with multi-faceted characters, The Silence of Bones is one of the best YA books I've read in a long, long time. We're introduced immediately to our MC, Seol, who is just an absolute delight. She's strong, she's smart, she is independent despite her hard circumstances, and she is fantastically HUMAN. June Hur really has an understanding of how people think and feel, and this This brilliant YA Historical Fiction deserves to be on everyone's TBR. Meticulously researched, richly drawn and resonating with multi-faceted characters, The Silence of Bones is one of the best YA books I've read in a long, long time. We're introduced immediately to our MC, Seol, who is just an absolute delight. She's strong, she's smart, she is independent despite her hard circumstances, and she is fantastically HUMAN. June Hur really has an understanding of how people think and feel, and this is never more apparent than in Seol's head. Author June Hur has also woven an intriguing mystery, one that will keep you guessing until the very end. (Also, PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK, JUNE!) Overall, if you want a brilliantly woven and researched historical fiction, you couldn't do better than this AMAZING book!

  12. 5 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    If you love the idea of a murder mystery with no romance, is carefully plotted, and set in 1800's Korea, then you'll love this excellent debut. - Follows Seol, an orphaned sixteen-year old girl who is an indentured servant at the police bureau. When a noblewoman is murdered, Seol assists an inspector to find the murderer - only to find that the murder mystery will uncover Seol's past and the secrets within her family. - I thought this was incredibly plotted and well-crafted. I liked how thoughtfu If you love the idea of a murder mystery with no romance, is carefully plotted, and set in 1800's Korea, then you'll love this excellent debut. - Follows Seol, an orphaned sixteen-year old girl who is an indentured servant at the police bureau. When a noblewoman is murdered, Seol assists an inspector to find the murderer - only to find that the murder mystery will uncover Seol's past and the secrets within her family. - I thought this was incredibly plotted and well-crafted. I liked how thoughtful this mystery was; that it was more than just a murder mystery, but one that was also emotional and melancholic. - I loved how this book transports the reader to 1800's Korea - not only in atmosphere, but also in how the story intertwines with ideas of gender and class of the time. - The ending was 'predictable' - but in a very good way! In a way that was built up and developed wonderfully and was incredibly satisfying at the end. Trigger/content warning: (view spoiler)[gore, murder, death, corpses, bodily mutilation, torture (hide spoiler)]

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joey T

    The beginning was really slow but by the end I couldn’t put it doooooown 😩😰

  14. 4 out of 5

    laurel [suspected bibliophile]

    I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak; Ears, but I mustn't hear; Eyes, but I mustn't see. Sixteen year-old Seol has been indentured to the police bureau for one generation. She'll be 41 when she's finally released, and after a failed escape that leaves her branded, she's nearly resigned herself to a life of drudgery. Until a noblewoman is found murdered with her nose cut off, and her murder may be connected to the un-investigated deaths of several lowborn men and women who also died in a similar fash I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak; Ears, but I mustn't hear; Eyes, but I mustn't see. Sixteen year-old Seol has been indentured to the police bureau for one generation. She'll be 41 when she's finally released, and after a failed escape that leaves her branded, she's nearly resigned herself to a life of drudgery. Until a noblewoman is found murdered with her nose cut off, and her murder may be connected to the un-investigated deaths of several lowborn men and women who also died in a similar fashion. Only Seol thinks they're connected, and Seol's past may contain all the answers. I normally don't read historical fiction mysteries, but this was pretty good. The writing sucked me in despite myself (I was a little leery on this one). The writing is beautiful, and Seol's voice is strong, passionate and what I would imagine a teenager of 1800 Korea to be like. She's bright and too curious for her own good, and her unfortunate habit of eavesdropping tends to bring her more trouble than she imagines. Without giving any spoilers away, I did like slowly finding out the mystery of her past, and I thought that it was very well done. A young child can forget some traumatic things that happen, but remember others, and can also forget key details like who their parents were or what happened or the names of their siblings, particularly if they are only referred to in honorifics. And I also liked reading about this aspect of Korean history, with the persecution of Catholics and the tension between the Asiatic and European worlds, and the tensions within Asian countries as well, and how it affected Seol in small and large ways. I also enjoyed her relationship with Inspector Han, and her realizations that good can mean many different things, and that most people are in shades of grey and are neither wholly good nor bad but can be motivated either way. Your inspector is like every other aristocrat. His kindness is conditional. So Long as you please your inspector, do what he tells you, he will treat you like his sister. But upset him, and you become again a mere slave to him. And that witness testimony can be flawed, particularly testimony that is "revealed" under torture. And, of course, the invisibility of women played a key role in this book. Seol was enslaved, and worked with other damos who were in a similar situation but well-educated, and for the most part they were ignored by their male counterparts unless they were wanted for something. The investigative and forensic techniques were also really fascinating to read and learn about. Anywho, this was solidly plotted, well researched and thoroughly engaging. It's not usually a genre I pick up, but I'm happy I gave this one a chance. I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelsea

