I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Release date: March 7th, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.
“Dark asha are the grunts of the system. We do the most important work—raising and banishing daeva—but we rarely receive acclaim for it. We are more likely to be known for our mistakes than our successes.”
The Bone Witch surprised me. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but ended up being so much more! It’s a story I became completely invested in. I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I wasn’t reading the book. It’s truly unique and different from other fantasy novels out there.
The story is about Tea, a young woman who accidentally resurrects her dead brother during his funeral. The people in her backwards village are livid but Tea is taken in by Mykaela, an asha (a well respected magical individual), who whisks her off to The Willows to be trained to use her special abilities. However, Tea, like her mentor Mykaela, are not your run of the mill asha. They are dark ash, otherwise known as bone witches, who can raise and control the dead. They are feared because of their abilities but play a great role in the protection of the innocent as only they can destroy the murderous daeva that threaten to destroy all of those in their path.
- Memoirs of a Geisha, although it has many faults which I won’t get into here, was a book I fell madly in love with when I was in high school. The Bone Witch is very similar to the world established in Arthur Golden’s book. The ASHA ARE BASICALLY MAGICAL WARRIOR GEISHA who also excel in the arts and entertain important individuals in tea houses. Besides these stark similarities the author did a fabulous job creating a unique and intricate WORLD. The descriptions from the beautiful clothes of the asha, to the food and various races of people allowed me to clearly imagine every aspect of Tea’s world. It was truly one of the most detailed worlds I’ve read about in a long time.
- The COVER is love. I just can’t stop looking at it! It is beyond gorgeous and one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book. From the first time I saw it I knew this would be a book that I would adore. I’m so glad my instincts were right. I would have been unbelievably sad if such a beautiful cover would have let me down.
- The book features two ALTERNATING points of view. The first is of Tea, the story’s lead character, and details her journey from small village girl to powerful asha. The other is that of a bard who sought out Tea after she had been expelled from her asha world. These changing points of view were fascinating because their tone were completely different from each other. Tea’s journey was hopeful and determined. The parts told by the bard were dark and ominous. I usually don’t like alternating points of view, but the author did a good job at connecting them. Each transition smoothly flowed into the next. It also kept me curious and wanting to read on.
- The CHARACTERS were all so unique and true individuals. Tea’s evolution from insecure teenager to bitter young woman fascinated me. I enjoyed her journey, but found the bard’s version of her intriguing. What can I say? I like dark and mysterious characters and Tea was just that. Two other characters that stood out were Rahim (the outgoing clothing maker) and Likh (a young man who strives to become an asha even though it’s a female only profession). These two characters brightened up the story whenever they appeared and offered interesting ideas on gender roles and acceptance in a very strict and never changing society.
- The RELATIONSHIP between Tea and her newly resurrected brother Fox was really heartwarming. Their dedication and love for each other was evident throughout the entire story. Plus, how can you not love Fox? Seriously, he died a horrible death, was brought back and instead of being bitter or angry at how life treated him, he laughed and maintained an upbeat attitude. The man is a treasure! I always wanted to know more about him. Hints were made here and there but he’s still very much a mystery. I think we will be learning more about him in the next book. Details mentioned at the end of this story throw in a new perspective to their relationship and I’m really interested to see where it will go later on.
- The ENDING floored me. There’s no closure whatsoever and I have more questions than I began with. So much wasn’t answered but I loved it. It was different and not what I was expecting at all. Of course this means that I cannot wait for the sequel. Seriously, I was so excited to read the story early but now I’m dying inside. The wait is just going to be that much longer! NOOOOOO!
- The PACING was very uneven. It took me a long time to read through the story. I found myself rushing through some chapters while at other times it felt like the pages were never ending. At times the descriptions were overly done. While I mostly enjoyed the descriptions as they helped me to truly construct Tea’s world in my mind, certain parts could have been edited down. Sometimes there’s just too much of a good thing. It’s best to know when enough is enough.
So, while not perfect, I highly recommend The Bone Witch. Don’t let the slow start or pacing throw you off. The slight struggle is more than worth it at the end. I cannot wait to see where the author will go next. Can they just announce the sequel already? I NEED IT BADLY!!!
Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She is represented by Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency.