Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: A Reed Reads! Book Rec

Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

Where to find this book at Reed Memorial Library:

This month, Rebecca, our Marketing Coordinator, is recommending Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher. “Nettle & Bone‘s cover art caught my eye because it has that fairy tale vibe,” she says, adding that she couldn’t get her hands on a physical copy fast enough and read it through our digital library on the Libby app. “Nettle & Bone is a good read, a solid story with likable characters that reads simultaneously like a new and an old fairy tale.”

Keep reading to hear her thoughtful review of this book!

According to Rebecca, Nettle & Bone is a great read for anyone who enjoys fairy tale and fantasy fiction.

What is this book about? Rebecca explains, “The main character is an unwilling and unlikely heroine; while a princess, she’s the least desirable daughter, shipped off to an abbey as a teen. She is only motivated to rejoin the wider world and intervene when she realizes that no one else will confront the wrong. Once in motion, she’s fully committed and establishes her position by completing two impossible tasks. The dust wife (similar to a wise woman/witch) who set the tasks before Marra, is an instantly likeable character with wry humor. The author intersperses humor throughout the novel with dialogue, animals like the demon chicken, and more than a few times, the characters’ voicing aloud the absurdity of their situation. This lightens the narrative and keeps the characters grounded.”

There was much that Rebecca liked about this book, such as how the author “kept true to Marra’s ordinariness; once committed to her quest, she doesn’t transform into an extraordinary heroine. Marra has moments of self-doubt, she is frightened that her cause has brought other people in danger but remains committed because of the base truth, if she doesn’t act, no one will stop the evil prince (of course it’s evil royalty).”

If you opt to read the physical copy of this book, you’ll enjoy its decorative endpapers that add to the eerie atmosphere:

This book has moments of dark suspense, enhancing its fairy tale feel, but it doesn’t cross the line into macabre and horror. The world Kingfisher creates is different, but has enough familiar aspects that you easily slip into its context.


“While the story’s outcome doesn’t transform everyone’s thinking and values, it does change a group of people for the better and make steps toward real change,” Rebecca says. “I like the message the author conveys that real transformation starts small, with one person willing to step forward and act.”

The good news is that if you enjoy Nettle & Bone, Kingfisher has a large backlog of other books to read through, which is precisely what Rebecca is doing. She comments, “I’d not read any of this author’s books before, but after reading this one, I’m working my way through some of her other novels.” Kingfisher’s latest book, A House with Good Bones, released in March of 2023.

Thanks for the recommendation, Rebecca!

For more Reed Reads! Book Recs, browse this page.

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