Published: March 7, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire | Series: The Bone Witch #1 | Length: 400 pages | Genre: YA, fantasy | Source: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley. | Possible Triggers: death, bullying
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!
The Bone Witch had a lot of promise to be a fantastic book. I loved the idea of a girl accidentally discovering she’s a necromancer and going on to train to become a powerful dark witch. In execution, though, this book failed to keep me interested through most of the novel. It still had strong points, but it was far from perfect.
My biggest complaint with The Bone Witch is that it was terribly slow. Although it starts with a very interesting, attention-grabbing scene, this is, unfortunately, the only time in the first third of the book that I felt like anything exciting was happening. The action didn’t really become steady at all until over halfway through the story. The book was so focused on Tea training to become a bone witch that we got to see very little of her actually using those skills. Reading about her training could’ve been interesting, but wasn’t. I mean, there are only so many scenes I can take of her learning how to dance. The silver lining in this is that it is likely a result of the book being the first in a series, meaning that the rest of the series is unlikely to have the same problem (I hope).
The characters were interesting, although they felt a little under-developed to me and therefore I didn’t really feel any strong connections to anyone other than maybe Tea and her mentor (who is surprisingly absent throughout the bulk of the book), Lady Mykaela. I especially would’ve liked to see Tea’s brother, Fox, be a little more fleshed out since the relationship between the two of them is basically what caused this whole story to even begin. Some characters seemed to come and go too much. They’d have a very important role in a couple of chapters and then would disappear for quite awhile before making another appearance.
The strongest part of The Bone Witch is, without a doubt, the world-building. Most of you who have heard about this book already probably know that it’s inspired a lot by Japanese culture, especially the asha who are based on geisha. I really liked reading how Chupeco intertwined it into a fictional world filled with magic. And the magic system, by the way, was really interesting to read about and was another strong point of this book. I’m really hoping we get to learn more about it in the rest of the series.
All in all, The Bone Witch had great world-building and an interesting premise but wasn’t quite able to keep me interested due to its slow pace. I’ll most likely check out book 2 though, as I’m hoping the next book in the series is a little more captivating since I do think this series has a lot of potential. If you don’t mind slow-paced books, you’ll likely enjoy this a lot more than I did.