Burning Bones is the last book in the Neon Blue trilogy.
I don’t want to say too much about Burning Bones because it will spoil Blood Yellow, but I will say that it’s time for the demons and Tsara to go to war!
Burning Bones takes place primarily in Ash Hill, the demons’ home in Hell, which I’ve done a sketch of here. And here’s a short excerpt with some description of Ash Hill that I hope doesn’t give too much away!
Jou’s warden and brother, Fulsome, waits for us in the central courtyard that Jou uses as a reception hall. Fulsome is the most beautiful creature – human, demon, fae, whatever – that I’ve ever seen. He’s a Renaissance sculptor’s marble angel made flesh. The ruddy light from the lava fountain in the center of the courtyard glows on the smooth curves of his face and body, paints red-gold highlights in the nimbus of his hair.
I control a shiver and look away. I have difficulty meeting Fulsome’s eyes. Because I know what’s behind them. I’ve touched the cold wasteland of his soul. It’s not a place I want to visit again.
“The pissant’s in her garden,” Fulsome says to Jou as we approach. Fulsome’s mouth’s as foul as his face is fair. And Jou’s siblings who haven’t quite warmed to me always refer to me as ‘her.’ Even when they’re speaking to me.
Jou nods and alters course, past the lava fountain, towards the shimmering archway that’s really a fixed gate connecting my garden to the fortress.
“You could put me down now,” I point out.
“Could do,” he agrees, continuing to carry me across the courtyard.
I glance over his shoulder at Fulsome, who has followed us, and who is glowering at Jou’s back.
Fulsome’s glaring at you, I say into Jou’s mind, since I don’t want his brother to overhear me and demon hearing is frighteningly acute.
Let ‘im. He and Zef need to get over it.
I don’t have an answer to that, so I rest my head against Jou’s shoulder and try to ignore Fulsome’s burning gaze. I’ve watched the tension grow between Jou and his siblings since my arrival. I’ve tried to make peace with Fulsome and Zeifyr. But I still don’t understand any of the demons very well, except Jou, and we’ve had some spectacular misunderstandings. Every gesture I make only seems to disgust Fulsome and irritate Zeifyr.
Jou stops in front of the gate and waits until the magical portal reaches out a shimmering tentacle. It strokes his horns, slips down over his face like a caress, then opens for him. Jou’s relationship with the fortress gates is very peaceful. And he’s taught me to open them the same way. But everyone has their own approach to the gates. The gate will close immediately behind us and Fulsome will attack it in the wrathful way he does until it opens for him. Why the gate touches Jou and yields, but won’t open to Fulsome until he assaults it, I have no clue. The magic of Hell is still mostly a mystery to me.
My garden opens in front of us as we step through the gate and I take a deep, grateful breath. This is a place whose magic I understand perfectly. This is magic redolent with moisture and the rich smell of soil, of green and growing things. This is my magic, the magic of Earth.