Bonesmith Readalong: Day 2!


Gorgeous photo by @aaliyahsbookshelf._

Hello fairies!

Happy Tuesday and welcome to day 2 of our readalong of Bonesmith by Nicki. Pau PretoI’m so excited to be reading this one with you, I hope you all love it!

That was quite the intense start yesterday, wasn’t it? 

 I hope you’re all enjoying it so far!

Today we’re reading from chapter 9 to the end of chapter 16. Let’s do this!

When you’ve finished today’s section, catch up with me in the comments down below so we can discuss the beginning of the book. Happy reading!

Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for Bonesmith by Nicki Pau Preto from Chapter 9 to Chapter 16. Please only read on if you have finished this section!


Okay so A LOT happened in these chapters and I am even more invested than I was during the first 9 chapters! Are you?

So in the beginning of chapter 9 we find out that the prince in question is named Prince Leopold, a Goldsmith. And we know Wren is planning to use his visit to the Breachfort as well as his royal influence to prove herself to her family and as a Valkyr.

If there is one thing that we can all agree on about this book already, it’s that the dialogue is very fun:

“The Gold Prince. By all accounts he is clever, handsome and bored.”

Wren : “Just my type.”

Honestly, same Wren. 👀 The humour that is woven into the dialogue and how Wren quite often says what she’s thinking out-loud adds an element of relatability to her character as I’m sure we have all said our thoughts out-loud accidentally. I kind of love it, do you?

In order to orchestrate an opportunity for our main character to win the prince’s favour, Odile pretends to have ‘fallen ill’ so that Wren will be acting representative being the only other Bonesmith in residence at the Breechfort. This enables her to sit at the high table where she is introduced to the Prince who takes an interest in her. Whilst the two are chatting it is mentioned by Wren that her unusual name (by Bonesmith standards) was given to her by her mother before she died. Who is her mother? Why did she give her such an unconventional name and does it bare any significance?

The fun continues in Chapter 9 when Leo is dangling from the ledge of Wrens window somewhat drunk. He and Wren end up spending the night together chatting, and develop an immediate bond and friendship that is so wholesome. A spark is reignited in Wren through their night of drunkeness together after their dinner, and it gives her not only motivation but someone to have fun with and talk too. (Plus they’re just so funny together, sober or not).

Well we knew a storm was coming… but things turned pear shaped very quickly as we near the end of chapter 10. The prince and a small party including Wren embark on an ‘official inspection’ of the Breachfort’s defences east of the wall when suddenly they are surrounded by attackers; they’ve walked right into an ambush. How did the attackers know the prince would be there at that exact time? Did someone in their party help set up the ambush?

Wren throws herself at Leo tackling him to the ground to keep him protected from the assault of arrows befalling the guards around them. They then crawl toward the side of the road and into the trees. The Prince’s cousin Galen Valorian, charged with overseeing the prince’s tour, then shouts “to the prince! In the trees!” to the guards – also alerting their attackers to their location. Is he part of the ambush?

The plot thickens! An IRONSMITH has appeared – known to be the most dangerous warriors in the Dominions and to have all died in the uprising… and yet here one is before Wren?! I won’t lie, I would also be as scared as Wren because I know that is a fight I could never win I would simply run in the opposite direction. But luckily for us our main character is awesome and decides to tackle our mystery Ironsmith away from Leo which is truly iconic if I do say so myself. We find out his name is Julian thanks to one of his fellow attackers shouting his name. During Wren and Julian’s altercation, Leo is captured and thrown over one of the kidnapper’s horses. As Wren see’s this she also notices that one of the other kidnappers is drawing their bow preparing to nock an arrow. Believing it is for her Wren begins to run. However she doesn’t get far and she trips over some unseen obstruction crashing to the ground; an iron rope is wrapped around her ankle courtesy of Julian, the Ironsmith. Still fearing the arrow coming her way, Wren tries to get to the dark chasm just out of reach when she is dragged back by Julian and his whip sword. As the the distant rider’s arrow begins to fly, Wren realises the trajectory is all wrong. It was never aimed at her but at Julian, and it is coming straight for his back. Noticing her expression he turns and is hit in the chest by the arrow; the force sending his body back toward the mouth of the chasm which the Ironsmith falls into, dragging Wren into the abyss with him.

