I have seen this book around for a while especially on Pinterest but never picked it up. Then my library requisitioned it and the Asian Readathon happened. As if it was meant to be!
The Bone Witch
by Rin Chupeco
Synopsis by GoodReads
In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…
Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.
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.
- Tea’s lessons
Firstly, this book has the best first line I have seen in a while:
Let me be clear, I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise.
It’s such an instant hook for me! And I never forgot this line throughout the entire book. Whenever I told people what I was reading I had to tell them this line because it defines the books so well.
Secondly, this is a fantasy based in Asia. There are a lot of references to Asia throughout the book and I loved it.
The story follows the main character Tea as she figures out who she is and as she is trained to become the best of ashas. Ashas are magic wielders and Tea is the darker one of them but also quite a powerful one.
The entire book is divided into two story lines; present and past. Every chapter begins with a section of the present where Tea tells her story to a bard. While the actual chapters are her story of how she got to be where she is now. From the stars you know something bug has happened and every present moment gives you hints to what that big thing could have been but it also leads to new questions. It’s constantly playing with you. It hints at something which turns out to be something very different. It was addictive to read. I had so many questions! So. Many. Questions!
I love how Tea’s lessons were structured and how her life as an apprentice was. I love the dress designers and the hairdressers!
It’s not too steep but at the same time, it doesn’t give everything away and leaves you making questions and wanting more. I was satisfied with the details and the information given. I’ve heard others complain about the lack of information to what was going on and being confused but also the amount of details in the descriptions etc, but I didn’t feel that. I love her descriptions of the hua’s. They are very detailed but also personal for each asha.
Tea’s world is Asian which comes through in the clothing, tea houses, attitudes, and way of being. I loved it! There are also some minor references to a nearby country which has laws and discrimination towards women which reminded me of something like sharia law, which was interesting.
I’m not sure how it works, but it’s based on elemental magic and rune magic. Tea being a dark asha or a bone witch, means she can’t use the elemental side of things. She only has three dark runes left for her.
There are a lot of characters in this book but it isn’t crowded. There is only one narrator; Tea, which makes it easier to pay attention, but also makes your view very limited. It becomes apparent quite early on that Tea doesn’t know everything but sees things to give you the reader more information than she has. I’ve only listed a few characters in here. I could go on and make the list endless but I didn’t.
Tea is the main character. I really liked her. She is humble and does as she is told, but she also stands her ground when she feels an act of unjust has been committed against her or her friends.
Fox is her dead brother and her familiar once she raises him from the dead. There is a lot going on with Fox that you are not told in the book only hinted to. It left me wanting more in a positive way. I really want to read book 2 to figure him out.
Mykaela is Tea’s teacher and brings her to the Willows (the place where the ashas train and learn) where she tried to train Tea to become a better asha.
Rahim is the dressmaker and I loved him and all the references to him from others!
Polaris is Tea’s other sister and teacher. She is feisty and always speaks her mind. I loved her too.
Kance is the prince and the love interest of Tea but you never really know what she will do about it. He is kind and seems to care for her too.
Kalen is the prince’s bodyguard and a brute but has the prince’s well being at heart.
I love it. I had no issues with it. Though I was a bit confused throughout about the passing of time. I couldn’t figure out how much time had passed from chapter to chapter. The entire book last for about 2 years but it felt like 6 months. That is the only slightly negative thing about this book.
The way things a written makes you think one thing has happened and then later on you realise its something completely different! I was surprised at several turns which is not easy thing to do.
I have seen other reviews of this book that states they were confused and did know what was going on. I felt that yes there where certain times where things go too quickly and if you don’t pay attention you will miss it. There were a few times I had to scroll back a few pages just to check what I missed. But! That didn’t dampen my love for this book. On the contrary, it enhanced my absorption. I had to pay attention. Brain ON! You snooze you lose. and so on.
There are also some lovely descriptions of Hua’s and other hair accessories which I enjoyed as well.
I love this!
I love the way the book is structured and constantly leave you wondering what has happened. It draws me in.
Also that interesting twist of events at the end. I didn’t expect that name to come up! I need book 2!! I want to know how and what and when and where and WHAT! and HOW! it happened!
Have you read this? What did you think?