Book Review: A Secret of Birds and Bone

Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s new book ‘A Secret of Birds and Bone’ was a lovely read, and I finished it in only a few days!


In an Italian city ravaged by plague, Sofia’s mother carves beautiful mementos from the bones of loved ones. But one day, she doesn’t return home. Did her work lead her into danger? Sofia and her little brother Ermin are sent to the convent orphanage but soon escape, led by an enigmatic new friend and their pet crow, Corvith.

Together they cross the city underground, following clues in bones up to the towers of Siena, where – circled by magpies – the children find the terrible truth …


I really enjoyed this story. It was a quick read for me as it’s a middle-grade book, but the story delights with the backdrop of Italy and mesmerises you with the detail of bones. 

It begins on Sofia’s twelfth birthday where her mother has been busy for many weeks building something secret out of bones in her workshop. Sofia’s mother is a Bone Builder, and the story goes into detail about many of the amazing things her mother builds out of bones for others, but also for her children. Sofia’s a bit put out because her mother promised to be finished by her birthday, but of course she is still busy. Her mother leaves her and her brother, promising to be back for her birthday celebrations, but Sofia is upset and angry and then she decides to visit the city, partly I believe to follow her mother, but also because she is determined to visit the horse racing.

While in the city, Sofia spots her mother with guards chasing her, and so it sets off in motion a turn of events where Sofia and her brother Ermin determine to find the whereabouts of their mother and discover the secret of what she’s been building.

I really liked the flow of this story. It was well thought through, very well explained, and you definitely got a distinct view of the characters. The worldbuilding of the city and Sofia’s mother’s talent for bone building was quite amazing and very cleverly done. Hats off to Kiran Millwood Hargrave for imagining such a tale!

There wasn’t much I didn’t like in this book, to be honest. I loved it all the way through. From the magpie tower to the secret river, there were so many things to discover on the journey.

A delightful tale that enchants from the beginning.

Overall, I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Kate @ Kandid Chronicles.


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