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Ursula Vernon

Author of Nettle and Bone

85+ Works 15,560 Members 892 Reviews 36 Favorited

About the Author

Ursula Vernon is a freelance writer, artist and illustrator. She received an undergraduate degree in anthropology at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She took several art classes in college. Her first children's book, Nurk: The Strange Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew, show more was published in 2008. Her other works include Black Dogs: The House of Diamond and the Dragonbreath series. She also writes and illustrates the webcomic Digger and the creator of The Biting Pear of Salamanca. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Photo by J.R. Blackwell


Works by Ursula Vernon

Nettle and Bone (2022) 1,245 copies
What Moves the Dead (2022) 955 copies
The Hollow Places (2020) 879 copies
The Twisted Ones (2019) 838 copies
Dragonbreath (2009) 774 copies
Clockwork Boys (2017) 556 copies
A House With Good Bones (2023) 531 copies
The Seventh Bride (2014) 498 copies
Paladin's Grace (2020) 495 copies
Swordheart (2018) 470 copies
Harriet the Invincible (2015) 448 copies
The Wonder Engine (2018) 376 copies
Bryony and Roses (2015) 332 copies
Thornhedge (2023) 325 copies
The Raven and the Reindeer (2016) 321 copies
Castle Hangnail (2015) 318 copies
Minor Mage (2019) 312 copies
Paladin's Strength (2021) 257 copies
Summer in Orcus (2016) 201 copies
Digger, Vol. 1 (2005) 197 copies
Paladin's Hope (2021) 197 copies
Of Mice and Magic (2016) 191 copies
Nine Goblins (2013) 145 copies
Ratpunzel (2016) 138 copies
Toad Words and Other Stories (2014) 134 copies
Giant Trouble (2017) 118 copies
Illuminations (2022) 106 copies
Whiskerella (2018) 92 copies
Digger, Vol. 2 (2006) 90 copies
The Halcyon Fairy Book (2017) 86 copies
Digger, Vol. 3 (2007) 76 copies
Little Red Rodent Hood (2018) 74 copies
Digger, Vol. 4 (2009) 51 copies
Digger, Vol. 5 (2010) 47 copies
Digger, Vol. 6 (2011) 44 copies
What Feasts at Night (2024) 26 copies
The Tomato Thief (2016) 13 copies
The Dryad's Shoe {story} (2014) 9 copies
Irrational fears (2009) 8 copies
An Unexpected Honor (2017) 3 copies
Razorback 1 copy

Associated Works

Comics Squad: Recess! (2014) — Contributor — 245 copies
Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever. (2017) — Contributor — 169 copies
The New Voices of Fantasy (2017) — Contributor — 163 copies
The Mythic Dream (2019) — Contributor — 157 copies
Rocket Fuel: Some of the Best From Tor.com Non-Fiction (2018) — Contributor — 75 copies
Escape Pod: The Science Fiction Anthology (2020) — Contributor — 65 copies
Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 (2016) — Contributor — 63 copies
The Best of Uncanny (2019) — Contributor — 52 copies
Best of Apex Magazine: Volume 1 (2016) — Contributor — 51 copies
Uncanny Magazine Issue 16: May/June 2017 (2017) — Contributor — 20 copies
Apex Magazine 80 (January 2016) (2016) — Author — 19 copies
Uncanny Magazine Issue 25: November/December 2018 (2018) — Contributor — 19 copies
Uncanny Magazine Issue 7: November/December 2015 (2015) — Contributor — 12 copies
Uncanny Magazine Issue 17: July/August 2017 (2017) — Contributor — 10 copies
Apex Magazine 56 (January 2014) (2014) — Contributor — 8 copies
Uncanny Magazine Issue 36: September/October 2020 (2020) — Contributor — 8 copies
Apex Magazine 68 (January 2015) (2015) — Contributor — 7 copies
Come Join Us by the Fire Season 2 (2020) — Contributor — 5 copies
Uncanny Magazine: The Best of 2018 — Contributor, some editions — 2 copies
BSFA Awards 2022 (2023) — Contributor — 1 copy


2020 (53) 2021 (60) 2022 (84) adventure (174) animals (100) anthology (181) anthropomorphic (55) children's (200) comics (106) dragons (115) ebook (520) fairy tales (199) fantasy (1,986) fiction (956) grade 5 (51) graphic novel (234) graphic novels (80) horror (343) humor (265) illustrated (83) kids (47) Kindle (250) magic (155) middle grade (53) novella (58) read (126) read in 2020 (55) retelling (64) romance (176) science fiction (193) series (107) sf (129) sff (120) short stories (209) steampunk (46) to-read (1,163) unread (75) wombats (46) YA (95) young adult (121)

Common Knowledge



The Deep Ones: "Origin Story" by T. Kingfisher in The Weird Tradition (October 2021)
Cinderella retelling in Name that Book (May 2016)


