Title: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Date: March 7th 2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco is a Young Adult fantasy novel. The story intertwines two point-of-views: that of Tea, set in the past, and that of a bald, set in the present, who meets the protagonist while she is killing a daeva, a beast.
Everything begins when Tea raises her brother from his grave, during his funeral. She falls ill and she’s lucky that there’s a dark asha, Mykaela, near her small village in the kingdom of Odalia. The dark asha, a bone witch, heals her and brings Tea, along with her now-not-so-dead brother Fox, to Ankyo, the capital of the kingdom of Kion.
Here, Tea has to learn how to be a good asha, only after being a servant to the mistress of her house, which is House Valerian.
Then perhaps we should carve a world one day where the strength lies in who you are rather than in what they expect you to be.
The story started very well, but after some chapters, the plot seemed to slow down with all the descriptions that sometimes were too long and she has to being a servant for years, before being accepted as an apprentice.
In the world created by the author, a great portion of the population is asha. An asha is a woman who can wield elemental magic. She’s expected to be good at singing, dancing, fighting and in other fields. Much like a Geisha.
But there are also bone witches, very few and despised by society. Their magic meddles with death, this is the reason they are the only ones who can kill daevas, monsters that have been created from Death magic. These monsters have to be killed every so many years.
Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves how bitterness tastes.
When someone who can control an element is a male, he must become a Deathseeker, this is a soldier who has to kill daevas when there is no bone witch free to kill it.
A thing very important in this book is that everyone wears heartglasses. The necklace, depending on the mood of the person who wears it, changes color.
For example, a blue heartglass means worry, a yellow one means fear, etc.
A silver heartglass means that the person can draw runes so, if the person is female, she will become an asha, if the person is a male, he will become a Deathseeker.
Therefore, another interesting thing about this book was the idea this society has about male and female. As I’ve said before, a male who wields elemental magic must join the army, he can’t do things limited only to women like dancing. I stand for equality and this aspect of this book’s society made me think a lot about this kind of prejudices.
The story seemed really interesting and I loved the chapters where it was told by the bald. But nothing of real importance happens. The book sets the basis for a love story. And it ended with a cliff-hanger.
There’s a flaw in Tea’s character: her homesickness. After leaving her home, she mentions her family a few times then, for over half the book, it’s like she has forgotten about them. At least, we can see the bond between the protagonist and her brother. Fox is my favorite character of The Bone Witch, he’s strong and loves Tea more than anyone. He’s always there when she’s in danger and protects her every time he can.
Rin Chupeco has a good writing style, but the descriptions sometimes were too long, so that I had to re-read twice or thrice the same sentences in order to understand the passage. I give this book 2 out of 5 stars. I hope the next book will be better.
I recommend it to Memoirs of a Geisha’s fans and to fantasy lovers.
About the author
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.
She is represented by Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency. She is also fond of speaking in the third person.