The kidnapper who shot the arrow at Julian is Captain Royce. Why was Julian betrayed by his fellow kidnappers? What is the bigger plot at play regarding his attempted assassination?

After they both survive the fall, Wren proposes that they work together so she can rescue Leo and he can get the answers as to why his people attempted to ‘assassinate’ him. The kidnappers believe they are both dead so they have the element of surprise. As they start embarking on their journey to find the prince they are ambushed by bandits. With the situation escalating and severely outnumbered, Wren makes the decision to use her Bonesmith magic to wrench bones out of the ground all around them scaring some of the bandits off. During their fight with the remaining bandits a cry from the undead rings out and she realises they are not alone, there is a ghost before them. Wren slices the ghost in two with her swords and magic, the remaining bandits already fled. After realising the difficulty they face ahead with both ghosts and potential bandits, they make the decision to go through the Haunted Territory in order to try and save time. Julian remarks on how there have been rumours about a “strange woman in a veil. The Corpse Queen.”

“It’s a walking corpse? Sounds like any tier-five revenant.”

“Probably. Most of it sounds like the same ghostsmith stories I grew up on. Evil necromancers enslaving the undead. Bodies going missing, Ghostly spectres marching together at midnight, that sort of thing.”

Is the Corpse Queen just a scary bed time story? Or is there some truth to the rumours…

While Bonesmiths could sense and control the dead bones, Ghostsmiths could sense and control the undead spirit. Eventually Ghostsmiths began to abuse their power; using the undead, forcing their spirits into servitude and denying them their eternal rest. Could the “Corpse Queen” be a Ghostsmith who managed to survive somehow despite the extinction of Ghostsmiths? And have they been secretly ‘alive’ in the Breech/Haunted Territory this entire time?

Julian has a lot of resentment for wren and her Bomesmith kind, and blames them for the suffering of his people by trapping them like sheep with wolves, aka abandoning them to the breach and the undead. Wren doesn’t reveal her family origin or status, and Julian only knows that she is a Bonesmith and not that she is part of the House of Bone. After trekking through the forest along the river which acts as a natural barrier to the undead, they spot a broken down mill-house and decide to camp there for the night. Don’t you just love seeing the forced proximity trope at work?

What do we think Fairies…Can anyone else smell enemies to lovers in the air?

What do you make of this “Corpse Queen”? Could Ghostsmiths really still exist in the Haunted Territory?

Why would Julian be targeted by his own people?

I’m on the edge of my seat with this book and cannot wait to read more tomorrow! I hope you’re all enjoying it too!






  • Michelle Lee

    Aaarrrgh! Just when I really warmed up to Leo …! Although, I suppose Julian is more Wren’s match in all that matters. This is an interesting enemies-to-lovers take in that they are both very civil to each other and seem quite clear and in agreement of their goal. Love quest adventures! If there is a minor annoyance, it’s the use of modern, real-life vulgarity when the story takes place in a fantasy world. Swear words literally bring me back to reality just when I’m really into the story. I wish publishers would stop doing that. Looking forward to Day 3!

  • Valley

    So excited for a potential enemies to lovers subplot! One of my favorite tropes! And their interactions so far and banter are very fun.

    Given that the ironsmiths are still around, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is at least one surviving ghostsmith. Curious to find out what she looks like… what if she’s Wren’s mom?! Jk (I think). I do wonder about her unconventional name though. Wren had said in a previous chapter that her mom was supposedly a fellow soldier, but I honestly feel like this was a lie her dad told. Especially with a complexion/hair color that stands out so much? You’d think at least a few people would immediately know who her mother was.

    We still don’t know Julian’s backstory. Him being targeted could be somehow related to who he is. Or perhaps he accidentally learned some information he shouldn’t have, though he may not know its relevance to fully understand it yet.

