Book Review: The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
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.

Read for a read-along on Books and Tea

I remember my friend recommending this book to me months before the read-a-long and she definitely wasn’t wrong guessing I’d love it. It was pretty much a love at first sight (or chapter) situation. The story is basically present day Tea telling about her past to the reader, so we get to see her discovering her powers and between chapters also little glimpses of what she becomes. That was really interesting to me and combined with the style of the book it reminded me a lot of Kushiel’s Dart, because that one is also really beautifully written and has the main character telling her own story like that (and it also happens to be one of my favorite books).

The world of The Bone Witch was really interesting and the way they did magic was pretty different from what I’m used to. The asha need to draw runes to do their spells, and if I understood it correctly they’re basically just drawing them up in the air with their hands, which must make their spell casting look a lot like dancing if they’re doing it in battle. The rules of magic were so precise I could easily see it working in a video game as well. Like in a game dark asha would be a support class because they can only use support runes and those three dark magic runes etc. I would totally play a game that was all about different kinds of witches. The way you could tell magical people apart from normal ones was also really cool, because everyone wore these necklaces called Heartsglasses that would be silver or purple if the person had magic and different shades of red if not, and asha could read all sorts of stuff from those like people’s emotions and illnesses.

Tea was probably one of the least annoying protagonists I can think of off the top of my head, and the fact that the narrator was an older version of her probably had a lot to do with it because most of the time she was like “and then I did something unwise” so I didn’t feel that need to yell at her for being an idiot at any point because she already knew whatever she did was a bad idea. I don’t know if that makes sense. Anyway, I liked Tea. Rahim and Polaire were also some of my absolute favorite characters. Especially Rahim because who doesn’t love a huge hairy bear of a man making pretty dresses for asha. Tea’s resurrected brother Fox didn’t really stand out to me that much for some reason even though he was an important character, but I guess it makes sense that he didn’t have a very strong personality until later, because of reasons I will not spoil. Also could be he got a little overshadowed by all the strong ladies Tea was surrounded with.

I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the slow pace of the book but I personally didn’t have a problem with it and actually it didn’t even feel that slow to me, but then again I’ve been reading the Outlander books and the first day in Fiery Cross lasts 13 chapters (150 pages) so my perspective on that is probably twisted to something really weird. The Bone Witch actually felt like a pretty fast read to me and I enjoyed it a lot and I’m definitely getting my hands on the sequel whenever it comes out because damn that ending. I need to know what happens!!


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