Release date: March 2017
For fans of the Grishaverse, Graceling, and Tamora Pierce’s novels, THE BONE WITCH promised an enchanting, imaginative tale of magic, darkness, and deceit, and it did not disappoint. THE BONE WITCH was one of the most spellbinding and exciting books I’ve read this year (also look at how gorgeous that cover is).
“Theirs is not the magic found in storybooks, slaying onyx-eyed dragons and rescuing grateful maidens from ivory towers. Theirs is not the magic made from smoke and mirrors, where the trap lies in the twitch of the hand and a trick of the eyes. Nor is theirs the magic that seeds runeberry fields, whose crops people harvest for potions and spells. This is death magic, complicated and exclusive and implacable, and from the start, I wielded it with ease.”
Tea didn’t mean to raise her brother from the dead. But by doing so, she learns she’s a bone witch, which means she can channel rune magic and resurrect the dead. Though most witches, called ashas, are respected and honored members of society, bone witches (or Dark asha) are ostracized and feared by both magic and non-magic people.
An aging bone witch takes Tea under her wing, and together, Tea and her resurrected brother travel to a foreign land so Tea can learn to control and wield her magic.
The novel is told from a retrospective Tea as she recounts her tale to a Bard. Her story, from the time of her brother’s resurrection through her training as an asha, is interspersed with the Bard’s present-day reflections as well as hints about what else has happened to lead her from a promising member of the asha community to her current situation. And her current situation is exiled, alone, and taming the daeva (think undead, demonic creatures) that Dark asha used to hunt.
This format works exceptionally well because as Tea tells her story, the reader can never shake the sense of anxiety that things are going to get much, much worse as her tale catches up to the present. Even at seemingly peaceful moments, the suspense lingers, and the effect was that I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
This is the first in the series, so a lot of the novel is dedicated to world building and establishing the beginning of the overall plot. Although it may move a little slowly at times, Chupeco is an artist when it comes to crafting Tea’s world. From the vividness of the characters’ attire and home to the intricacies of the political landscape, the details of this world are fully imagined and constructed.
The ending was stunning. Couldn’t-put-it-down, already-counting-down-to-the-next-one stunning. Tea reveals a few things to the Bard at the end that literally had me gasping with shock. The cliffhanger was excruciating (in the best way possible), and I can’t wait to see where to Chupeco takes this story next.
Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire, who gave me an advanced copy in return for an honest review!