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Boneland

The Weirdstone Trilogy, Book 3
Narrated by: Robert Powell
Series: Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Book 3
Length: 4 hrs and 56 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 11-13
3.5 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Summary

Boneland is Alan Garner’s continuation of the story thread which began in his first and enduringly popular fantasy children’s novel, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, published in 1960, it has never been out of print. The Moon of Gomrath followed in 1963 taking the story further with the same two children, Colin and Susan. But Boneland is particularly fascinating because it takes the story into adulthood, with Colin again the main proponent. Boneland is read by the experienced actor Robert Powell, at the request of Alan Garner himself.

©2012 Alan Garner (P)2012 Naxos AudioBooks

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not an easy book to listen too, quite complicated and a bit surreal. Slightly disappointed as it is not really Werdstone 3 in my opinion. Same scenery and Colin was the main character but very much different story to other two books in Weirdstone trilogy, not what I was expecting. Despite this I can't say I didn't enjoy the book.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The ending felt a bit quick and not conclusive. Will the Trilogy have another book??

What three words best describe Robert Powell’s voice?

Very easy to listen too.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Probably not.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Sorry Alan, not a patch on Weirdstone or Moon :-(

When I stumbled across Boneland I was over the moon, and even went so far as to immediately call my wife and excitedly tell her that the Wierdstone duology had a third part. I bought and downloaded it immediately and couldn't wait for my drive home to find out what had happened to Colin, Susan, Gowther, Fenodyree, Cadellin and their other friends and enemies.



After a hopeful start things began to go down hill fairly quickly, but I stuck to it in the hope that somebody new and exciting, or even someone from the previous books, would make an appearance and drag the book back from madness towards something magical and enchanting, but in vain.



I stuck with it right to the end, always hoping, but when the book came to its abrupt end I was left thinking 'So?' and 'Why?'. The feeling of involvement in the narrative which had gripped me through both of the other books never made itself felt in Boneland and I felt real sadness that the magic of Weirdstone appeared to be gone forever, never to be extended. Thank goodness that I have both of the other books in my Audible library, which I re-visit when the need for an escape to magical adventure takes me.



If you are looking for an extension to the excitement of the first two book in this trilogy, I don't think that Boneland will be a particularly enjoyable work for you. If it's your first visit to the trilogy, it might just work as a standalone listen, but personally I'd suggest you listen to the other two and spend a credit on something else.



Sorry Alan!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

So disappointing

As a child I absolutely adored Alan Garner's novels - Weirdstone, Moon of Gomrath and Elidor were 3 of favourite books. I was so looking forward to Garner's return to that territory but this book was a severe disappointment. The 'plot' is nigh on incomprehensible and it is an extremely dull listen. About the only thing going for it is its very short. Sadly disappointing.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Strange and Haunting

Don't expect a children's book or a simple follow up to Weirdstone and Moon of Gomrath. This story raised more questions than it answered. The writing is extraordinary, drawing you into the mythology of the landscape and events far beyond what we can understand.
Colin can't remember his life before the age of 12 and his sister has vanished. Why can't he leave his home, where is Susan, who are the chauffer and the psychologist? A much older story is interwoven with Colin's search for his sister.
This is an impossible book to review but if the first two books made an impact on your childhood that you haven't quite shaken off then give this a try. It's strange and wonderful and I can't stop thinking about it. Robert Powell's narration is also excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Disappointed ... so very disappointed

What could Alan Garner have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

.... The Weirdstone was the first book I remember reading as a child ... and I have returned many times to re-read ... I just loved it ..... Boneland is a world away from my childhood ... and therefore one of the biggest disappointments ... so sorry Alan to be so negative .. but I was expecting to be transported back to wizards .. and dwarfs and the excitement of a previously tasted treat ... I was left wanting ...

Did Robert Powell do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

yes ... Robert Powell is excellent

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

huge disappointment ... even sadness

Any additional comments?

try again . please ... .... this time for us 50 year old kids ..... who love childrens' books !

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Undecided ...

Superb narration and an intriguing tale, but for me it wasn't the continuation of the Weirdstone story I was hoping for.
Some very interesting elements and areas for thought.

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If you enjoyed the first 2 books STOP NOW!

My-first-thoughts-were-this-book-is-a-joke.
I-loved-the-first-two-books-not-amazingly-written-but-i-still-enjoyed-them.
This-book-however-wasted-my-time-and-money-full-of-rambling-non-sensical-twaddle.
you-may-aswell-have-never-read-the-previous-books-storyline-is-not-progressed-for-any-previous-character.
narrated-by-robert-powell-at-request-of-alan-garner.
what did Robert Powell do to deserve this evil punishment

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Better the second time around

I read this in paper form when it first came out and wasn't particularly impressed. After a listen, and helped by an excellent narrator, it's actually much better.

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Dire

I loved the wierdstone and the moon of gomrath but this as the final part of the trilogy fails on every level. it is dire, tedious and pointless. I have listened to it twice in the hope that my expectations were too high first time round but I think I hated it more. it isn't badly written, it simply has little value and is an enormous disappointment. this review has been written so as to avoid spoilers, not that there is anything worth spoiling! aaaaargh! this could have been so good but it really isn't!

