The Cold Is In Her Bones – A Chilling Medusa Retelling

The Cold Is In Her Bones – A Chilling Medusa Retelling

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

The Cold Is In Her Bones

Author: Peternelle van Arsdale
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Page Count: 288
Format: eARC
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings
Cover Artist: -
My Rating: ★★★½

The Cold Is in Her BonesThe Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much! All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.


WARNING: If you don’t like snakes…then you may not like this book very much, because there are a lot of them!

Content Warning: Curses, Death, Emotional Abuse

And this anger became bitterness, and this bitterness turned her into a monster. And the monster that she became wanted to hurt everyone that had hurt her. So she did. She punished everyone until there was no one left to punish. No one at all.

Yet another hauntingly beautiful tale by Peternelle van Arsdale. I believe this author has captured my attention wholly when it comes to writing style and character building (and setting and plot and…you get the picture). There are elements in both of her novels, The Beast is an Animal and The Cold is in Her Bones that are so unlike anything I’ve ever read. There is an otherworldliness accompanied with twisted reality which makes these tales familiar, yet very, very foreign.


The Cold is in Her Bones is a loose Medusa retelling. While yes, I see the correlations, I also see a lot of differences between this tale and the mythological one. That doesn’t really matter to me, as I read this book as its own story. I’d say that if you are looking for a hardcore, follows-along-the-same-tale type of retelling of Medusa mythology, I don’t feel like this quite fits that bill. I wouldn’t write it off just for that reason, though! This story is stunning, and mixes the twisted, beautiful, mysterious, and whimsical.

A brief, yet, very effective Prologue gives a look into the story of Hulda, introducing the lifestyles of the characters, setting, and snakes. It then shifts to Milla’s perspective for the rest of the story. The plot itself isn’t overdone, which is another element of this author’s writing that I admire. Not everything is fully explained, and it allows room for the reader to imagine. I feel that if more was explained, then it would take away from the message this story is conveying.

Very strong themes based on feelings resonate throughout the plot. Themes such as anger, forgiveness, vengeance, and regret. Milla dances with most, if not all touched upon. The Cold Is In Her Skin speaks loudly about how if anger is left unchecked it turns into vengeance.The metaphorical is taken literally and feelings materialize. Another theme that stands out is facing your demons.

…I made messes for you, and you can’t wish your messes away. I’m here, Mamma. A big mess. And I’m taking you to your other big mess. And you will apologize, and you will make this right.

The only thing I wished that had more explanation was the ending. I felt it ended rather abruptly, and could have been fleshed out further. Otherwise, I loved everything else about this story.

Vulgarity: None.
Sexual Content: None.
Violence: Some. Certain scenes are more eerie than anything.

My Rating: ★★★★1/2

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I am the author behind Foals, Fiction & Filigree. An all-encompassing blog about horses, books, and my art.

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