Vedma Kada and Sladyana both live in fear of the fox. Kada keeps her daughter, Secha, hidden, hoping to keep her safe. Thankful to goddess Zemya for gifting her and vehemently praying and offering to her bone roots. On the other hand, Sladyana has spent the last 15 years searching for her daughter, Luba. Snatched by the fox. Each desperate to protect their child, only one can succeed and only one knows why.
The Bone Roots by Gabriela Houston illustrates the tale of two mothers, both desperate to protect their child.
Vedma Kada lives in constant fear. Her brother was stolen by the fox 40 years ago, and she keeps herself hidden, terrified that her daughter, Secha, may be next.
Kada must keep her daughter close, especially when she starts to exhibit powerful and strange behaviours.
Secha is a product of goddess Zemya’s child-bearing tree, a bestowed gift to Kada. Each year, she gives thanks to Zemya, with an offering via her bone roots. Additionally, in her role as a Vedma, Kada ultimately serves the goddess, as well as the local community.
Sladyana, a rich noblewoman, is mother to Luba. Snatched by the fox, Sladyana has desperately spent 15 years searching for her daughter.
When Kada and Sladyana are reunited, both seek answers that may save their children.
The strength of a mother’s love
Inspired by Slavic folklore, this fantasy novel explores the lengths a mother will go to protect her child.
The focus on motherhood is particularly poignant in this story and it’s predominantly told in a dual narrative. Both Kada and Sladyana are strong and complex characters, with troubles aplenty.
Not only must they fight for their beliefs, they must also balance societal expectations for their own protection.
You will find yourself cheering them on or being disappointed in their actions. Some are understandable, others questioning morality. Ultimately, they are human and flawed – and their predicaments are not easy.
Houston is masterful at her atmospheric descriptions, her beautiful prose brimming with emotion, mythology and lore.
A particular example is witnessing Kada in her role as a Vedma (Moss Witch). Her interactions with the weird and wonderful mythical creatures are fascinating. Whether seeking their favour and/or destruction, each conversation is vividly brought to life.
Ultimately, this novel draws you into the fantasy world of Fiesna alongside the harrowing struggles of its female protagonists. It’s a wonderful tale of motherhood, love, desperation, magic and secrets.
The Bone Roots by Gabriela Houston was released on October 10, 2023, via Angry Robot.
I personally have read The Bone Roots. However, I did receive a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley and this post does contain affiliate links.