“A River of Golden Bones” by A.K. Mulford : Authentic Characters

A sleeping curse. A fallen court. A secret twin.

Twins Calla and Briar have spent their entire lives hiding from the powerful sorceress who destroyed their kingdom…and from the humans who don’t know they are Wolves. Each twin has their own purpose in life: Briar’s is to marry the prince of an ally pack and save the Golden Court. Calla’s purpose is to remain a secret, her twin’s shadow . . . the backup plan.

No one knows who Calla truly is except for her childhood friend—and sister’s betrothed—the distractingly handsome Prince Grae. But when Calla and Briar journey out of hiding for Briar’s wedding, all of their well-made plans go awry. The evil sorceress is back with another sleeping curse for the last heir to the Golden Court.

Calla must step out of the shadows to save their sister, their kingdom, and their own legacy. Continuing to hide as a human and denying who she truly is, Calla embarks on a quest across the realm, discovering a whole world she never knew existed. Outside the confines of rigid Wolf society, Calla begins to wonder: who could she be if she dared to try?

In “A River of Golden Bones” by A.K. Mulford, the novel brings us dynamic and authentic characters, in particular, Calla and an exploration of what it means to explore gender identity within the construct of a fantasy novel. The novel explores Calla’s exploration of gender but also identity and discovering the truth of who Calla is apart from her sister. 

I love both the dynamic with Grae, how Calla is a true partner to Grae and forces him to be stronger as Calla learns to be stronger. I found Calla’s struggle particularly evocative and resonating as Calla figures out identity. I love Calla’s voice and I love that nothing is straightforward or uncomplicated. 

I like the resolutions but I did find the ending a bit easy for the characters. Despite that, I still loved the story and the character exploration. The authentic characters and that neither Briar or Calla’s dreams are what either of them thought is especially compelling. If you like stories with gender exploration, this is the novel for you. Calla resonated profoundly with me and I hope with other readers as well.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 shifts

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