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Nerdy goodness

The Bone Wars by Erin S. Evan

The Bone Wars by Erin S. Evan is for anyone who ever sat and poured over books about dinosaurs, who dug into sand or dirt hoping to find a fossil, who thought archaeology was the coolest subject. It is a love story to those people in the form of a suspenseful adventure. Plus, there might be dragons.

The unfortunate thing is that I think The Bone Wars will not appeal to anyone who has no interest in dinosaurs or paleontology. For one, it tends to read like a textbook at times. Ms. Evan fills much of the novel with dinosaur or paleontology minutiae. I know she does so to ensure readers understand what paleontologists do and how they work, but it detracts from the story. There is a difference between ensuring readers understand enough to appreciate what is happening versus over-educating your readers to the detriment of the story, a line Ms. Evan crosses once too often.

Another nitpicky issue I have with The Bone Wars is the book synopsis from the publisher. It makes it seems like we will be bouncing back and forth across timelines and that there is a connection between the three. Except there are no three timelines. There aren’t even two timelines. Everything happens in the present; the only thing we see of the past is through letters beginning each chapter. The book’s synopsis makes it seem like a more complicated story than it is, and the fact that it is not is disappointing.

Then there is the issue I have with a sixteen-year-old leading three experts in their field around the globe in a bone hunt. Even if the sixteen-year-old is a prodigy, the parent in me struggles with this idea and its execution. Molly is not a prodigy. She is simply a girl obsessed with becoming a paleontologist who happens to be with the right people at the wrong time.

Despite all that, I thought The Bone Wars was nerdy goodness. I was one of those kids who wanted to be a paleontologist, and my son’s obsession with dinosaurs made other kids’ obsessions pale in comparison. I also think dinosaurs and dinosaur bones bring out the kid in all of us as we marvel at these giant creatures who were alive millions of years ago. So, I enjoyed running around with Molly, Derek, Sean, and others. I had fun picturing each dinosaur mentioned and thoroughly appreciated the idea posited that dragons did exist once upon a time. I don’t think I enjoyed it enough to continue the series, but it was a fun, nerdy reading experience.

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