Review: Doll Bones

Doll Bones

  • Author: Holly Black
  • ISBN: 9781416963981
  • Genre: Middle-grade Horror

The above ISBN is for the hardcover edition, but I listened to the audiobook edition I checked out from the library.

One of the many things that creep me out is dolls.  So, when I read the synopsis of Doll Bones (click on the book cover to go to it on Goodreads), I thought this would be the perfect semi-scary story for me to read during my favorite spooky month.  While there were some creepy moments, the story was lacking something necessary for any horror story to scare me.  It lacked sense.

As an example, without any spoilers, there is a scene in which something horrible happens and the children think the doll, haunted by the spirit of a little girl, did it.  However, why would the doll be the culprit when the doll/spirit wants the kids to help her?  I kept waiting for a more plausible explanation.  Wouldn’t it make more sense if it had been someone or something trying to stop the kids from helping the doll?  I thought I was going to get that explanation when the kids come in contact with a woman later on in the story.  One of the kids, Zach, thinks there seems to be something a bit off about this woman, somehow.  However, nothing else happens with her and the story moves on to the next part.  That didn’t make any sense either.  Why bring it up, through Zach’s thoughts, and then not do anything with it?  I was confused enough to double check to make sure I wasn’t listening to an abridged version of the book.  I won’t go into detail about what I thought was going to happen or who the woman was because that would include spoilers, but suffice it to say I was a little disappointed.

My other reason for choosing Doll Bones is because I’ve only ever heard great things about the author, Holly Black.  As I said, the book does have its creepy moments, so it wasn’t a total dud, but I would have enjoyed it a lot more if those moments made sense in relation to the overall plot.  Perhaps the average Middle-grade reader wouldn’t notice the plot holes and would instead just enjoy a creepy “Goosebumps”-style story.  When it comes to getting kids to read more, this book is still worth a shot, especially if you can find a copy at the library.

3 thoughts on “Review: Doll Bones

  1. First off, love the cover art! It makes me sad that the story the goes along with it isn’t great.

    I *hate* when characters/narrators bring things up only to never touch them later. It’s one thing if it’s supposed to be a red herring, and then the truth about the situation is revealed later, but this sounds like it was just brought up and then left hanging. That really turns me off from a book, too.

    I hope your next spooky read goes better! Do you think you’d try something else from this author, since she’s supposed to be good?

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    1. I agree, the cover art is fantastic. I have a “Doctor Who” story written by Holly Black and featuring the 12th Doctor on my Kindle. Hopefully, it will be better. Since I read this a couple weeks ago, I’ve finished several more RIP reads that have, for the most part, been better, including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which my review of will go live tomorrow 🙂


  2. I’ve only ever read Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales Trilogy (YA, during my YA reading years) and I loved those. Sorry this one disappointed- I’m not very tempted to pick it up now knowing it has plot holes (I hate those).
    ~Litha Nelle

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