I understand why people like this book. I do, it just isn't to my taste, which is a shame because if some different decisions were made in the narrative, I have a feeling I would have been a huge fan. I am not a fan of the "innocent" heroine, and sometimes I could really take or leave the main two characters. This book is also super low stakes, but low stakes doesn't have to mean lacking in drama. It is also low angst and funny sometimes, which is what I think people appreciate more. The plot is basically some legal drama over who owns someone's inheritance. They are constantly traveling between the same two towns. I disagree with the ending. I really do think that a curse should've been broken at the end or something. The worldbuilding was nice (although I probably would have understood it more if I had read the other books). I really liked how the queer representation was both good, casual and well-integrated into the world. There is no point where we are justifying the existence of Zale to any of the characters or the reader.… (more)
kittyfoyle | 33 other reviews | Nov 27, 2023 |
After a dig opportunity is put on hold, Sam, an archaeoentomologist, goes to stay with her mother for a while. Sam’s brother has mentioned that their mom seems off, and it doesn’t take long for Sam to see what he means: their usually free-spirited mother has repainted her once-brightly-colored home all in shades of ecru, and their grandmother’s weird old racist paintings are back up on the walls. She also doesn’t seem to want to hear anything at all critical about said grandmother, and in fact gets noticeably nervous at such talk. The house used to be Grand Mae’s, and it seems to Sam that, years after her dead, the nasty old bag is strangely present again, at least in her mom’s mind. She soon discovers that it may not be all in her mother’s head, though, when strange and scary things start happening to Sam, too.

An interesting twist on the haunted house genre. The plot is interesting and original, but what really makes it a great read for me is that character of Sam herself. She’s very well drawn, very believable, and has a fantastic 1st person voice.
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electrascaife | 24 other reviews | Nov 26, 2023 |
An entertaining fantasy tale that manages to use typical tropes of this genre in surprinsgly original ways. I really enjoyed worldbuilding and characters... but the story is getting worse the more I think about it :(

My first impression was that this book feels similar to Neil Gaiman's Stardust. It's kind of typical fairy tale, but with modern twist and dark undertones mixed with humor. I'd say it is more suitable for adults than children as it plays with some serious themes (abuse, suicide, children death, rape) but somehow doesn't feel "heavy" overall. The writing is captivating and pleasure to read, it's hard to put this book down... up until the final chapters when tension fizzles out a bit.

I'm impressed with the wordlbuilding in this book. It's very efficient and rich at the same time. It's easy to get sense of this world and be amazed with its wonders as much as the protagonist is. I rarely can say this - but I wish there was more exposition and explaination. The author provides many glimpses (and shadows) of interesting things in the background that I'd like to explore more but these Chekhov's guns never fire.

Characters are interesting as well, they seem archetypical at first but slowly reveal some depth that makes them unique and can surprise fans of this genre. Fun fact: this book almost fails Bechdel test for males - it's a woman's world! :) This gives it a perspective that feels fresh and is a nice change. On the flipside, it becomes predictable when every male is either evil, mad, drunk, untrustworthy, or incompetent. The only one who is not like that, also predictably, ends up in a romantic relationship with the protagonist (which BTW feels completely unnecessary).

The story is a weaker side of this book. If you don't think too much and enjoy the ride it might not be a problem. But once you look back... there are multiple issues. I don't mind that a fairly tale is simple - it's expected. However, it bothers me when there is no deeper meaning, a moral, or lesson learned. Typically, a hero grows as a person and uses obtained wisdom to overcome seemingly impossible challenges. Here, there is no special growth and our hero doesn't do much. The only lesson seems to be - perservere, push forward against the impossible, and find companions who will do all the work for you ;) There were interesting themes and intriguing questions asked in the first half of the book that got abandoned later on. I wish they got more space and reach some conclusion - that would certainly elevate the book.

If you're easily irritated by plotholes, deus ex machina moments, and a passive protagonist that gets carried through the plot and doesn't understand what's going on for most of it then drop one star from my rating.
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sperzdechly | 58 other reviews | Nov 22, 2023 |
While I recognise the name of the short story that this is based on, I don't remember it well enough to have noticed the resonances between the two, so people familiar with Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher may have a very different reaction to this story.

While in theory this is a 'what is happening in the decaying gothic mansion' story, with significant horror themes, that isn't the way I experienced it. Instead, because of the focus on sworn soldier Alex Easton, and how they got to be where they are, it felt like a rambling character study with a horror b plot. The horror is very much body horror for me, in a gentle but relentless tease of unpleasantness.

In terms of experiencing the horror -- I could tell that it was a dreadful situation for the protagonists, but I didn't really feel any sense of creeping dread myself. The post-war trauma of Easton, and the American doctor, Denton, seemed to have as much importance as the setting, if not more.
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fred_mouse | 44 other reviews | Nov 22, 2023 |


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Natasha MacKenzie Cover artist
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Greg Stadnyk Cover designer
Esther S. Kim Cover designer
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