  • rulandia

    Enjoying the story so far, but I’ve gotta be honest—I’m still not warming up to Wren, which makes it a bit tricky for me to connect with the story since she’s the main character.

    Now, onto your questions:

    1. I can totally smell an enemies-to-lovers vibe in the air. It’s gonna be a bit complicated with their houses being enemies, but come on, Julian’s a total heartthrob, and that dark hair? Come on! (I love his illustration on the endpapers of the book)

    2. I’m pretty confident that this “Corpse Queen” has to be a Ghostsmith, and she’s gotta have some ties to the past. I’ve got a hunch we’re gonna run into her at some point. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly.

    3. The big question here is, why would Julian’s own team want to target him? Maybe he’s got some serious importance in the iron house? The way he talks about his house and territory feels deep and personal. And he’s the love interest so, it seems probable.

  • Graciela Quinones Weiss

    Blessed be the Mill-house!

    I am rooting for this duo. Julian is just as stubborn and I want to know more about him. And while Leo sounds lovely, I think we like our men a bit darker and not so golden. Or is that just me? Can’t wait to see what happens in the Breach! I just know the Tier Fives are coming!

    Happy reading!

  • Tasha

    What do we think Fairies…Can anyone else smell enemies to lovers in the air?
    I’m guessing so. Even though we only saw him for a short while I was hoping on the price perhaps a love triangle will develop as the story progresses.

    What do you make of this “Corpse Queen”? Could Ghostsmiths really still exist in the Haunted Territory?
    Could the queen be wrens mother and/or the ironsmith leader be wrens uncle / possible father Locke?

    Why would Julian be targeted by his own people?
    It seemed so when Galan highlighted the prince was in the trees so maybe he is behind it but no idea why at this point 🤷🏼‍♀️

  • Joana Neves Pereira

    Just finished chapter 16 and wow am I enjoying this so far.
    First of all, Prince Leo, sweet, cute, goegeous and fun. Hopefully a good friend for Wren moving forward. Although something tells me he was aware him going over the wall was gonna put him in danger, but somehow, still agreed to go? His cousin is definitely sus and I’m sure he planned this ambuah, cause, why not? Specially cause he didn’t want to take any action to save Leo straight away.
    Julian, a ironsmith, belived extinct, but actually quite alive and strong. I wonder if hes ones of the last of his bloodline. Also, something tells me he is a good natured person and that plus him being a fearsome enemy kinda went against his higher ups plans and therefore they wanted him dead.
    The Corpse Queen could be a soulsmith, oooorrrr, she could be Eliode, specially cause Eliode did reveal she traded with the other side of the wall and her robes may make her look like a corpse queen, specially since some people do not seem to know the difference between types of bonesmiths and their clothing. I am super itching for the next episodes and cannot wait for them to start crossing the Haunted Territory.

  • madamepincers

    Definitely here for the enemies to lovers with Julian. It seems to me like there’s some kind of parallel being drawn with their situations (as I think Wren was also definitely set up in some way!) and I’m interested to see how they could work together to help each other regain their respective places (or overhaul the system, per many YA novels hah!)

    I love the figure of the Corpse Queen– I think there’s this sort of “Mines of Moria” vibe out beyond the wall about magic being dug from too deep and I wonder if it’s Ghostsmiths or corrupted magic…or some combination of the two. Obviously if all the Ironsmiths are supposed to be gone, it’s not shocking that other “dead” branches would still exist… but the magic sounds awesome so fingers crossed they do show up!

  • Marilag Angway

    So early on as I read this book, I was saying to myself, “Wouldn’t it be funny if there was an ironsmith who ends up in a relationship with a bonesmith because maybe we can get an enemies to lovers trope? Idk if this is really enemies to lovers, though, their little fight barely filled two pages. But reluctant allies? Rivals to romance! Still love it! And the little bits of forced proximity trope here, with a sprinkling of only one bed there…okay technically, one room with very little place for anything to sleep on. But yeees drama yeees.

