‘The Boneless Mercies’ – April Genevieve Tuchoike

A fantasy that has echoes of Beowulf and set in a world that seemed familiar, yet also unnatural.

We follow a group of four called The Boneless Mercies. Frey, our narrator, is their leader and as they travel we learn how the four (Frey, Ovie, Juniper and Runa) come together. We watch their journey across a strange and troubled land, bringing death to those who pay for it. It is a harsh and brutal living, but there is compassion in these women as they fulfil their service to those that live”
Frey is determined to end their way of life, and she dreams of doing something heroic. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of the heroes of the old stories, Frey leads her group on a journey to kill an unstoppable monster.

Along the way she is part of a plot to restart a witch war. She is tasked with killing a young witch queen. She thus learns of a secret that might prove useful and then, as we’d hope, gets her battle with the monster.

While the story is described in one way I felt this led to rather unfair expectations. The women are brave and do fight, but they are not fearless. They have compassion in spite of the death they bring. They deliver what they promised, but it has the slightly unreal feeling of being simply part of a bigger story that we are not yet ready to be told.