The Bone Witch reads like a dark fairy tale with its monsters and macabre magic system. For me, this book was all about setting. The world building is every bit as stunning as this book’s cover.
I recommend a Redwood Creek Pinot Noir wine to pair with the magical noir tones of this book.
*Wine Recommendations are, of course, for those of legal drinking age only.*
It’s All in the Details
- Author – Rin Chupeco
- Publisher – Sourcebooks Fire
- Pub Date – March 7, 2017
- Pages – 400
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.
Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!
The Bone Witch reads like a dark fairy tale with its monsters and macabre magic system. For me, this book was all about setting. The world building is every bit as stunning as this book’s cover and was clearly inspired by the Eastern culture. The Whispers, where Tea goes to train as a Dark Asha, is fascinating. Not only is it beautifully described, but it’s also full of political and social intrigue.
The characters are complicated and dynamic and getting to know them is a true pleasure. I found Mistress Parmina, Fox, Likh, and Polaire to have been particularly well drawn. Mistress Parmina reminded me very much of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. I loved the relationship between Tea and her brother Fox. I don’t feel like we get to see enough strong brother/sister relationships within YA, and I thought Chupeco did a beautiful job depicting their devotion to one another and their innate desire to protect each other. Likh was probably my favorite character of the bunch. It was so fascinating to watch him struggle with his designated gender role within the confines of the society in which this story takes place. He’s such a beautiful character, and his performance during the darashi oyun was my favorite scene.
There are a couple important characters in this novel that I feel we needed to see more of for the ending of this story to really make sense, Kalen and Prince Kance. The ending as it is feels very abrupt and confusing, like Chupeco left out several scenes that would explain how Tea ends up in the emotional and physical place she’s in when the story concludes.
Despite the great setting, magic system, and characters, I can’t say that I loved this book, mostly due to the fact that it really seemed to be lacking in plot. Most of this book is spent with Tea either training to be an asha or being fitted for huas. It has an extremely slow pace and not nearly enough action for a story about a girl who is supposedly training to kill the daeva, the darkest of monsters that terrorize their world if not put down regularly by a bone witch.
The book shifts POVs and time periods within each chapter. This shift is extremely confusing during the first few chapters and leaves readers scrambling to figure out what exactly is going on, which has the unfortunate side effect of pulling us out of the story.
The ending of this book was unsatisfying for me. There are just too many loose ends that aren’t resolved after reading the last chapter in Tea’s past perspective POV, and when it abruptly switches to Tea’s present perspective POV it drops too many bombshells that are never explained. You can imagine how Tea could have gotten to the place she is, but without actually having read the scenes where these VERY crucial plot points took place, you just don’t feel emotionally invested in the story. It leaves you feeling confused and like you somehow missed the best part of the story.
This book is ideal for those whose favorite books center around setting and world building. Chupeco truly nails those elements in this story. It’s also great for readers who enjoy having pieces of the story left more vague and up to their own imaginings.
This cover is absolutely STUNNING. It perfectly matches the macabre, yet fairy tale-like tone of this story.
This book has great potential for some swoon worthy moments with either Prince Kance or Kalen; however, we really get to see none of that in the actual book. After reading the final chapter, you know some major stuff happened between Tea and the two of them, but you have absolutely no idea what it is, which was disappointing.