    I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if ghostsmiths/necromancers are still around in the Haunted territory. If ironsmiths exist, then clearly there are things that have been told to Wren that aren’t exactly true. And it makes sense because the Wall practically closed off whatever is happening on the Eastern side of the continent. They don’t even know much about what’s happening with the ironsmiths other than the fact that they think the ironsmiths have all but disappeared. I hope we see more of them.

    I do feel like there’s more about Julian that we are not getting. We hardly know him other than the fact that he’s an extremely powerful and skillful ironsmith and warrior. He does mention his grandfather from time to time, and it looks like he is born and trained from well-known stock. Whoever this region is in the Iron Citadel might be related to him to be honest. Maybe he’s the son or the grandson of the regent, or someone descended from a very powerful ironsmith.

  • ladymeg

    1) Yeaaaah seems likely haha! Julian’s group wanting him dead made for a nice twist on it though!

    2) I’m kinda overwhelmed by the world building right now so I’m just waiting to see what happens.

    3) I would love to know!

    • Meggan H

      I would love for someone to draw landscapes of the world so it is easier to envision!

  • Amy Kosta

    I’m not sure about this book yet. I don’t think the plot is for me, but it is a perfect read for October! I do love Wren though – I love a sarcastic and cocky main character, and it’s not often that character is female so that’s quite new for me!

    What do we think Fairies…Can anyone else smell enemies to lovers in the air?
    I hope so! I did like Leo but I didn’t think he suited Wren in that way – they’re better as friends.

    What do you make of this “Corpse Queen”? Could Ghostsmiths really still exist in the Haunted Territory?
    I don’t think it would be impossible! Especially given that Wren thought the Ironsmiths had been wiped out and she’s now been proven wrong!

    Why would Julian be targeted by his own people?
    I don’t think it’s particularly personal right now. I think maybe people are desperate to get the upper hand in a place where they’re fighting for their lives! But who knows? Maybe he has some secrets and will turn out to be someone important!

  • sparks2much

    I am so much more invested as well! I also have so many questions. What was the real reason Odile pretended to be ill? How did they know prince leopold would be on an expedition to check out the wall. Why did Captain Royce shoot Julian? What significance does the corpse queen play? What’s going to happen when they reach the iron castle? Or will they?! Agggghhhh!!

    I do love Wren more now as a character since we get to see her develop through her conversations with Julian. I would like to see them have a romantic connection, but maybe that’s just me

  • j.iris

    So far in my opinion the characters are the best part of the book. I love how fleshed out each one of them is (Wren’s humour is top tier) and her interactions with both Leo and Julian are so sweet. It’s nice to have a prospective enemies-to-lovers that doesn’t start with “I must hate you just because you exist”.

    The Haunted Territory is so much fun for me, since I loved the chapters about the Wall when I read ASOIAF and this book pays homage to it so well.

    The Corpse Queen is clearly someone important, since she’s mentioned both in Leo’s and Wren’s POVs, and I wonder what ties she might have to the Ghostsmiths, and if she’s just a more sentient Revenant or an actual Ghostsmith (or maybe both??). Now I need to know what happens next!

  • Karoliina Laakso

    Yay enemies to lovers!

    I wonder if Wren’s mom was a ghostsmith. Even the Corpse queen being her mom did cross my mind. I don’t think the bonesmiths are complitely wiped out and the hunted territory would be a great place for them to be since don’t even have to be afraid of the ghosts.

    My guess would be that Julian is the Regent and they wanted to overthrow him.

    • Meggan H

      I had the same thought that Wren’s mother might not have been human, but wouldn’t that be difficult for her mom to hide? Maybe her mom was half ghostsmith so that’s why everyone was wondering if Wren would look human or Bonesmith. I think that could add an extra layer to the storyline. If Julian was the Regent don’t you think that they would have killed him a long time ago? Or do you think that there is a prophecy that they area trying to ensure doesn’t ever come true?

