1800 Joseon (Korea). Sixteen-year-old Seol is indentured to the police bureau but is missing home. When a young noblewoman is found murdered in the streets, Seol is tasked with helping a young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder. But when the inspector becomes the prime suspect, Seol must go outside the bounds of her servitude to clear his name.
We admit, this book was hard for us to get through at times. We had been so looking forward to reading it because it involved all of our favorite things: murder, mystery, and learning about other cultures and historical periods. But we’re sad to say this story kind of fell flat for us!
Seol was not a very compelling MC and we did not really feel connected to her narration. There were times we had to skip parts to keep our interest going. The other characters were also not very memorable, aside from Inspector Han. Seol had the potential for major growth but we never felt she truly got there. We were, however, invested in figuring out the mystery behind her brother’s disappearance, but even that reveal kind of fell flat for us. Overall, the character development was subpar. But we liked how Seol always spoke her mind and was so brave in her efforts to solve the case.
Our favorite part of this book was learning more about Korea in the 1800s. The political dynamics between the monarchy and the rise of the Catholic Church in this book were fascinating. We learned so much about 1800 Korea. The author did a great job flushing out the world building in this regard, and honestly, without the world building we would’ve probably DNF’d this one.
The mystery was also pretty well written. Again, the political dynamics really pushed the resolution of the conflict forward and made it more interesting. We were hooked and wanted to know what happened to the noblewoman in her past.
We were also kind of disappointed there was no romance or even great friendships for Seol. She was very much alone and treated horribly by others.
Overall, The Silence of Bones was a bummer for us. We loved the history but couldn’t get invested in any of the characters.