Cover image for The Boneless Mercies
The Boneless Mercies
Tucholke, April Genevieve, author.
First edition.
Physical Description:
339 pages ; 24 cm.
Four female mercenaries known as Boneless Mercies, weary of roaming Vorseland, ignored and forgotten until they are needed for mercy killings, decide to seek glory by going after a legendary monster in this reimagining of Beowulf.


Call Number
Material Type
Cuba Circulating Library Association 1 YA TUC Juvenile Fiction Book
Hornell Public Library 1 YA T Juvenile Fiction Book
Whitesville Public Library 1 YA T New Juvenile Fiction

On Order



*A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year*
* A Barnes & Noble Best YA Book of the Year*

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies--girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies' one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling--and who gets to be the storyteller. Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater, V.E. Schwab, and Heidi Heilig.

Author Notes

April Genevieve Tucholke is the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Between the Spark and the Burn, and Wink Poppy Midnight. She also selected the stories for the Slasher Girls and Monster Boys anthology.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In a world where ballads are sung and ancient sagas told at the hearth, five young women earn their place in Vorse history by seeking glory where men have failed: fighting the Blue Vee Beast. If Vorse sounds familiar, then Finmark, Holhalla, and Valkree should confirm that Tucholke is deliberately evoking Norse culture in her feminist retelling of Beowulf. Seventeen-year-old Frey and her companions are Boneless Mercies, itinerant women hired to kill those who suffer. It is depressing work, and when they hear a plea to save a kingdom from a murderous beast, they quit the death trade to undertake the challenge. Most of the narrative unfolds as the five Mercies journey to Blue Vee, encountering danger, magic, and tests to their bond of sisterhood. Tucholke creates a strong sense of the young women both as individuals and a caring, democratic unit, and the varied world they travel is thoughtfully unfurled. Knowledge of Beowulf isn't necessary to appreciate this story, which heroically contemplates female strength and agency, compassion versus vengeance, and the value of glory.--Julia Smith Copyright 2018 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this evocative fantasy loosely inspired by Beowulf, four young women who have devoted their lives to ritual mercy killing as "Mercies" or "Boneless Mercies" decide to give up that sad, dark work in favor of more satisfying pursuits: honor, glory, and a chance at appearing in legend. In order to earn enough money to do as they will, 17-year-old Frey and her companions swear a blood oath to slay the fabled Blue Vee Beast, which cyclically terrorizes a local jarldom. As the Mercies journey across Vorseland, threats and temptations test them repeatedly, and they must choose between quiet safety and death-defying heroism. Frey's fittingly lyrical voice narrates her band's exploits ("The marsh was death, and this was life. Apple liquor on the tongue, drying herbs scenting the air"). Tucholke (Wink Poppy Midnight) injects close intimacy into her lush saga, interweaving love and murder, mercy and glory into her portrayal of life and death. It is a beautiful, haunting modern-day epic that stars a bold and resourceful sisterhood of heroines unafraid to claim agency. Ages 12-up. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-When 17-year-old Frey decides to seek glory and kill the Blue Vee beast, she embarks on a life-altering journey. Along with her companions, she leaves behind her work as a Boneless Mercy, giving reprieve to those in anguish using death. Frey travels through the lands of the Sea Witches and the Red Willow Marsh while navigating the complex political and sometimes dangerous world of the Vorse. Frey's quest is fraught with peril, but with her companions by her side and her thirst for glory, nothing will stop her from killing the Blue Vee Monster. This is a gender-flipped retelling of the epic poem Beowulf. Tucholke uses mythology and fantasy elements to create a rich and compelling tale based on the Old English poem. The hero's journey is a major theme throughout. Frey embodies the pursuit of glory through quest to become a hero remembered in story and myth. Fans of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings will find similar themes and elements. This is a must-have for avid fantasy readers who enjoy action-packed plots. VERDICT An excellent choice for any YA fantasy collections.-Meaghan Nichols, ASI Heritage, Ont. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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