  • nicholle2000

    For sure this is going to be a enemies to lovers story. I’m rooting for Julian, even though I like Leo but he seems better for the best friend position. I wouldn’t be surprise if Ghostsmiths really still exist in the Haunted Territory. Apparently they are a lot of things they kept from Wren, so I thinks there’s more we’re going to discover. I’m confident that this “Corpse Queen” has to be a Ghostsmith, and she’s probably has something to do with Wren past. I feel like there’s a lot of secrets of who Julian really is, Maybe he is someone important in the iron house and they want his place.

  • akutobi915

    Leo is the first Goldsmith we meet and he seems to only use his powers to gild his hair and eyelashes and other cosmetic things like that… Can’t wait to see what he’s *actually* capable of…

    Julian’s iron being all pitch-black means his armour and weapons are so aesthetic to me 👌👌 also ‘It was thanks to his own magic that he was able to move and fight under such heavy materials.’ Okay that’s so cool?? Ironsmiths have to be SMART as well as battle-trained in order to keep all the math right for the law of ratios!

    Julian seemed to agree to work together with Wren too easily… I hope she stays alert in case he has other motives!

    I love that Julian is very obviously a trained warrior but he’s still upset about killing people ; it seems to be a pacifist character trait instead of just wanting to avoid anything rising from the corpses.

    I wish Wren and Julian would have cooperated better during the fight with the bandits ; I hope we get to see them actually working together in combat in the future since they have such different skills!

    1) Oh there is DEFINATELY enemies to lovers vibes here. Wren is very sassy and surprisingly charismatic and if Julian is the only Ironsmith left then he’s probably quite lonely? Let’s see how it plays out!

    2) Well, we already know that there is at least one Ironsmith alive despite thinking they shiuld be extinct… So why would it be so strange that there are still Ghostsmiths around?

    3) I’m not going to say anything about this last question since I’ve read a bit ahead 🙊

  • Meggan H

    Can anyone else smell enemies to lovers in the air?
    I’m not certain that Julian and Wren are going to become a couple because I don’t believe that it is super important to the story. Yes their ability to work together can be seen as a peace between the east and west, but do they need to be a romantic couple for that to have the same impact? However, if they do become a romantic couple than it might open them up as individuals because they are both so independent.

    What do you make of this “Corpse Queen”? Could Ghostsmiths really still exist in the Haunted Territory?
    I have reason to believe that Ghostsmiths exist and that is that Ironsmiths exist. No one believed that Ironsmiths existed on the other side of the wall, but clearly that isn’t the case. So if Ghostsmiths were so controversial, why would they make themselves know to anyone else? Don’t you think that they would hide until the had enough power to rise and defeat everyone else? There are so many secrets in the land specifically east of the wall that even the people there most likely don’t know about. The Corpse Queen has to be real because every fairytale has a vein of truth. But if she is so powerful why hasn’t she just come out of the forest? Is she a revenant or a powerful ghostsmith?

    Why would Julian be targeted by his own people?
    Julian might be too powerful as he is the only ironsmith that we have been introduced to and that might pose a threat to the leaders on that side of the wall. However, It doesn’t make sense to kill one person when there has to be many more influential people in the House of Iron. Could it be that they needed to kill him because he might be part of some prophecy?

  • Michele Bliss

    I sooo hope for enemies to lovers.
    And the corpse queen is such a good twist. I hope she turns up soon…. that will increase the action 100%. I loved the second part so much more as the story really picking up pace now.
    Julian is a mystery still, but I cannot wait to find out more. I do feel like there are some secrets that wren has not been told by the bonesmiths/ teachers. Or some lies going around what really is going on on this side if the wall….. I cannot wait to find out more

