The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

March 3rd, 2017 Kimberly Review 71 Comments

3rd Mar
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
The Bone Witch
by Rin Chupeco
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

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.

ARC REVIEW fantasy magical Young Adult

THE BONE WITCH by Rin Chupeco is a character driven fantasy with an original premise. I was drawn to its alluring cover and the necromancy. Chupeco takes us to a world divided into kingdoms where magic and tradition are scared and feared. From her beautiful prose to the promise of things to come, I was intrigued.

Our story begins when a Bard approaches Tea, a Bone Witch, living on an island filled with bones. We learn she has been banished and he asks for her story. The story that unfolds is told from two narratives, “past” and “present.” Stories from Tea’s past made the current thread interesting as we see Tea prepare for her next move and contemplated what happened to bring us here.

The stories from the past, share Tea’s begins as she resurrects her brother from the dead graveside, meets the Bone Witch who will be her mentor. Time in the present with the bard had me craving the why and how from the past.

Chupeco described the world vividly, and while at times it made the story cumbersome I enjoyed her prose, descriptions and the depth these details created. The reader will easily be able to envision the streets of each kingdom, the colorfully and richly detailed huas worn by the Asha (magic-wielders) and the heart encased jewelry everyone wears around their necks. We get a clear understanding of the magic in this world and the different types of Asha, warriors, and hierarchy. Women hold the most scared of roles, but men still rule kingdoms. While the Bone Witch is perhaps the strongest of the Asha, she is also the most feared. You will find a multitude of influences here from the huas which resembled the Japanese geisha to the castles and social structure as well as the elemental magics of earth, the wind, water, and fire.

This world is full of good, evil and supernatural creatures created during the dark ages of magic known as Daeva. Necromancy, arranged marriages, favors, and court politicking abound. We only visit a few villages, but the maps and talk of the kingdoms helped create a sense of the world. Most of the story is spent during Tea’s training to be an Asha. Some of the customs are silly, and a lot of attention to detail was provided. Sadly, this didn’t allow for a lot of action scenes. At times these tidbits about everything from hair accessories to food weighed the tale down. I think this caused a lot of readers to abandoned ship, but I encourage you to hang in there. There are some fantastic scenes where Tea battles Daeva and makes startling discoveries.

As I said the tale doesn’t have a lot of action or movement, but the characters are rich. The Tea from the present speaking to the Bard is confident, and perhaps a little jaded and the Tea from the past is inquisitive, eager to learn, stubborn and caring. It was fascinating seeing her grow and feeling her change as she became less naive. Of course, there is a lot more to learn.  We don’t yet know what events triggered her present situation. I adored her brother and found myself intrigued by the prince and his brothers. The head Asha who agrees to Tea’s training is a snarky old coot and had me laughing a time or too. I enjoyed her mentor and the sisters who took on her training. A young boy who wants to be Asha and participate in the ceremonial dances added interest and showed our heroine’ apt skills and heroism.

While at times the storyline dragged and admittedly forced me to read this in smaller doses, the writing, characters and overall story arc have me craving the next book. Fans of  THE NAME OF THE WIND will enjoy this story.

From the beautiful prose to the promise of things to come, I was intrigued by Bone Witch.. Click To Tweet

About Rin Chupeco

Rin Chupeco

Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching. Author of The Girl From the Well.

Photo of kimbacaffeinate
About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw and Howler. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Find @kimbacaffeinate on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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71 Responses to “The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco”

  1. Jodie

    ARGH! I have so much love for this book!
    I was lucky enough to recieve an ARC of this one too and re-ordered myself a physical copy of it as soon as I turned the last page!
    love, love, love!

  2. Lorna

    I had the same problem with Girl From The Well. It was so well written but it took me awhile to read it and even though I think I rated it 4 stars, I just couldn’t read book 2. I am glad you liked it well enough to want the second book 🙂

  3. Lark

    This has been on my want-to-read list since I first saw the cover and blurb. And when you recommend it to fans of The Name of the Wind, well, that pretty much seals the deal. Luckily, my library has it on order and I am already on the waiting list. But I’m a little worried about your discovery that it worked better in small doses, since I know I won’t be able to keep the library copy for very long. I may break down and buy a copy when it comes out.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I read it over in about a week. The beginning pulled me in, the middle I read more slowly and the last 1/4 I devoured in a day. 🙂 Don’t they give you two weeks with a library book? You should be able to break it up, as long as you consistently read every night.

  4. Michele

    We’re currently reading this one (still). I completely agree with everything you say – especially that this is a book to be read in smaller doses (which is why it’s taking us a while). The writing is so beautiful, though. It’s definitely one that is worth putting in the effort. Lovely review, my friend. Have a great weekend 🙂

  5. Vi

    I am in LOVE with the cover. Wonderful review, thanks for sharing.

