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 even she 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.
Lyrical and action packed, this new fantasy series by acclaimed author Rin Chupeco will leave you breathless.
This book is going to be hard for me to review. I’m a girl that loves books. It really doesn’t matter what they’re about, as long as it’s interesting and makes sense (mostly) and there is a point to the story. This book, I honestly don’t even know that it got to the point that was trying to be made by the last page. I closed this book after finishing still just as confused as I was for most of the story.
Okay, let’s back up a bit. From the very first pages of The Bone Witch, I could tell it was meant to have a dark or spooky tone to it. In between each chapter we got to see a bit into the present day. At first, we didn’t know who was narrating in the present day, I thought it was the main character, Tea, but didn’t get confirmation for too many pages. So Tea is telling her own story to this mysterious Bard that’s from another land (kingdom?) I liked the back and forth at first. I liked getting to see how Tea got to wherever it was that she was telling the story. I liked it until I realized that she never told the full story. I’m assuming because I haven’t started it yet, that we will get the rest (or hopefully more of at the very least) of her story in the second book that I will probably be starting tomorrow. I did very much like how the story is told. It’s told in first person point of view, but it’s told by Tea to someone else. Tea is telling her own story. Because of this, I feel like we really got to know who Tea is according to Tea rather than anyone else.
There were more than a few things I didn’t like about this story sadly. It was actually a little hard to read at times. I had to keep putting it down and coming back to it the next day. I feel like the author was trying to create suspense with her use of present-day Tea telling the story of how she got to where she is and giving hints about what she was up to/ going to do next, except that we never got there. The book ended with Tea leaving her little beach (or wherever it is that she was) and we still didn’t get the rest of the story as to why she was doing the things she’s doing and what she was hoping to accomplish. There’s just quite a few parts of this story that I feel are unclear and shouldn’t be. Maybe the author was trying to create suspense, but for me, it was just confusing. Along with this, parts of the story were boring. Present day Tea is telling us about Tea in the past, starting with her bringing her recently killed brother back from the dead, which is how she discovers that she is an infamous bone witch.
From here, she is brought across the land to the Willows by her teacher Mykaela, where she is promptly dumped at her new home. Instead of being a student like you’d think when she was told that she would be trained, she’s trained in how to clean the compound. The head asha treats her like she’s trash (but only until she proves herself and starts making money for the compound.) I don’t understand why she wasn’t taught right from the start of arriving. If Tea is so important because there are so few bone witches, why wouldn’t it be important for her to be trained? I really admired Tea with all of this because she was determined to take all of the crap and stupidity she was given and run with it. If she was going to be a glorified maid, then she was going to be the best maid you ever saw. And once she showed how powerful she was and actually started to train she put her all into her training, even the areas she (and everyone else) knew she was bad at. I also liked that there were areas that she didn’t excel; I like a character with flaws. It makes them more real to me. What was a little unreal was that she went from essentially being a made to be a full-blown asha in the period of just a few months when the process usually takes years. This is something that I always notice with stories, is the timeline realistic? And it’s not. It would have been easy to make it a longer more realistic timeline too. She went through all of the stages, but instead of saying, “over the next few months all I did was train and blah blah blah” it all happened in days or weeks which is just unreasonable to me.
Narrator Tea seemed interesting and seemed to be where the story was headed, even though we didn’t really get there before the book ended. She made herself out to be the villain of the story and I will be giving the second book a try so that I can see why or how she became this villain. (I love a good villain.) There were a few subtle hints throughout the story that she was planning to do something crazy to change the responsibilities of the bone witches, but her thoughts as the story was being told and her plans as narrator Tea didn’t connect very well. The one thing that I think is probably why I’m going to read the next book is something “the oracle” said to Tea at her last visit. She said, “You are dangerous. Left unchecked, you can spell the downfall of the Willows. Of Kion.” But then the Oracle lets her continue on with whatever she’s thinking, so I’m not sure if it’s that she’s powerful or that her ideas can change the world.
The relationships in this story seemed a bit forced to me. Aside from Tea and her brother Fox, which I think seemed better because we got to see so much of them. But Tea seemed to idolize and look up to Mykaela even though Mykaela wasn’t even in the Willows for half the series and when she was she was confined to bed because the bone witch responsibilities were essentially killing her. We got a bit more with Tea’s relationships to her other “sisters” but even then, one was a rivalry that seemed silly until the last twenty pages when we found out the reasoning behind it. I just didn’t love this book and half the time I was so bored that I had to put it down and try reading again later.
Overall, this story was definitely not one of my favorites. I hate to say that I didn’t like a book. So I’m hoping that the second book clears up all of these questions that I’m left with because the ending of The Bone Witch will for sure leave you saying, “What the heck just happened?”
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.
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