Author: Rin Chupeco
Release Date: March 7th, 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA | Witches | Paranormal
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Read: from August 23 to September 4, 2016
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781492635826 (Hardcover)
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!
Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Bone Witch was a rather peculiar book. I say this in a good way because, trust me, this book wasn’t like anything I’ve read before. And that was one of the best qualities of it.
And I have to warn you, before you continue reading, that this review won’t make any sense at all! It’s a rather complicated book to review which so many things I still haven’t figured out but I’ll get to that in a moment. I will try my best to explain myself properly but I’m pretty sure it’ll end up being one of those reviews were nothing makes sense!
Okay, here we go:
One of the main reasons I really wanted to read The Bone Witch (apart from the extremely beautiful cover… I mean, look at it!), was the premise. A young girl who finds out she’s a bone witch, a witch who can resurrect the dead and then leaves home in order to become a rather powerful witch? Yes, please! It sounded just like up my alley and I couldn’t stop myself from requesting it on NetGalley when I got the chance.
So, the book starts with our main character, Tea, telling her story to this bard who wants to write a book about her. So she’s starts by telling him about when she found out she had the power to resurrect people. And she found it out by resurrecting her dead brother – who later ends up having this amazing capacity to joke about his death and being “dead” that is hilarious. After being pushed aside by her family and her village, another bone witch finds her and takes her away so she can train to become a proper bone witch with the asha – women with magical ability.
And this is where things become messy. This book is complex guys, trust me. There are a lot thing I’m still not sure I fully understood the concept. Somethings I’m quite sure I didn’t grasp them entirely.
So, we have the asha who are witches who can use any elemental ability and then you have the dark asha who are the bone witches – these ones are kind of rare. Each one trains in order to become this sort of Geisha but also train to fight against these monsters – the daeva – who are dead but once in a while resurrect – the bastards! But only the dark asha can truly kill them. And you also have the deathseekers who are the like the male version of the asha – apart from the geisha part – they’re more like soldiers trained in magic.
Then there’s these heartglasses that contain a person’s “heart” and some people can read their emotions through their colour – Tea is one of them. And there’s the forger and his apprentice who can create people’s hearts by using someone else’s memories – this is a topic I’m still not sure about but I do like the whole heartglass concept in general.
Then, the most complicated part for me since I feel like this part of the story was simply thrown out at us readers instead of properly explained; the Faceless and the False Prince. As far as I could gather, the Faceless are the followers of this False Prince but who the heck this prince is, I have no idea. Maybe in the upcoming books – or book – we’ll get to know him and his history properly but for now I’m kind of lost.
Alright, I think this covers the things I’m still slightly confused about but, and despite the fact I didn’t fully grasp the idea Rin Chupeco had intended to express, this didn’t stop me from enjoying the action of the book.
In my opinion, a person can enjoy a book even if he/she didn’t fully understand the main universe. As long as the main plot and the characters are interesting enough, I don’t see why you can’t enjoy it.
Anyway, moving on to the things I did like.
Tea from the future telling her story to the bard. I loved it! It makes you super curious about what the heck happened that eventually led to Tea being where she is.
Tea and Fox’s – her brother – bond and relationship. The fact that she resurrected him created this deeper bond between then that allows each other to know what the other feels and thinks. And Fox turned out to be one of the best characters in the book due to his sense of humour.
Tea’s “sisters” who help her train alongside her mentor, Mykaela. Those two, Polaire and Althy were, perhaps, my two favourite characters in the whole book, before Fox! Their humour, their opposite personality and abilities just made the story so much lighter. I hope to read more about them in the upcoming books!
And something that happened at the end of the book, a discovery that has to do with Tea in the future (or is it the present?) that had me surprised and so excited even though I saw it coming like miles away.
Anyway, the first half of the book dragged a little for me because it was a fantasy YA version of Memoirs of a Geisha (totally stealing it from the blurb and since I saw the movie but never read the book, I think I can compare the two of them!). It was more centred around Tea’s duties as a servant first and then as an asha in training – the practising her dance moves, singing, etiquette, history and whatnot.
But then you had the magic element to the story where Tea trained how to fight against weapons and magic alike, how to control her ability as a bone witch and how to use herbs and all.
There isn’t much I can say more about The Bone Witch to be honest and I feel that my review did little to express my true feelings about the book.
I mean, I’m pretty sure you are thinking: “but you have so many negative – negative might be a strong word here – things about this but ended up rating a 3 cups?”
But, trust me on this when I say that this is one of those books I cannot explain why I kind of liked it despite those negative things – I can only say: “read it!”. It’s a sort of book that you simply have to be the one judging – a review, or someone else’s opinion, won’t be that enlightening to you.
In the end, The Bone Witch was a rather interesting and peculiar read. It’s also a book that I think will make you think and will move your feelings in strange directions. And despite all those things I didn’t grasp – which I’m hoping to understand upon a second reading and/or with the sequel – I understood t enough to realise the potential of it, how great it can become. I will definitely continue reading this series.