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K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

Bone Queen, The

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Author/Publisher/Website: Croggon, A.
Copyright: 2016
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: May/2019
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 9781536203707
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: 9-12
(View recommended grades and subjects) English Language Arts

Resource Description

Young Bard Cadvan summons the brutal and violent Bone Queen and his rash action costs him everything, including his love Ceredin, and he is banished to a rural mining town where he works as a cobbler and tries his best to forget his past. But was the Bone Queen ever truly defeated or are the whisperings of a darkness appearing a sign that there is more trouble on the horizon? This high fantasy, adventure novel, a prequel to the Pellinor quartet, provides insight into the themes of friendship and forgiveness, cause and consequence, light and darkness, resiliency, and error and redemption, and is suitable as an independent or literature circle choice for avid fantasy fans in grades 9-12.


Does the resource support BC curriculum?
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Creative Thinking
Critical thinking
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
This novel supports ELA curriculum from 9-12. Specifically, it supports the Big Idea that the exploration of text and story deepens our understanding of diverse, complex ideas about identity, others, and the world. The Bone Queen follows an epic battle between light and darkness and shows the redemption of the protagonist. As well, this novel could be used to support the Curricular Competencies to think critically, creatively, and reflectively to explore ideas within, between, and beyond texts and to recognize and understand how different forms, formats, structures, and features of texts enhance and shape meaning and impact. The novel illuminates the themes of redemption and resiliency.


Belief System:
The novel contains the forces of light and darkness. While it does not contain an outright belief system, the novel contains magic, mystical forces, a belief in a specific afterlife and such things as possessions.
The violence contained in this novel is not overly graphic. However, it does contain death, both from murder and from an explosion in a mine. As well, it describes a pig that was tortured to death from the possession of Kansabur. Kansabur herself is killed by her head being rend in half at the novel's end.
There is one scene where Cadvan bursts into Dernhil's bedroom for help. Upon hearing that Cadvan wants Dernhil to "scry" him, he replies that he would rather Cadvan ask to make love.
Do the social considerations support, rather than detract from, student learning?
Social Considerations Comments:
While there are some social considerations, they do not detract at all from student learning. The novel deals with the issues of life and death with realism and tact. The language is elevated and there is a portrayal of characters that fight for justice. As well, the lives and success of the characters are entwined with the flourishing or diminishing of nature. In some ways, this novel could be used as an argument for sustainability and better care of the Earth.


Is the resource engaging?
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Can the content be differentiated?
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Is the content of particular interest to male students?
Is the content of particular interest to female students?
Is the language use appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
There are many male and female characters in this novel and, as such, it would appeal equally to both. The only visuals contained within the novel are two maps that add to the understanding of various settings within the novel. The reading level cannot be adjusted but the content could be differentiated by chunking.


Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Is the location of illustrations appropriate?
Is the resource easy to use?
Is the use of font, text size and presentation uniform?
Are extraneous elements/illustrations kept to a minimum?
This novel is broken down into five parts that are further sectioned into chapters. The chapters are identified by Roman numerals. Italics are used and the font is quite small. The novel contains two maps and is 404 pages long. The novel also contains a note on the text and a note on pronunciation.


Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
To what degree is this text stylistically rich?
Plot description:
In his brash youth, Cadvan summoned a revenant, the brutal and violent Bone Queen. This act of arrogance cost him everything, including the loss of his love, Ceredin. Now banished to the rural mining town of Jouan, Cadvan toils as a cobbler and tries to forget his past. But there are rumours in the land, whisperings of a darkness that is spreading. Could it be that they did not defeat the Bone Queen as they originally thought? A prequel to the books of Pellinor, this is Cadvan's story.
Related Comments:
This novel can be categorized as both high fantasy and adventure fiction. There are many richly and fully developed characters within the novel. In addition, there is effective figurative language and detailed description. Many of the characters are written in such a way to illuminate the human condition. Cadvan himself is a good person who is struggling with the effects of a terrible mistake. The novel provides insight into friendship and forgiveness, cause and consequence, and error and redemption.
Literary Highlights:
Complex conflict
Rich Characterization
Well-developed themes
Effective figurative language
Visual Highlights:


At intended grade level(s)
Alison Croggon, an Australian author, is the first online critic to receive the Geraldine Pascall Critic of the Year. The Bone Queen is a prequel to the books of Pellinor quartet. Alison Croggon's website can be found at


This novel would be best suited for use as an independent novel study. In addition, it could be used as part of a literature circle. As the novel is quite intricate, it might be best suited for avid readers of high fantasy or fans of the Pellinor quartet. As well, this novel centers around the themes of friendship, redemption, and resiliency. It could be used in a writer's workshop on characterization or multiple story lines.