    Friends, I’ve been wanting to read The Silence of Bones since I first read the synopsis half a year ago, so you bet I squealed when it arrived in the mail! And guess what? IT’S JUST AS AMAZING AS THE PREMISE PROMISES! 🥳🥳🥳 It’s an #ownvoices YA historical thriller (hello perfect genre) set in 1800 Joseon (Korea). I absolutely loved the MC, Seol. She’s smart, determined, ambitious, curious, loyal, compassionate, and obsessed with finding the truth. She’s 16 and indentured to the police bureau, wher Friends, I’ve been wanting to read The Silence of Bones since I first read the synopsis half a year ago, so you bet I squealed when it arrived in the mail! And guess what? IT’S JUST AS AMAZING AS THE PREMISE PROMISES! 🥳🥳🥳 It’s an #ownvoices YA historical thriller (hello perfect genre) set in 1800 Joseon (Korea). I absolutely loved the MC, Seol. She’s smart, determined, ambitious, curious, loyal, compassionate, and obsessed with finding the truth. She’s 16 and indentured to the police bureau, where she becomes involved in a murder investigation. It was fascinating watching Seol do everything she could to investigate and solve the murder, not an easy task in a society strongly divided by class and rigid gender roles (both of which were written so, so well). Seol forms a connection with the lead inspector... but then he becomes the chief suspect. I loved watching her loyalty war with her sense of justice. And the ending was perfect! I highly recommend this phenomenal debut!! Thank you Fierce Reads for sending me a free hardcover of the book. All opinions are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Merie Shen

    Looking around at all the other reviews of this book, not to mention after reading said book, I feel this incredible pressure to write a deep, eloquent, shining review worded as carefully and breath-takingly as the novel itself. Unfortunately, I possess neither the skill nor talent to do so. I'd rather have the author's prose speak for itself, if you'll excuse me for saying. But yes, this book was beautiful, and riveting, and atmospheric, and so well-written it scared me. Are debuting authors real Looking around at all the other reviews of this book, not to mention after reading said book, I feel this incredible pressure to write a deep, eloquent, shining review worded as carefully and breath-takingly as the novel itself. Unfortunately, I possess neither the skill nor talent to do so. I'd rather have the author's prose speak for itself, if you'll excuse me for saying. But yes, this book was beautiful, and riveting, and atmospheric, and so well-written it scared me. Are debuting authors really supposed to write like this? Why do these people have to set the bar so high? Anyway, let's move beyond the fantastic prose. The characters were amazing. I had no expectations for Seol, none whatsoever, because um hello YA genre. But Seol was such a great refreshing change of voice! She actually acts her age, wow? And her bright curiosity made for one of the best types of heroines! I wish she had more of an arc, personally, but I can't really complain. Besides, I think the author meant to draw more attention to Inspector Han's arc, which was done... so well... I can't even. (If that's not what she meant to do then... welp, I can be an overthinker at times) The myyysteryy! So well done! I loved it! There are a number of suspicious characters encountered throughout the story, and soooo many instances of madly wondering who the real culprit could be-- especially if you're like me and automatically suspect each and every character who appears-- and yeah, I was pretty invested. It was a bit spooky at times, kind of bloody, but never too graphic. I appreciate that. The themes for me were kind of muddled behind all the imagery and the plot, and I'm confused about the message/s conveyed through the overall story, but there were definitely things to take away. I especially liked how the author portrayed Christianity in this historical fiction. Seol's attitude toward Catholics, though it goes through several changes of its own, felt so real! Parts of it were still sobering and saddening though-- I (shamefully) have never known about that particular period of anti-Christian persecution until I read this book. I love that the author portrayed both sides of the conflict, with Seol being caught in the middle, and I would've liked to see that further expounded on-- but that's just me. So yes, 5/5 stars and I'm definitely getting a physical copy. Thanks so much, June Hur, for bringing historical Korea to life! Always be a happy camper!

