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Looking for an Enemies to Lovers Fantasy? Try Sofi and the Bone Song (book review)

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

GENRE: YA Fantasy LENGTH: 394 pages
PLOT
Sofi lives in a world in which only five musicians (known as Musiks) in the kingdom are allowed to compose and perform original music. She has trained her entire life to take her father's place as one of the next Musiks. When a girl without any natural talent, Lara, wins the spot instead she is convinced she used magical to cheat and plans to expose her.

CHARACTERS
While there are a good number of side characters really the only main characters are Sofi and Lara. They have an enemies to lovers and opposites attract romance. Sofi is disciplined, rigid, and has a superiority complex. Lara, on the other hand, is more kindhearted and optimistic. If you like characters like Elisabeth from S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong and Clementine from Rebecca Ross’s Dreams Lie Beneath then those are solid comparisons for Sofi. I really liked her character growth throughout the novel. Lara softens Sofi so much. I found Lara to be very cute. My only complaint was her motivations were a tad weak and delayed in terms of when we truly learn them.
Trigger warning this book does include an emotionally abusive parent. There is also a character who is implied to have committed suicide. While we do briefly see the body there are no graphic descriptions and we don’t see the death itself. Regardless, as someone with mental illness I believe these potential triggers are always worth mentioning.

NARRATIVE STYLE/PACING
The novel is told through Sofi’s third person perspective. There are six chapters set in the past which serve to establish how Sofi’s strict practice rituals came into being. In addition to helping with Sofi’s character development they also reveal a key plot point (though I won’t spoil it here).
This is more so a character than plot driven story. The novel is a standalone but I’d still describe the pacing as somewhat slow. I personally tend to prefer fantasy books where the stakes are higher (like they have to stop an evil ruler or save the world) but I still enjoyed this book.
Tooley’s main strength in her debut book (Sweet & Bitter Magic) was her world building. That is the same for her sophomore release. Within the scope of the novel we don’t actually see much of the greater world. The primary settings are either wintry wilderness or local taverns in various towns of the kingdom of Aell. Yet the readers’ understanding of the world’s history as well as its magic system gives the sense of a much grander, more expansive world beyond the limits of Aell. If Tooley ever did choose to write a companion to this book I would love to see one set during the time the witches’ agreement with the king of Aell went sour and magic wreaked havoc on the world.
FINAL THOUGHTS
While I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Tooley’s debut it’s still a good second novel. It solidifies Tooley as a go-to fantasy author for anyone looking for an LGBT+ fantasy or one with excellent world building (arguably the most important part of any good fantasy book). I think the main characters could have used a little tweaking, but I can respect their journeys. I also wish the stakes were a little bit larger, but I know not everyone is looking for some fantasy epic and it’s nice to have a soft standalone too.

FINAL RATING: 3.75⭐️
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