Review: The Silence of Bones by June Hur

Review: The Silence of Bones by June Hur

The Silence of Bones by June Hur is a murder mystery set in the Joseon dynasty of Korea. I have never read anything with this setting, and it was exciting to see this fresh take on a thriller and learn some history at the same time. Seol is a clever character, and the book’s setting is well described. Although I didn’t love certain aspects like the pacing, this one is still a pretty strong work.

Review: The Silence of Bones by June HurTitle: The Silence of Bones
Author: June Hur
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 21, 2020

three-half-stars
Summary (from Goodreads):

I have a mouth, but I mustn't speak;
Ears, but I mustn't hear;
Eyes, but I mustn't see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.

As they delve deeper into the dead woman's secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.

But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

June Hur's elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.

Amazon “Book

❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃


Review: The Silence of Bones

This book follows Seol, a servant to the police bureau whose tasks are related to handling female victims in the place of men. Following the murder of a noblewomen, she is tasked with assisting the chief inspector, but when he becomes the prime subject, Seol must uncover the truth about what happened that night herself. At the same time, she is trying to find her lost older brother. There are many layers to this book including questions of loyalty and honour. I also found the story very original, especially since I am unfamiliar with historical fiction that is not western. While the story does drag at times, I still ultimately enjoyed it.

❀ Interesting Main Character

Seol is an interesting character, and while she is not up there with my favourites, she is still enjoyable to follow. She is very limited in her investigation due to societal constraints, but I loved how she is able to learn more about the case by going where men aren’t allowed to go and talking to people others can’t. Seol is often underestimated because she is a woman, but she is able to use this as her strength. I admired her curiosity and her bravery, but I found it difficult to connect with her, and I couldn’t fully immerse myself in the story because of this.

❀ Intriguing Setting

One of the most intriguing aspects of the book is its setting. I didn’t know much about the Joseon dynasty, but I was able to learn a lot about this era and the persecution of Catholics through this book. Some of the characters are inspired by real historical figures, and I appreciated the author’s commitment to historical accuracy. The setting is also vividly described, and it is easy to picture the events taking place.

The Silence of Bones is an original historical thriller set in 1800s Korea. The main character is inspiring, although I could not quite connect with her, and the setting is well described. I would recommend this to those looking for a fresh thriller as well as those interested in the history of Korea.

About June Hur

June Hur

JUNE HUR was born in South Korea and raised in Canada, except for the time when she moved back to Korea and attended high school there. She studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto, and currently works as a Public Service Assistant for the Toronto Public Library.

Her debut novel THE SILENCE OF BONES (Feiwel & Friends, April 2020) is a murder mystery set in Joseon Dynasty Korea, and also a coming-of-age tale about a girl searching for home.

She is represented by Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.

18 thoughts on “Review: The Silence of Bones by June Hur

  1. Angela says:

    The historical Korean setting is interesting – while my mind wouldn’t immediately go to murder mystery as a possible premise for such a setting, it’s an intriguing one!

  2. Debra Branigan says:

    This one sounds very unique and absolutely worth reading. I am fascinated with the setting and premise. I just placed in my Amazon cart since I need a new read anyway. Thanks for sharing.

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