Dark and Wicked Magic: A Review of The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch (2017)
Written by: Rin Chupeco
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 432 pages (Kindle)
Series: The Bone Witch, Book 1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Why I Chose This: From the second I heard about this book I knew I had to have it. Necromancers have a special place in my heart and the story of a young dark magic user raising the dead in an incredible world had my heart immediately. I’ve been looking for a new fantasy series to sink my teeth into, and when I heard that the main character is a major anti-hero I threw my money at the screen and waited eagerly for the release.

The premise:

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

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!

No Spoilers Below.


Discussion: From the very first page I was in love with the world created in The Bone Witch. The ashas (witches) work with different types of magic and different types of obligation. The magic system that Chupeco has built is one of the best I’ve read. I seriously want to live in this world, or at least play a whole video game set in it.

That said, I found the beginning a little slow, and there’s a whole lot of information to digest at the start and throughout the book. There is a glossary in the back that helps a lot with keeping track of it all.

The writing is fluid and beautiful, dripping with dark details, but what stood out to me more than anything else was the use of dialogue. Her dialogue is poignant, quick and sharp in its unexpectedness at points.

The girl smiled. She stroked its misshapen jaw and leaned toward the hideous, yellowing teeth as if she had a secret to share.

“Die,” she whispered.

The daeva sighed, a relieved sound. It toppled onto its side, raised its head beseechingly at her one last time, and died. (Location 63, Kindle Edition)

The novel is written from two perspectives, the primary is from Tea’s point of view as she goes through asha training to become a dark asha-ka, a bone witch. The second perspective is in the future and from the point of view of a bard come to Tea after a terrible thing has happened. At points I found the two perspectives to be irritating at first, especially since the bard’s point of view sections were very short. But by the end of the book I’d found a harmony in the two perspectives.

The middle part of the book has some slow parts where I found myself skipping ahead but overall the book flows well and moves quickly. There are a lot of moving pieces and characters to keep track of, but they weave together beautifully.

I didn’t realize this was part of a series when I began reading so the ending left me confused, but now that I realize an entire series will be set in this world, I can’t wait to get totally emerged for the long haul.

In Conclusion: If you’re looking for a series with an incredible world filled with magic, political intrigue, and an amazing heroine, then The Bone Witch is the perfect fit for you. The only caveats: it’s a long(ish) read at 432 pages, and the middle sags a bit with some sections I could have done without. Otherwise, it’s an incredible read that completely transported me into another world. Book 2: The Heartforger will be out in 2018, and I’m already looking forward to sinking back into this lush fantasy of magic and darkness.

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