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worth the wait

Alan Garner has completed his trilogy spanning most of my life.
Alderley is my spiritual home so his first two books inspired my interest as a youngster and this book took several attempts to untangle the complex text. A masterpiece by a local man who values aural history.

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Profile Image for Jefferson
  • Jefferson
  • 06-02-19

“I'm for uncertainty”

As Alan Garner's Boneland (2012) begins, a man called Colin Whisterfield discharges himself from a Cheshire hospital, gets into a taxi driven by a solicitous down to earth guy called Burt, and goes home to Church Quarry and his kit-made hut, where he falls asleep. The story then shifts to an anonymous stone-age man watching stars, carving a bull in a rock, finding a woman and a child encased in ice and exposing them to the birds, and having visions of riding Grey Wolf. Is the man Colin's dream, or Colin's ancestor, or Colin time slipping, or simply (!?) a man doing things 10,000 years ago that are thematically equivalent to Colin in the present? Shifting back to Colin, the story depicts him trying to return to work during sick leave (he's an astrophysicist using a cutting edge radio telescope array called MERLIN and a computer nicknamed Arthur to investigate the Pleiades) and starting to see a psychologist called Meg, who has a quick wit, a warm sympathy, and an eclectic library. Colin has been diagnosed by his previous doctors as "an immature, uncooperative, hysterical, depressive, Asperger's, with an IQ off the clock," but Meg reckons his problems stem from missing twin syndrome and selective amnesia possibly due to some head trauma in his past. And when Colin starts hearing his long lost twin sister's voice while listening to the telescope and Meg starts asking challenging questions (like "have you ever been struck by lightning?") and giving scary advice (like, "go to where it hurts most"), and the stone age man starts realizing that he's aging and alone and better carve a woman into the world to bear him a child to whom to teach the vital dancing, singing, and stone carving to ensure the continuance of the world, the novel moves into intense terrain.

Boneland is the long-delayed (50 years!) concluding volume in a trilogy that Garner began with The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960) and The Moon of Gomrath (1963), in which Colin and his twin Susan experience scary and exciting adventures involving an important stone, a quarry, a witch, a wizard, dwarves, crows, tunnels, Arthurian sleepers in a mountain, and the like. But the later novel is not a simple continuation of the plot and surely not of the style, genre, or narrative technique of the earlier ones. Instead, it feels closer to Garner's Stone Book Quartet (1976-78), in its terse, poetic, vivid, elliptical, and challenging style and narrative technique and its emphasis on the persisting power of place and craft and stone and stars. But Boneland is much more openly interested in psychology and psychiatry than his earlier Cheshire books.

As I read Boneland, in addition to the connection between the stone-age man and contemporary Colin, I wondered about things like, What happened to Susan, with whom he adventured in the first two books? Why can't he remember anything from before he was 13 (Garner's effective, if perverse way to avoid easy linking of this third book to the first two in the "trilogy")? Why did Garner decide to write this third book so many years after the second one? I feel that this novel cannot comfortably stand on its own, but also that it is so different from the first two that it seems another animal. It is bold to complete a children's fantasy trilogy by writing an adult third book about the child protagonist as a middle-aged man who fears he is mad and can't remember his childhood experiences!

The prose is amazing, especially in the hypnotic stone-age passages like this one:
“He sat up on the shoulder. The Grey Wolf struck the damp earth and ran, higher than the trees, lower than the clouds, and each leap measured a mile; from his feet flint flew, spring sprouted, lake surged and mixed with gravel dirt, and birch bent to the ground. Hare crouched, boar bristled, crow called, owl woke, and stag began to bell. And the Grey Wolf stopped. They were at the Hill of Death and Life.”
And there is plenty of great writing in the present passages as well: neat lines ("Similes are for cowards"), fine emotion ("Wrench by wrench Colin's tears turned to dew on his cheek"), savory Cheshire dialect ("You've got a right cob on"), and vivid descriptions ("Stone thrust out. Below the scarp was tumbled with boulders to the land beneath. The brindled fields stretched to the hills").

Garner's compact novel also features plenty of content, interesting ideas about science and art, mythology and psychology, memory and time, the connection between past and present and place, the truth of fairy tales (and legends and myths), the loss of something precious in contemporary life, and so on. In addition to the visionary poetry of the stone-age passages, there are many sublime moments in the present, like when Colin shows Meg some goblin gold or gazes into a half a million or so years old black stone axe that contains stars and creation and is the first step towards the radio telescope.

Colin, Meg, and Burt are all appealing characters.

The audiobook reader, Robert Powell, is superb. The audiobook production uses a slight echo effect for the stone-age passages, to make them sound sacred.

I recommend the novel, but warn readers who loved the first two books not to expect a typical trilogy continuation and conclusion. I did find the Stone Book Quartet more satisfying. It's as if finally in Boneland we're being told the adventures in the first two books may or may not have happened, depending on our viewpoint. Perhaps because Colin and presumably Garner are "for uncertainty," believing that "all discovery is play" that "never finishes," that "there are no final answers," that time is multi-linear, and that "faith is the only truth, belief the only reality," the ending of the novel is ambiguous and difficult (for this reader) to pin down.

But it does end with Meg's grail questions ringing in our ears: "What is this thing? What does it mean? Whom does it serve?"