The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.
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.
Rating: 4 Stars
The start of a new, hauntingly beautiful series, The Bone Witch is a book full of dark magic and whether dark necessarily means what you think it does.
After a somewhat disappointing experience with Rin Chupeco’s previous book The Girl in the Well, I was unsure if I would like her new fantasy series, but thought that the chance to read about the training of a bone witch (aka necromancer) could be fascinating. While not action packed every page of the way, this book certainly entertained and pleased me more than expected.
What this book really reminded me of was Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, in that we encounter the main character at a young age and follow her through her training. While these segments might seem slow to readers that don’t like that level of detail on that kind of subject, I quite liked it myself because it felt new and exciting. I was learning about these monstrous creatures that Tea, the titular Bone Witch, will encounter; learning about the power that brought her beloved brother back from the grave; the prejudices that she encounters from people that don’t understand her abilities. There’s also a fair bit in here about perspective because Tea, for example, was taught that bone witches were dark, fearful asha (this world’s word for spellbinder). However, on her journey to the place where she will be taught the ways of her witchery, she encounters people that worship and adore her teacher, the Lady Mykaela, a vastly different reaction that the one Tea’s fellow villagers gave her when they learned what kind of witch she was.
There were two points of view at various times throughout this story that slightly threw me at times. There is a bard that sought out the Bone Witch for her story and these portions are in italics, sometimes told from her point of view and sometimes from his. The voices in these are not entirely unique and I had to reread a couple to remind myself who was speaking. This wasn’t a large inconvenience, but being brought out of the story by the abrupt change of perspective and realizing it wasn’t who I thought brought the storytelling down a bit in my estimation.
This is the perfect book for a long afternoon of reading, as I think it would benefit the reader most to be able to sink into the story. You’ll really be able to absorb Tea’s venture toward the asha future her training is preparing her for. Please, grab a cup of tea, coffee, etc. and enjoy this necromancer’s fantastical journey into a land of witches, monsters, and intricate magics.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.