  17. 4 out of 5

    shri (sunandchai)

    Full review on my blog! I want to start off with a thank you to the publisher, Feiwel and Friends, for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Silence of Bones is one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, and I could not contain my excitement at the chance to read it. Seriously, I dropped my entire TBR just to dig into The Silence of Bones. And lads, it did not disappoint. I went in expecting a dark and generally typical who-done-it murder mystery with an interest Full review on my blog! I want to start off with a thank you to the publisher, Feiwel and Friends, for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review. The Silence of Bones is one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, and I could not contain my excitement at the chance to read it. Seriously, I dropped my entire TBR just to dig into The Silence of Bones. And lads, it did not disappoint. I went in expecting a dark and generally typical who-done-it murder mystery with an interesting setting: 1800s Korea. I came out with tears in my eyes and a weight lifted off my soul. My opinion of mystery/thrillers in YA leave something to be desired. I mentioned this on Twitter, but the genre is often diluted or pushed to the side to accommodate a romance plot because that’s what the industry says will sell. The Silence of Bones not only brings something fresh to YA mysteries, but also transcends most adult mystery novels I’ve read in the past.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kat Cho

    June Hur paints a beautiful picture of Joseon Korea in her gripping historical mystery novel. An intriguing tale that touches on class, honor, the value of one's beliefs, and the lengths one is willing to go for loyalty and family. Hur presents such a vivid portrayal of the Joseon Era that it's like stepping back in time. With its breathtaking prose and complex characters, this mystery novel is sure to keep you guessing until the very end!

  19. 4 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    3.5 Stars Review to come!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    3.75 I'm glad I decided to pick this one up! It was kind of a different read for me considering this is a historical Korean story set during the Joseon Dynasty- it had a great murder mystery plot with political and religious intrigue- along with tales of classicism, family, and the budding desire to be more than the role fate assigned. The h, Seol, had a wealth of curiosity and inner strength that made her journey from a novice police damo to a budding investigator in her own right a great re 3.75 I'm glad I decided to pick this one up! It was kind of a different read for me considering this is a historical Korean story set during the Joseon Dynasty- it had a great murder mystery plot with political and religious intrigue- along with tales of classicism, family, and the budding desire to be more than the role fate assigned. The h, Seol, had a wealth of curiosity and inner strength that made her journey from a novice police damo to a budding investigator in her own right a great read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    5 stars to The Silence of Bones. It is an exceptional mystery thriller.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    I tried getting into this book but after a misunderstanding involving what the book was actually about and what the author actually said...I just lost interest? I'm definitely not a mystery reader so this rating is based on my lack of interest and in no means, a reflection of the book being good or not. DNF 30%

  23. 4 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    This took on way more than I was expecting. I knew we would get (and we did get it) a murder mystery set in Korea but what I did not expect was the persecution of Catholics and other Western ideologies to be such a main issue. I knew that the conflict between East and West cultures has always been a battle but I have never seen it highlighted in a YA book before so that was incredibly unique and memorable. The characters' lives are so messy and entangled to an extent many of them don't even know. This took on way more than I was expecting. I knew we would get (and we did get it) a murder mystery set in Korea but what I did not expect was the persecution of Catholics and other Western ideologies to be such a main issue. I knew that the conflict between East and West cultures has always been a battle but I have never seen it highlighted in a YA book before so that was incredibly unique and memorable. The characters' lives are so messy and entangled to an extent many of them don't even know. There was no way for me to easily guess who the murderer was when I was simultaneously trying to figure out who the orphaned son is, is the orphaned son the popo guy, is the popo guy the mc brother? It wasn't particularly fun to read about women being told by their families and cultures that they should kill themselves if they do not follow the path society has set for them. I honestly really appreciated the honesty of a lot of elements in this whole book. Rep: Canadian-Korean author with a book set in Korea with Korean characters

  24. 5 out of 5

    Liz Lawson

    I finished THE SILENCE OF BONES last night, late. This book is phenomenal. It's a well-paced, well-plotted mystery, but it's also so much more than that. It's an exploration on family, about what loyalty means, and is just gorgeously written. I felt like I was in 1800's Korea, traveling alongside Seol. I could not recommend this book more highly -- I'm so excited for it to get into the world and for other people to have the opportunity to read it. An absolutely stunning debut.

