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Nina Kiriki Hoffman
book cover

Who recommends: JW, Edith, Preeti, Linda, Julie, Shelley, Lynn, Shelly, Isabel, Lori, Rebekah, Margaret
Who discommends: Barbara

It was a nice read and I would recommend it. Good but not great.

What did I like about the book? I liked the way the hero and heroine "fit" together. They belonged together and liked each other, even though they didnt' really know each other (they got married a couple of hours after they met). I liked the hero's ethics--he realized he had to be very careful in the use of his newly-discovered powers. He had bone-deep goodness and kindness in him. The secondary characters were interesting and well-drawn. The plot moved along at a pretty good clip.

My major criticism is that I did not find the change of heart of one of the villain credible. It just came too quickly. After hearing all the bad things he did, I simply could not believe he would want to change. Also, the romance was just one smallish element of the book. I wanted more interaction between the h&h.; This book just cries out for a sequel. It doesn't have one does it? It was pub in '93.--Edith

I finally dug THE THREAD THAT BINDS THE BONES by Nina Kiriki Hoffman out of my tbr after seeing two recommendations here and after reading a short story of hers in the OTHERWERE anthology. I was so impressed with that story that I was ready to love this book. And I did.

Edith, I hear what you're saying about the redemption of one of the villains not working for you. That stuck in my craw too. But the strengths of this story, the humanism, the healing of wounded characters, the magic system she created, the strong sense of place, heck just the superb mood NKH created (loved the opening scenes at the high school where Tom the janitor is haunted by ghosts), overcame any of the flaws of the story. Edith called it good but not great, but to me this book is a treasure. Tom is the true star of this story, but his whirlwind romance with Laura was nice.--Preeti

I read it and then bought the limited edition hard back, need I say more?--Shelley

I picked up THE THREAD THAT BINDS THE BONES Friday night and the next thing I knew, it was three in the morning! I loved the mood Hoffman sets as well as her writing. On top of all that, both Tom and Laura are nice decent people - what a refreshing change from all these ultra aggressive males. I will have to track down A RED HEART OF MEMORIES as soon as I have a spare minute.--Isabel (24 Jan 00)

A wonderful book! So warm and rich and vivid. Very visual with many complex, changing characters. Hoffman does magic different than anyone I have read. A strong romance thread (no pun intended) that comes at relationships from kind-of a sideways direction. Very fresh and mesmerizing. (I picked it up while watching a TV show that I wanted to see and ended up turning off the TV because it was bugging me while I was trying to read. ;))--Rebekah (15 May 00)

Weren't the different kinds of magic fascinating? And I really liked her voice. Interestingly enough I've picked up various older F/SF mags for her short stories, only to find she does horror! Mild horror, but still somewhat creepy stuff. Her short stories didn't work for me.--Edith (15 May 00)

My copy of THE THREAD THAT BINDS THE BONES arrived on Friday and I read it that evening. It was an easy read and I enjoyed it very much. In fact, I re-read it the next day. It did, however, strike me as rather simplistic. I thought it was written more for the YA market, and it read like a short story that had been made longer but not deeper.
Hero stops trying to suppress his peculiar abibilites, discovers he has amazing powers and promptly acquires a wise guide; heroine discovers she, too, has amazing powers in spite of what she and everyone else thought; villain has a very brief taste of how his victims felt and promptly decides to reform. Villainess, when confronted, goes mad, tries to destroy everything and is thwarted by hero without anybody dying or, apart from villainess and hero, being seriously damaged. There didn't seem to be any serious moral dilemmas - no having to choose between two evils (or two goods for that matter). I found the evil unconvincing - how did the villainess get away with what she did, for 40 years. How come the adults didn't notice? When the heroine's parents couldn't stop her brother making her life miserable, why didn't they complain to the leader? Although there was some slight explanation for why the villainess became evil it was fairly clear that she'd been born bad - why, in a family with all these abilities, didn't anyone notice until outsiders complained?--Margaret (26 Jun 00)

I have to agree with you Margaret. I didn't like the fact that the villains got off so easy. The ending was too pat. But I liked it for the author's voice (or is it style??)--Edith (26 Jun 00)

Yes - I enjoyed that too. I shall make an effort to acquire her next book.--Margaret (26 Jun 00)

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