Monday, October 16, 2017

REVIEW: Sawbones by Catherine Johnson

I absolutely adored Sawbones by Catherine Johnson.  It's historical fiction, which isn't an area of YA that I read extensively within so I can sometimes be a little bit wary of reading so very much outside of my comfort zone.  However, I really enjoyed another historical story by the same author so I thought I'd give Sawbones a chance as well.  And I'm so glad that I did.  When I read this book earlier this year it was definitely my favourite book I'd read all month and it's just one of those stories that I felt myself thinking about long after I'd finished it.  I'm really looking forward to the sequel.

The main story line in Sawbones follows Ezra McAdam, this teenage boy, who is a surgical apprentice in London in 1792. Ezra is a fantastic character.  He really pulled at my heartstrings.  He's a very knowledgeable and capable 16 year old who is set to have a great future ahead of him being the apprentice to a well-respected surgeon.  However, things end up going very badly wrong for him when a failed break-in attempt means that Ezra is caught up in a string of odd events and he is put into the path of Loveday Finch, who is after questions about the sudden death of her father.  What follows is a fast-paced detective story with some crazy twists and turns. 

There were so many elements to this story that I just absolutely adored.  I thought all of the characterisation was really strong: I loved both Ezra and Loveday as well as their fraught friendship.  I thought Ezra's relationship with the surgeon to whom he is apprenticed was very sweet, if at times to Ezra uncertain.   I loved the exploration of different areas of London during this time period, from operating theatres and markets.  But my all-time favourite is every gruesome and horrifying fact thrown in about surgical practices during 1792.  I couldn't tear my eyes away from the pages when the topic of dissections and amputations and just general medical practices of this time and the ways in which knowledge is imparted.  It was all utterly fascinating to me. 

I was so swept up in this story, in these characters and in this snapshot of what life would have been like.  I really cannot wait to read what happens next.  And as I own the sequel already, I won't have to wait! If you haven't already read Sawbones I really do highly recommend it!

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