    Best wishes
    Vi @ Gone With The Books

  6. Angie

    I’m sorry this wasn’t everything you were hoping, but I’m glad you were able to enjoy parts of it anyway.

    Great review. 🙂

  7. Jess Fairday's Blog

    This sounds like a worthwhile read. I like that you still enjoyed the story even without a lot of action. Sometimes slower books can still have characters and story lines that stay with us. I have been drawn to this cover since I first saw it. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Lampshade Reader

    I love the premise, but I do need action to offset the descriptive parts. Great review, helped me decide if I want to read it; which I do. 🙂 ~Aleen

  9. La La in the Library

    I love character driven stories, so this one was right up my alley! I also love lush settings, so yeah, this one was meant for me.. Ha ha. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  10. Sarah

    I don’t mind slow books and I’ve been curious to read this one for awhile. However I’m also a sucker for pretty covers and this one is gorgeous! Great review!

  11. Paij Slater

    Well the description makes it sound like a great book, but I can’t do slow books. I just had to quit one that I was reading because it was too slow. The story line is interesting, and I like the characters, but it was way too wordy. I counted one time, and it was six pages of description and just nothing. I just can’t read books like that.

  12. Julie

    I ended up giving this one a 3 1/2 star rating too. I really loved the author’s storytelling, like you said but I expected a little more action. It did remind me a lot of The Name of the Wind. I definitely want to read the next one in the series too. I need to know what happens! lol

  13. Bookworm Brandee

    This is one I’ve had my eye on, Kimberly, and while I can see how it would drag a bit, I think I could be forgiving as well because of the descriptive prose. 🙂

  14. Heidi

    I am going to skip this one. YA is killing me right now and this one sounds too mediocre. So far that reviews haven’t been stellar so I am going to look for something better to hopefully reignite a little of my love for Ya.

  15. Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous)

    While this isn’t my cup of joe, I can appreciate what the author wrote. It sounds like she really took the time to write a well thought out world and characters. Hopefully the next book picks up steam and has more action and a faster moving pace.

  16. Stormi Johnson

    I have a feeling I will be reading this in small doses as your not the first person to say it lags a bit. I like this author though and I have read her two of her YA horror and liked them so I am hoping I like this one. 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yep, the beginning pulled me in and then I began reading only about 50 pages a night until it picked up in the last quarter.

  17. Kristin

    I need to get to this book but since I’m in the midst of Take Control, I might just wait b/c of your “meh” review. I’ve wanted to get back to “witchy” books AND I’m intrigued by the back and forth between the past and present 🙂 Great review!!

  18. Megan

    I just adore this cover. I am only getting into fantasy so I don’t know if this is for me but I have it on my tbr to give it a try. Great review.

  19. Maggie

    Oh Kim I haven’t read YA in so long – now you are making me feel guilty in a good way 🙂

  20. Michelle

    You did a lot better than me. I actually DNFd this one. It was too dragging and as interesting as I thought Tea was, the story was just taking to long.
    Great review, Kim!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yep, I saw that a lot of folks did. Since it was interesting, I just opted to read 50 pages at a time until it picked up and I would say I devoured the last 1/3 in an afternoon.

  21. Lily B

    lots of mixed reviews on this, it’s the reason I kept pushing it aside. I don’t think I can handle a slow moving book at the moment. But I think for a fantasy? It sounds about right. Most of them are filled with detail in book one. I just wish there was more action more movement to combat the sluggishness.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It grabs you at the beginning. I found that if I just read 50 pages a night, I could enjoy the detail and then pick up another genre to

  22. kindlemom1

    I definitely think I would have liked this more if there would have been a bit more to it. More action, more adventure, but either way, it was written beautifully.

  23. Uma

    This is on my TBR and I LOVE THE GORGEOUS COVER!!GAAHH! But all the mixed reviews make me worried!! I’m intrigued by the beautiful writing and rich characters but worried about the pace..Helpful review Kim <3

  24. Cyn

    The gorgeous cover has me all 😀 but slowness of the story is deterring me a bit. But I’m definitely glad to hear the characters are rich! Lovely review, Kim!

  25. Melliane

    even if it doesn’t have a lot of action, it sounds like a nice book, mainly regarding the characters!

  26. Di

    This is one that’s on my TBR but I have conflicting feelings about it. I’m glad to see that you gave it a good rating, even though you didn’t love it.

    I’m worried about the story dragging a little but I might be able to get through it I hope.

    I haven’t read The Name of The Wind yet but it’s HIGH on my TBR so I think I’ll keep this one there as well.


  27. Geybie's Book Blog

    I’ve read a book about witches but i’ve forgotten the title. I did enjoy it. Although I’m into Contemporary and a little bit Paranormal nowadays, I’m open to Urban Fantasy or Pure Fantasy as well. Thanks for sharing, Kim. I’ll stalk this author. 😀