The Bone Witch: A Bit Confusing with Questions Lingering

Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch is going to be released next week, and I am thinking that a lot of people are going to start going mad-crazy for it. I read this book about six months ago and even then the hype was enormous. Unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me, and I don’t know if it’s because my expectations were too high, or if it truly wasn’t my kind of book. Read on for a non-spoilery review of The Bone Witch.

The Bone Witch: A Bit Confusing with Questions LingeringThe Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 7th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror
Pages: 400
Format: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
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When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

You should know that the narrative is divided in two and it flips back and forth between them:

1) One story you’re reading is told from the perspective of a bard who finds our main character, Tea (tay-uh), as a mature asha (aka witch) living as a recluse amongst the skeletons of monsters. The bard wants to learn about what happened to Tea so that it can be composed into a song to share her remarkable history. Most of this narrative alludes to all sorts of things that haven’t happened in the second narrative yet, so there are a lot of loose ends thrown out at you in this part of the book.

2) The second story you’re reading is told from Tea’s perspective (I suspect that we’re reading this as the story that she’s telling to the bard mentioned above). It begins with her as a young girl when she accidentally resurrects her brother from his grave, thus discovering her powers as a dark asha (or, bone witch). The story then continues on detailing how she becomes an official dark asha.

What I enjoyed:

  • I love the relationship that Tea has with her raised-from-the-dead brother, Fox. They have a unique bond that is maintained throughout the story, and it’s just lovely to read about siblings that get along for a change .
  • Tea’s powers are fantastic. She can raise any creature from the dead, which is super cool. As a dark asha only her type of witchery can put down these destructive monsters called daeva that wreak havoc throughout their world. There are only a few dark asha left, as this job is extremely draining, so it soon becomes apparent that Tea needs to become an asha quickly in order to aid in keeping their lands safe.
  • All people in this world wear a “heartglass” around their neck, which indicates what kind of asha they are (if they even are one, as not all people are) and the changing colors of the heartglass can indicate their emotions. It’s a very cool concept.
  • The cover is beautiful. *drools*

bone witch photo 1

What was meh: 

  • Rin Chupeco says that the book is part Memoirs of a Geisha. The asha in this book definitely have a geisha-like role in that they entertain at parties and have to learn various skills (music, dance, singing, history, etc.). They’re also learning combat and their specific skills relating to what kind of asha they are. It seemed incongruous that an individual endowed with actual powers would be responsible for socializing and entertaining at parties. Why are they learning combat then? And if their role is to protect, what is the point being at parties? It just felt weirdly executed to me.
  • There was just too much time devoted to the description their outfits (which are very geisha-like) and the clips in their hair and the twirl of their dance, etc. I will say that this is addressed when Tea is talking to the bard. She admits she’s giving a lot of details, because it’s important for various cultural and power-related reasons. But still. It definitely bored me after a while.
  • Remember those “loose ends” I mentioned up when I was talking about the narratives? The entire time I was reading the book I was expecting the two narratives to come together at the end and for everything to make sense. Nope. They don’t meet at the end (not even close!) and you’re totally left with a giant question mark over your head. This book is the first in the series, so it’s certainly set up for a sequel, but I felt like I got cheated out a story, almost as if this was a prologue.

final star count
single starstar
At the end of the day, it just wasn’t my type of book. That being said, I know a lot of you would absolutely love the geisha details and love Tea’s journey to becoming a true asha. If the synopsis sounds like something you’d like, I’d definitely recommend that you read it!

 chime in
Are you planning on reading The Bone Witch? Or, have you already read it? What are your thoughts on the book? 

Note: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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  1. I remember this book, the cover was just too gorgeous!! I didn’t know about the book in itself but the cover… 😍😍😍
    I don’t think I’ll read it but you are right, it’s common that first installments (especially in a trilogy) act a more general prologue for the rest of the story that is to come…

  2. I requested this book on Netgalley because of the cover + the diverse author…you’re not making me want to read this before the publication day! Haha! I don’t think I can manage it anyhow. Down it goes on the TBR list…

    1. Yeah, I wouldn’t rush to it. I mean, some people have really liked it, so you never know, but I’ve also seen a lot of reviews similar to mine. Who knows?!

  3. It’s so strange – this is a relatively negative review (or at least an average one) but it’s actually the first that made me want to read it for real! I’m not convinced about the things that you didn’t like, but I love the sound of the magic and great magic-building itself, as long as it’s consistent within the story and isn’t toooo unexplainable (i.e. Caraval), is enough to make me like a book. I probably wouldn’t like the descriptions of the clothing as well, but perhaps I’ll pick it up. 😛

    1. This actually makes me really happy! Every time I do a “bad” review, I want to make sure I make it clear what wasn’t for me, so that if it’s something that wouldn’t bother you, you would know it and still give the book a chance. I’m glad that you are still interested – I would almost never dissuade someone from reading a book. I hope you enjoy it!!

      1. I’m glad to hear that! Yeah, I understand – I try to do the same with some books, though there are others that I just can’t recommend for the life of me. Most are probably a matter of taste, though, like The Bone Witch for you. 😛