Back to school and a decent internet connection!
Picked up two books that looked similar and had titles that we much the same. Anne Fine's The Road of Bones is very different from her usual work, which tends to be contemporary and humorous. This work is set in a vague USSR setting about 50 years ago, and concerns a boy who is put to work at a young age, suffers a mishap on the job, and needs to run away. The bleakness of a government that is all too ready to conscript or imprison its citizens is made even sharper when we know that this boy is so young, and has really done nothing to deserve this punishment. While Fine intends this as a political statement, boys who like war or survival stories will enjoy this one.
Loved the cover on Robe of Skulls from French, but found it rather young and much less horrific than I hoped. If the character is evil enough to want a robe of skulls, why is she concerned about earning the money to buy one? Why doesn't she just torture the dressmaker? After that thought, I couldn't buy into the plot. This would be better in elementary schools for die hard fans of Lemony Snicker.