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
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. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat...Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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71 Responses to “The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco”

  1. 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. 😀

  2. 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.


  3. 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.

    kindlemom1 recently posted: WoW Pick of the Week!
  4. 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

    • 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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.

    Heidi recently posted: Friday Forecast March 5th-11th
  6. 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!

  7. 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.

    Lark recently posted: Sunday Post – 3/05/2017
    • 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.

  8. 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!