  25. 5 out of 5

    caitlin ✶

    if I had to pick my second fave book of the year so far, this’d be it ❤️❤️ the atmosphere & writing are so good—you will seriously feel transported to Joseon Era Korea while reading this the main character Seol is written so well. It’s hard to give a low-born servant girl a touch of rebelliousness and agency, but in this case, I perfectly understood why Seol did everything she did, despite being groomed all her life to be submissive and unimportant my only complaint is that I wish the pieces of th if I had to pick my second fave book of the year so far, this’d be it ❤️❤️ the atmosphere & writing are so good—you will seriously feel transported to Joseon Era Korea while reading this the main character Seol is written so well. It’s hard to give a low-born servant girl a touch of rebelliousness and agency, but in this case, I perfectly understood why Seol did everything she did, despite being groomed all her life to be submissive and unimportant my only complaint is that I wish the pieces of the mystery had been laid out better so that I could’ve had a better chance of guessing who the killer was, but maybe that’s just my lack of brain cells speaking. anyways, the killer reveal was still excellently done, & I undoubtedly recommend this!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    I’ve had time to gather my thoughts (and the pieces of my broken heart...) about June Hur's stunning debut TEN THOUSAND RIVERS which is the historical murder mystery of your D R E A M S. so now it’s time for some screaming. set in 1800's Korea, TEN THOUSAND RIVERS is told through the eyes of 16yo Seol, who is indentured to the local police (i'd die for her) this is genuinely one of the most immersive historical books I've read it ages. Every detail feels true. You're in another time entirely. Thi I’ve had time to gather my thoughts (and the pieces of my broken heart...) about June Hur's stunning debut TEN THOUSAND RIVERS which is the historical murder mystery of your D R E A M S. so now it’s time for some screaming. set in 1800's Korea, TEN THOUSAND RIVERS is told through the eyes of 16yo Seol, who is indentured to the local police (i'd die for her) this is genuinely one of the most immersive historical books I've read it ages. Every detail feels true. You're in another time entirely. This book is a master class in atmosphere. From the very first page, you’re inside the story. You can feel the mist on your skin and see the gloomy sky and you’re just as wrapped up in tension as the city that’s currently reeling from a horrifying murder. It’s stunning. Seol is an amazing protagonist. This isn’t one of those books where the mc is someone with a ton of clout and power—people constantly underestimate her, write her off, and flat out ignore her. And she twists that to her advantage. She CLAWS her way towards answers. It's. Amazing. I LOVED watching this fierce girl who everyone kept underestimating unravel the mystery right under their noses (haha, book joke). Even if you don't care abt the mystery (not possible, you will) you want her to win /so bad/ because you care about Seol so much it physically hurts. the sense of dread in this book is stunning. It’s there in the beginning, lingering. the deeper you get the more it builds, & it’s like this tug-of-war because you HAVE to know what happens but oh god if I keep reading something terrible will definitely happen and I AM NOT READY. The prose is gorgeous, but don’t let it fool you—parts of this book are genuinely terrifying. Hur isn’t afraid to go dark and explore what happens when humans are pushed back their breaking point. This book also expertly explores the way people can surprise or disappoint us when we cling to our own internal, romanticized image of them. When our shining, nostalgia-wrapped image is confronted with reality—and we realize that even the people we love have an ugly side. tldr; I loved this book. I'm still thinking about it weeks later. It will crawl inside your heart and set up camp and then break your heart and LAUGH. You'll want this in 2020. Trust me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sasha Nanua

