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May 9, 2013 / minusbar

Book Review: The Tale of Rawhead and Bloody Bones, by Jack Wolf – TLC Blog Tour

Book Review: “The Tale of Rawhead and Bloody Bones” by Jack Wolf

The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones

When I first heard about this book I was ecstatic. The premise was one that instantly gripped me and I was quick to line up for a chance to review this with TLC Booktours. However, while the story proved terrible intriguing, the overall experience made for a rather difficult read. This book is not all bad or good, and I advise readers to read several reviews before coming to a conclusion on whether this story is one they’d like to invest their time into.

Meet Tristan Hart, a brilliant young man of means. The year is 1751, and Mr Hart leaves his Berkshire home for London to lodge with his father’s friend, the novelist and dramatist Henry Fielding, and study medicine at the great hospital of University College. It will be a momentous year for the cultured and intellectually ambitious Mr Hart, who, as well as being a student of Locke and Descartes and a promising young physician, is also, alas, a psychopath. His obsession is the nature of pain, and preventing it during medical procedures. His equally strong and far more unpredictable obsession is the nature of pain, and causing it. Desperate to understand his own deviant desires before they derail his career and drive him mad, Tristan sifts through his childhood memories, memories that are informed by dark superstitions about faeries and goblins and shape-shifting gypsies. Will the new tools of the age-reason and science and scepticism-be enough to save him?

The strongest part of this book is definitely the story premise throughout and the atmosphere in the second half of the novel. We’re given a vantage point to peer into the mind of a psychopath and it proves gruesomely entertaining. However, it seemed to take a very long time to get to that point of enjoyment. At times the overuse of description would often pull me out of the story. I’m certainly a fan of  detail, but not at the expense of fluidity. The interesting concept was severely hampered by the herky-jerky prose.

I know several reviewers have already touched on the time-appropriate capitalization used in the story, but I have to mention it as well. While it’s neat to make it historically accurate to the setting, I feel it is done at the expense of readers enjoyment. Will some people love it and find it quaint? Maybe, but it will turn off plenty of readers (myself included) as well. Also, the paragraph length sentences often forced me to have to reread portions in their entirety to follow their meaning. They where grammatically correct, but it made for difficult reading. Colons and Semi-colons often seemed to go three, even four layers deep.

If you’re willing to muddle your way through some difficultly written language, there is a story here that I did enjoy reading about. Though, the overall reading experience was not one that I enjoyed. To me, this book is not one I’d read again or recommend to anyone unless they have a strong penchant for the setting and an even stronger stomach. If written more smoothly, this could have been a good bit of fun for fans of gruesome grounded fiction.

I received this book through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.


Roger Bellini



One Comment

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  1. Heather J. @ TLC / May 13 2013 9:48 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

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