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

★★★★

ARC Review: The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

The Suffering by Rin Chupeco

Title: The Suffering
Author: Rin Chupeco
Series: The Girl from the Well, #2
**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley which does not affect my review **

It’s been two years since a dark spirit was exorcised from Tark Halloway. Okiku, the ghost girl who protected him, has been his constant companion ever since and together they’ve been putting a stop to those who’ve taken the lives of innocents. But Okiku’s nature is hard to temper and as much as Tark feels connected to her, the powerful spirit sometimes has plans of her own. When Tark receives a message from Japan that a friend has disappeared while aiding a team of ghost hunters, he and Okiku return to the place that holds so many dark memories to save her.

Rin Chupeco’s The Suffering takes the horrors of The Girl from the Well and multiplies them tenfold. From decomposing murder victims that cling to their perpetrators to bone-chilling exorcisms, this novel is sure to frighten. The opening scene of the novel had me contemplating the wisdom of beginning the novel at night. I don’t scare easily, but Chupeco’s horrifying scenarios will have me avoiding dolls for the rest of my life. The history surrounding the Aokigahara forest where Tark’s friend goes missing has its roots in truth, making the setting for this novel all the more chilling.

Since Tark spent most of the first book in Japan, haunted by an evil spirit, it was nice at the beginning to see Tark at school, surrounded by his peers. However, I found most of the minor characters to be clichéd. Dumb jocks abounded and while some of the cheerleaders were revealed to be more than empty-headed groupies, they still lacked enough personality and their own storylines to be relevant.

There’s a real struggle between Tark and Okiku, especially when it comes to who they should be allowed to exercise justice against. Several ethical questions come up for Tark, but there is one moment at the beginning of the novel that I felt needed to be explored more. He is faced with the reality that these murderers aren’t like the evil spirits he exorcises, but people. As noble as Tark and Okiku’s work is, neither deeply questions whether it is their place to hand out punishment and I felt this needed to be explored.

There is also an ongoing book giveaway for The Suffering that you can enter here if you are interested: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rating: 2/5

★★

3rd Annual ARC August: Week 2 Update

ARC August
The 3rd Annual ARC August Challenge is hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat. Another week, another ARC. This week I picked up the companion novel to Rin Chupeco’s The Girl in the Well. I’m actually glad I only aimed for four ARCs for this challenge, because instead of having to read one right after another, I have a chance to read a different book in between.

ARC August Read #2:
Title: The Suffering (The Girl from the Well, #2)
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
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The Girl from the Well was a really interesting take on the Japanese folk tale that inspired the movie The Ring. I actually think The Suffering is even scarier. I’d avoid picking up these books if you have a fear of dolls and if you don’t, you might acquire one after finishing this book. Rin Chupeco does horror really well, but I did find something missing from this novel with regard to the minor characters. I will be posting my full review at the end of this week if you are interested in checking that out.

The Friday 56, #28: The Girl from the Well

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join in every Friday, the rules are simple.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

 

“It is because spirits do not often choose to linger in their places of death…I realize my mistake and, not wishing to cause her more worry, drift past her sleeping companions and fade out from view. When she is assured that I will not return, she resumes her typing, though her hands still shake.”

I am hosting a giveaway for this book and the last day to enter is today. If you are interested, you can enter here. Please note that this giveaway if limited to the U.S. and Canada.

Blog Tour: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco – ARC Review & Giveaway

The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

Title: The Girl from the Well
Author: Rin Chupeco
Series: The Girl from the Well, #1
**I received this eARC through NetGalley which does not affect my review**

Existing somewhere between life and death, a vengeful spirit roams free. Haunted by her own murder, Okiku seeks out those who have violently taken the lives of children. In so doing, she sets these children’s spirits, who have been tied to their violators, free so they may cross over. When she happens upon Tark, a teen struggling with his own demons, she cannot help but be intrigued.

Tark has been on the brink of drowning for years. Afraid of becoming like his mother, who has been confined to a mental institution, Tark tries to ignore the darkness that is slowly creeping toward him. Soon Tark, along with his cousin Callie, discover just how malevolent the spirit is that haunts him and who the mysterious Okiku who seeks to protect him is.

“There is something in the room with him. This much he knows, and this is why he hides.”

The Girl from the Well is based on the same legend the movie The Ring got its inspiration from. I am a big fan of this movie, so it was interesting to read another take on the eerie ghost story. I’m also a big fan of the horror genre, whether it be books or movies. I love the moment where you start questioning whether or not you’re still alone in the room. And there were times when Rin Chupeco’s The Girl from the Well had me checking to make sure that dark space in the corner was still unoccupied. The creepiest prop in a ghost story? Dolls, of course, and this book has plenty. And let’s just say I will not be collecting any porcelain dolls from here on out, not that I would ever consider owning such a eerie toy.

The Girl from the Well centers around three main characters. First, we are introduced to this sad spirit, trapped in our world, who passes the time by hunting down murderers. In all the years she has existed, Okiku has kept her distance from the land of the living, but something in Tark intrigues her and she finds herself wanting to protect the boy. Tark’s cousin, Callie, finds herself in a strange situation when her need to protect her cousin puts her face to face with a killer and the supernatural happenings surrounding Tark. Then there’s Tark, who I found to be the most interesting of the three. He struggles to understand the darkness that always seems to follow him, is weighed down by the guilt of having caused another kid’s death, and battles the complicated feelings he has for his mother.

GirlFromTheWell-BlogBadge1The Girl from the Well is at its strongest when the story ventures into Japan, where the author’s knowledge shines as she introduces her readers to a culture deeply rooted in tradition, where malevolent spirits and exorcisms are a daily part of life.

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This Giveaway is now closed.

Giveaway:

☆☆A Rafflecopter Giveaway☆☆

**Giveaway: One hardback copy of The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco will be provided and sent by the publisher. This giveaway is limited to the U.S. and Canada. The giveaway will run from Saturday, September 13th through Friday, September 19th. The winner will be selected and contacted on September 20th and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected. Click on the rafflecopter link above to enter. Good luck!**