    A fantastic, twisty tale following a murder investigation in 1800s Korea. If I could pre-order it right now, I would. I am so excited for the world to read this book in 2020! Congrats, June!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    This was a little slow moving, but ultimately was an enjoyable book. June Hur tells the story of Seol, a young woman indentured to the police force in a town in 1800s Korea. Seol is the youngest of three siblings who were exiled for reasons that are gradually revealed in some detail over the course of the book. The siblings have lived quiet lives, and several years earlier her elder brother and sister fought, and her brother left them, never to be heard from again, and Seol desperate to find him This was a little slow moving, but ultimately was an enjoyable book. June Hur tells the story of Seol, a young woman indentured to the police force in a town in 1800s Korea. Seol is the youngest of three siblings who were exiled for reasons that are gradually revealed in some detail over the course of the book. The siblings have lived quiet lives, and several years earlier her elder brother and sister fought, and her brother left them, never to be heard from again, and Seol desperate to find him. When, years later, money was scarce, Seol’s sister indentured Seol to the police. Seol was not happy, and left to look for her missing brother. Thought to be an escapee, she was branded when caught and returned to work. Seol works as a damu, a female servant/assistant to one of the investigators. Male police officers were not allowed to touch female suspects, so damu were vital during investigations. At the start of this story, a young, wealthy woman is found dead and mutilated, and investigator Han and Seol are assigned. During the long and complicated investigation, we find out a little about the dead woman, who was a convert to Christianity, which, is illegal. We meet a variety of people also to whom the dead woman’s secrets, including her religious beliefs and her sexual relationships, would be harmful. During all this Seol feels she must dig deeply into people’s statements and motives, and not be swayed by political pressures; she ends up making breakthrough after breakthrough on the case, thanks to her role as a damu, which allows her to interrogate various women involved (and ignored by other investigators) with the case. Running through all this is Seol’s constant feeling of loss for her brother, and the pain she feels for the people suffering as a result of her quest for the truth. Seol is fabulous; she has an unshakeable core of integrity and this leads her to make hard decisions. She has a keen eye, and despite her two investigations (dead woman and her brother) causing her a lot of pain, I loved how she stuck to her plans. This was a fascinating look at a tiny piece of Korean history I knew nothing about, and not only was the murder investigation full of what I enjoy (false leads and political tampering), I enjoyed watching Seol keep going forward. And the story’s ending was both heartbreaking and gratifying.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    I love a mystery. This story has mystery written all over it. It is set in the early 1800s in the Joseon Korea era. An orphaned 16-year-old, Seol is indentured to the police bureau and works for the inspector as his assistant on a suspicious and intriguing murder case. This 16-year-old can't read or write but has the curiosity of a wild cat. One thing leads to another and another and ... Thank you June Hur for putting this grand story to print and sending me this outstanding, well-written book t I love a mystery. This story has mystery written all over it. It is set in the early 1800s in the Joseon Korea era. An orphaned 16-year-old, Seol is indentured to the police bureau and works for the inspector as his assistant on a suspicious and intriguing murder case. This 16-year-old can't read or write but has the curiosity of a wild cat. One thing leads to another and another and ... Thank you June Hur for putting this grand story to print and sending me this outstanding, well-written book to me free from Goodreads.

  30. 5 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: torture The Silence of Bones is full of action packed mystery set in a detailed setting of 1800 Korea. I wasn't prepared for the mystery elements, but as soon as I saw them I was hooked (I try not to read the summary before reading so I don't accidentally spoil myself). Seol is inquisitive in a world which prides silence and obedience. So I basically fell in love with Seol fro (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: torture The Silence of Bones is full of action packed mystery set in a detailed setting of 1800 Korea. I wasn't prepared for the mystery elements, but as soon as I saw them I was hooked (I try not to read the summary before reading so I don't accidentally spoil myself). Seol is inquisitive in a world which prides silence and obedience. So I basically fell in love with Seol from the beginning. She can be impulsive and her curiosity can get her into trouble, but above all she's passionate and determined. Seol exists in a culture that dismisses her skills and potential because she's a woman. As a whole, honor and family loyalty is valued. Acting as a servant in the police bureau, Seol is tasked with interacting and moving the female victims because of propriety. But Seol becomes immersed in a murder case that transcends secrecy, religion, and jealousy. Seol begins unraveling mysteries and asking people no one else can. The Silence of Bones is a multi-dimensional mystery that celebrates curiosity and asks questions of loyalty. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

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