Title: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Science Fiction, High Fantasy
Setting: The fictional world of The Eight Kingdoms
Source: I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
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!
What I Say:
This novel follows the story of Tea (pronounced Tay-ya, which wasn’t revealed until the very latter part of the book and I spent almost the entire time reading this book pronouncing it as Tea, like the drink. This really annoyed me.) from the moment when she discovers she’s a bone witch until she is about 17 years old. The story switches focus from following along her journey in learning who she is and how to be a bone witch in the world of asha, or witches, to a point in the future where Tea is exiled and communicating her story to another exile, The Bard.
I mostly enjoyed the parts of the story where it is being told in the first person from Tea’s point of view. During these scenes, we get to see how Tea is being trained as an asha. There’s action, humor, and a bit of romance. It’s very Harry Potter-like. The other scenes where the reader is given a third person point of view from the perspective of the Bard were a little confusing. The only thing you really get from these scenes is the Bard’s nervousness around Tea but not what her motivations are. What is she doing, exiled with only bones for company?
The book also ends on a cliff-hanger, not having resolved anything at all in the entire book. I get cliff-hangers and why this device is used in series and trilogies, but Chupeco could have chosen to, at the very least, clear up some of the cloudiness and mystery surrounding Tea. We don’t find out why she’s exiled, whose grave she mourns, who the Bard is and what role is he going to play, if any at all, what Tea is going to do now that her preparations on the beach seem to be completed, or why her brother and all of her friends seem to have abandoned her. Chupeco was a little bit too mysterious and I felt like she could have fleshed out Tea’s world a little better and the people in it.
That being said, I liked Chupeco’s lyrical writing. She is very poetic in her prose. It was easy to read and, like I said before, I really had fun with the parts of the story told from Tea’s perspective. This is an ARC though, so there’s room for changes to be made before the final release.