This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. The cover is amazingly beautiful and truly got my hopes up as well as raised my expectations, and the book well surpassed both.
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.
(There are two different blurbs… the other one is here.)
Series: The Bone Witch, #1
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy
Review: 5 butterflies
Tea is an amazing character. So complex and naïve but ready to do anything for those she loves. All of her reactions and emotions seemed incredibly genuine—the author was definitely completely in-tune with her character. There’s just something about her that made me relate to her. Maybe it was the way she didn’t just accept the rules but questioned them, especially when they didn’t seem fair. Maybe it was the fact that she was an outcast within the ashas, even though she is one. Or maybe it was the way that she loved her magic and power at the same time that she knew not to let it overcome her. Not only is she a well-rounded character, but so are most of the other characters, which is a very nice change of pace from the recent books I’ve read. Mykaela, Fox, Kalen, Kance, Althy, Likh and even Zoya were well-rounded—with some more so than others, of course.
I loved how the book switched from points of view, from present Tea to past Tea. While it was a little confusing at first, I got the hang of it pretty quickly. I was also really happy about how she used a bard to tell her story to, harkening back to the Greek and Roman myths of old (and as a literature major it made my heart happy). And though present Tea gave a few things away, that actually added to the book instead of taking it away. The small hints and very subtle answers were so masterfully done that it increased my anticipation and eagerness. I was able to see how different Tea was from when she began, and that made me eager to find out how and why she got there.
The heartsglass was a really interesting part of this book, and one that is completely new to me. It’s pretty scary and cool in different aspects. It’s cool because it helps people diagnose illnesses better, but it also makes it easier for ashas to read your emotions. And giving your heartsglass away is a very dangerous thing because people can control you with it if their intentions are not pure. And I’m not even going to get into heartforgers.
While there was a lot of description in the book, I felt like it was necessary to truly understand this world and how it works, as well as the characters. It was done very well by the author and didn’t seem like too much at a time (though occasionally I would have to read slower to take everything in). I really loved learning about the different types of magic and runes. While at times I would need to take a break from the book, it wasn’t long before I was turning my e-reader back on again to find out what happens next.
I enjoyed the flaws that the author had in the world. Not everyone was perfect, and there was discrimination and sexism and all of those things in it, which made it nice to read because it made it believable. Most books about magic don’t talk about the prejudices people have—like how if you can draw runes you must be an asha if you’re a girl or a soldier if you’re a boy. Tea tries to fight that and it’s really refreshing to see her fight for people even though it doesn’t directly affect her.
About 80% into the book, I realized that there was going to be a sequel. There was way too much to resolve in the remaining pages, and I cried out a little because I wanted to know everything now.
The ending—I’m assuming the “big reveal” about her love— really wasn’t surprising for me. I suspected it about halfway into the book, but I’m very glad to be right. But the predictability on that part does nothing to diminish the thrilling book and its plot. The book is predictable in some ways, but in others it still manages to surprise you.
A slight grievance of mine is that I didn’t know how to pronounce Tea’s name until 67% into the book (I wrote it down because I was surprised I didn’t know this earlier). Though this is a minor thing, every time I read her name afterwards I had to really concentrate to read it how it was actually pronounced and not how I originally thought it was pronounced. And that bugged me a little bit. For the record, it’s not pronounced like the actual beverage, but like “tay-uh”—following the same rule that Thea does by separating the word into two syllables. There. Now you don’t have to make the same mistake I did.
I also really love how in the acknowledgements she thanks Tom Hiddleston, just because. That’s awesome.
I really recommend this book to anyone who loves magic and new worlds, as well as a good coming-of-age story.