The Silence of Bones by June Hur
1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.
As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.
But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.
Trigger & Content Warnings:
- Religious persecution & hate crimes (central theme)
- Misogyny and gendered slurs
- Ableist language
- Indentured servitude*
- Sexual assault (unwanted touching) mentioned (chp 9)
- Suicide, attempted suicide & suicidal ideation recounted and discussed (multiple times)
- Suicide from a fall mentioned (chp 1)
- Suicide from hanging mentioned (chp 16)
- Alcohol consumption mentioned
- Pregnancy & childbirth mentioned
- Death of a baby and infanticide recounted
- Graphic blood & gore depiction
- Graphic dead bodies and autopsy scene
- Graphic physical injuries, illness & wound descriptions
- Nonconsensual branding and resulting scars recounted
- Grief & loss depiction
- Death of a brother (on-page)
- Death of a father recounted
- Death of a mother recounted
- Death of a sister recounted
- Death from starvation & exposure to the cold mentioned
- Murder and attempted murder
- Regicide (off-page)
- Torture (one on-page scene, otherwise discussed or recounted)
- Kidnapping and hostage situation
- Whipping mentioned (chp 3)
- Police brutality and violence
- Drowning mentioned and near-drowning incident
- Animal attack (chp 2)
- Animal injuries mentioned (chp 9)
- Animal death, hunting, and animal butchering mentioned
- Poverty themes
*The main character is an indentured servant to the police.
**The serial killer cuts the noses off their victims.
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