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Series: The Bone Witch #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 7th 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!
A copy was provided by SourceBooks via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Bone Witch was interesting. Don’t let my three-star review deter you from picking this up when it releases in March 2017, but be aware that Chupeco paces the story very slowly to help build the world around these characters. It gets a little heavy with descriptions and some flowery language but those willing to stick it out are in for a treat.
We follow young Tea (pronounced Tay-uh) who discovers she is a bone witch after raising her brother from his grave. Revealed as a dark asha, Tea is taken away to be trained by a fellow bone witch, along with her newly risen brother. Tea’s training takes a bulk of the story – and also years. We learn about asha, their dress, traditions, and a lot of complex details that make up the societies of the eight kingdoms.
The story flips between Tea training to be an asha and a future Tea who has been exiled. Future Tea is told by a narrator named Bard, whom Tea has summoned to witness her revenge plan. Despite the excellent world building and some character development, next to nothing happens until the last 15% of the book. Hints at a love triangle, some political drama and family dynamics are in store for the next book but Chupeco focuses on building the world versus giving us all the action. I stuck with it, but I was definitely bored at parts. The characters are a bit stiff but I have hopes that will change with the ending of this book and continuation of this series.
This book almost feels like a prequel to the start of the series. The lengthy descriptive imagery provided by Chupeco doesn’t stand too well on its own when there is nothing to propel the story forward in terms of action. I’m hopeful that the second book will have a better balance between world/character building and action to move us forward. I was hoping to learn why exactly future!Tea ended up in exile, but I suspect Chupeco will save that for the next book.
If you can stick with the endless descriptions of dances, dresses, parties and the slow, syrupy pace – definitely give this a shot. If you don’t have the patience you should probably give this a pass.