  • TupaKitty_Reads

    Prince-Smith Leo, the Gold (Twice Spare) Heir is charmingly delinquent, but he seemed to anticipate an attack (kidnap or assassination) which makes me wonder if Odile was also aware of the chances of the same from her Black Market informers, hence sending Wren in her place. Also, the Prince’s “handler,” Galen, happened to announce 1) PRINCE & 2) his location as he was trying to hide from the attackers? I feel like the animosity there makes this less of a slip up out of concern & more like a potential conspiracy. 🤔 Julian, the ironsmith, is carrying out the attack while his fellow attackers are, literally, backstabbing him. Since he fits the description of the end paper character art on the back (not to mention she’ll need an ironsmith to figure out the ring she found), I see we’ve met another integral character.
    Daily Q&A:
    1.) What do we think Fairies…Can anyone else smell enemies to lovers in the air?
    2.) What do you make of this “Corpse Queen”? Could Ghostsmiths really still exist in the Haunted Territory?
    3.) Why would Julian be targeted by his own people?
    1.) Yes. Enemies-to-lovers + forced proximity (I thought they were going to fall to “only 1 horse” but that blew up spectacularly, so here’s another chance 😅)
    2.) Considering Smiths crossed bloodlines making some powers recessive traits that skip generations, absolutely. Where else would be the the best place for a ghostsmith to train (& hide) than near the Breach, right?
    3.) Maybe because he’s a young prodigy in the ironsmiths. Maybe due to his relationship with the regent or his parentage. Maybe there’s other history at play yet to be revealed. I’m curious to find out though.

  • akacya23

    What do we think Fairies…Can anyone else smell enemies to lovers in the air?
    oh absolutely 😌 (at least i hope so😅)

    What do you make of this “Corpse Queen”? Could Ghostsmiths really still exist in the Haunted Territory?
    i’m not sure what to make of this just yet!

    Why would Julian be targeted by his own people?
    good question. i agree with everyone saying it’s likely due to prophetic reasons

  • Bryony

    Oop I missed the whole readalong. I was so busy this week, but I’ll binge as fast as I can and keep sharing my thoughts brief!

    Wren is deeeeeefinitely Locke’s daughter, not Vance’s lol

    What do we think Fairies…Can anyone else smell enemies to lovers in the air?
    Yes… but honestly I prefer Leo. Julian feels very nondescript angsty to me lol.

    What do you make of this “Corpse Queen”? Could Ghostsmiths really still exist in the Haunted Territory?
    Definitely! They sound really interesting so I’m looking forward to finding out more

    Why would Julian be targeted by his own people?
    This is a total mystery! Another one I can’t wait to see unfold

  • Moonlightreader

    The conversation between Wren and Odile below the Border Wall seemed very ominous…Odile, what are you hiding, and what are you afraid of? The princes’ late-night visit to Wren’s room and their interaction with a sleepy Sabrina were entertaining!

    I think that maybe Galen was somehow involved in Leo’s kidnapping, and that’s why he shouted his title and the direction they were heading to the guards. Two things I didn’t see coming in chapter 11 were Leo hitting Julian with a sword to help Wren and Julian being shot with an arrow and thus betrayed by his people!

    Yes, I also love how the humour is woven into the dialogue! I really liked the way the sequence of the ambush was executed as the dynamic was constantly changing, and even though having read the synopsis, I had an idea of what the outcome would be, I was still at the edge of my seat!

    It surely smells like enemies to lovers in the air, and I appreciated how the author delivered on the enemies’ part. They had opposite interests and literally tried to harm each other in their first encounter, not to mention their bickering along their journey so far! Given the way Ghostsmiths were presented, it is very likely they are not as extinct as Wren believes, and they might have played a more prominent role in the events we’ve read so far. As for the reasons behind Julian’s attempted assassination, I’m currently out of ideas. Perhaps it has something to do with his position in the Iron Citadel?


    What do we think Fairies…Can anyone else smell enemies to lovers in the air?
    Yes omg I ship these two together so hard. I love the Romeo Juliet thing where they are supposed to hate each other and kind of do but then fall for one another.

    What do you make of this “Corpse Queen”? Could Ghostsmiths really still exist in the Haunted Territory?
    The ghost queen reminded me of La Llorona. I am curious about this character and the mythology round the ghost queen is she real or just myth?

    Why would Julian be targeted by his own people?
    He is in the way. He is preventing his uncle from ruling.

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12th July 2024

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