ARC Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Title: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Series: The Bone Witch,, #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 7th 2017
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which does not influence my review*

      “Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.
      Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

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Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch is a unique story of one girl’s rise through the ranking of the asha, a order of women whose responsibilities range from entertainment to battling daeva, the deadly creatures set loose by the False Prince. The story shifts between past and present storylines, as we’re given a glimpse of who Tea will become and what made her into an asha in exile. When Tea is far too young to understand her own power, she accidentally resurrects her brother. This show of power does not go unnoticed and Tea is given the opportunity to learn under the tutelage of the bone witch Lady Mykaela. But bone witches are not as highly revered as other kinds of asha. Many fear them as their power more closely resembles that of the Faceless, those who serve the False Prince. Tea learns that becoming an asha will not be easy, but she may not have a choice when those battling daeva are failing and she may be the only one who can stop them.

Chupeco’s world is well-developed and often times lush. As Tea learns what it means to be an asha, so we learn alongside her. While I enjoyed the various aspects of the asha life, there were times when this really slowed down the narrative and I got impatient for something to happen. One part of being an asha that was really intriguing was the importance of one’s attire. The wardrobe of an asha is unique and significant to her. Chupeco’s writing shines the most when she is describing these traditional ensembles. I found it really unique that each person had a heartglass that they wore around their necks that they could exchange with the person they loved as a sign of commitment. With the right kind of skill, you could learn to discern a person’s feelings from the color of their heartglass.

Readers are given two simultaneous portraits of Tea. Her younger self is bright-eyed and untested. She is only beginning to understand the power she yields and to many, she is an easy target. She is infatuated with Prince Kance as he is kind to Tea in a way that not many are. The most important figure in her life is her older brother Fox. He is forever tied to her because how she brought him back to life. Only a few years older, the exiled Tea we are introduced to is wise beyond her years. She yields her magic in a controlled and graceful fashion. She also holds close the loss of people dear her, one who died for her and another that chose to turn away from her. I’m really interested in learning more about this older Tea and what transpires in the couple of years between the close of this first installment and the future Tea.

You probably won’t read another book like Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch. Her world is both dark and enchanting. Chupeco pays particular attention to detail in a way that many other fantasy books don’t. I’m looking forward to finding out more about Tea’s journey and transformation, and I’m also hoping we get to explore her abilities more.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

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28 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

  1. Great review Alicia! I really enjoy books about witches and have been meaning to pick up more of them recently, so I might have to add this to my TBR. I’ve seen some mixed reviews, so it’s refreshing to see someone thoroughly enjoying it and discussing all the little nuances that made it great.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like your review and if I hadn’t already read this one, it would make me want to. Unfortunately I did not enjoy it as much as you did. I felt like, though well developed, the back story and world description overpowered the story itself and I found myself wanting more about Tea’s experiences as a bone witch versus what we got as her experiences as an asha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I respect that opinion. I think for the story as a whole, it was important for Tea’s story to intertwine asha and bone witch. I think if the story started off when she was fifteen and not twelve, we might have gotten more necromancy and I have a feeling we’ll get just that in the sequel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely a good point. I do understand needing some of the Asha backstory, but I just felt that it overshadowed the main story too much. I do hope that your inkling about the content of the sequel comes to fruition because I think I would enjoy it a lot more. Glad to be able to have a nice discussion about this! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I was a bit meh about Chupeco’s debut novel so I wasn’t sure whether or not to read this, but you’ve definitely convinced me to give it a try. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just saw a blog tour for The Bone Witch that I was on the fence about. Well, this glowing review has made me a bit more decisive. I love the creativity of using darker magic (or really magic that I think people don’t understand), and give it a different perspective. And with a name like Tea, that’s so unique. Remember how Nina could wield “bones.” It was so cool. Great review, Alicia!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Bone Witch is such a pretty book! Part of me has been thinking about buying it just for the super pretty cover alone, haha. I’m glad to see that you liked it – I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews for it around so far, but it’s good to see that there are a lot of positive aspects, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is on my TBR but I’ve put YA aside for now. I’m intrigued about this level of detail that readers/reviewers are divided on; apparently it slows down the narrative? I suppose I’ll only find out when I read it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The tough thing about fantasy, in my opinion, is that the world building frequently gets so complex that the author HAS to make a story to match, thus the books typically come as trilogies, like pretty much every Mercedes Lackey writes, or as door-stoppers, like Stranger in a Strange Land. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a fantasy novel that did a ton of world building AND was one book. Such novels tend to be set in places that seem pretty Earth-like, though there is a wizard, or something like that. What are your thoughts on fantasy novels?

    Liked by 1 person

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