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The Bone Witch #1

The Bone Witch

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A story of scorned witches, sinister curses, and resurrection, The Bone Witch is the start of a dark fantasy trilogy.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, 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.

The Bone Witch Trilogy:

The Bone Witch (Book 1)

The Heart Forger (Book 2)

The Shadowglass (Book 3)

411 pages, Hardcover

First published March 7, 2017

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Rin Chupeco

22 books5,297 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,911 reviews
March 9, 2017
When it raised its head, I saw that it had my brother’s face, drawn and bloodless and dead.
“Tea,” the figure said.
But then it smiled, and it was Fox’s smile, quiet and kind.
Oh hey! Remember me? I used to review YA books but stopped for a long ass time because I got burned out from reading boring/shitty ones. This book is the first new release YA I've read in what feels forever, because, well, hello? NECROMANCY! WHOO! Unfortunately, the book that brought about my return to reviewing and YA wasn't the most amazing one.

I mean, it was aight, it was pretty boring though. One good thing though, I liked her style of writing in this book, her descriptions were lovely, and I can't really describe them as anything other than light and delightful. However, it wasn't enough for me to be fully enthralled by the book. Not sure what it was, really. It had all the right elements, it just lacked a book spark for me. There is a pretty great magical system. There are fantastic hints of monsters that lurk in the deep.
These rumors sprouted up like bindweed along the edges of the kingdom and gorged themselves on whispers and fears. They told of daeva—strange and terrible monsters, maimed creatures assembled from scale-slicked bodies and yellowed fangs and spined limbs and horns.
Our heroine, Tea, lives in world full of witches. Her sisters are traditional witches, specializing in things like Forest and Water. Tea's power is unknown, but it turned out that she is a necromancer - one who can bring back the dead from the living, when she unwittingly wakes her dead brother from his coffin.

There was a lot of interesting stuff in this book, but unfortunately, it just couldn't keep my attention. I found it to be pretty boring; if I must compare it to the series, it would be sort of like the middle-grade Spook's Apprentice series, but while that premise and the short length of that book worked for it, this book just seems very lengthy and dull in comparison.

It truly is an interesting world, and one with a lot of potential. It just didn't draw me in.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews154k followers
May 15, 2021

When people cut us, we are expected to do only two things: smile and bleed.
Tea, a young girl in a poor village, comes from a family of witches.

She always imagined her powers to be similar to her family - something domestic and heartwarming.

But...when her brother returns from the war, dead, and then comes back to life...Tea realizes her powers are far more sinister than she ever imagined.
We can endure any amount of sadness for the people we love.
Tea is a bone witch - part of a dying clan. She finds a mentor who is willing to train Tea to become an asha (master of her craft).
Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves how bitterness tastes.
But the road to becoming an asha is long, and fraught with peril.

But endure it she must, for without the Bone Witches to kill resurrected monsters, her entire country could collapse in a minute.
There is no greater strength than the ability to understand and accept your own flaws.
Chupeco's writing is simply enchanting. Who knew I could fall so hard for a necromancy book??

I absolutely loved (loved) the world created by Chupeco. Her imagery truly transports you to another world.

The way she teased out clues for the way magic worked and built her world - in a word - Masterful.

I adored Tea's brother, puzzling out the mystery of Tea's mentor and (of course) the strong-but-silent Tea. She was such a unique character!

I am always a huge fan of monsters and this book did not disappoint. I especially enjoyed the way her monsters changed and developed from our initial impressions!

However, I do feel that the book focused a bit too much on asha training.

The beginning and the end held me absolutely riveted...and the intricacies of the dance and tea cermonies for her training...just didn't compare to the killing undead monsters.

That being said, I absolutely adore anything Chupeco and am wholly committed to reading this sequel! Cannot wait!

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Profile Image for Melanie.
1,157 reviews97.9k followers
March 22, 2017
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved and devoured the first half of this book. If that pace continued, this book would have got an easy five star rating. Unfortunately, the last fifty percent of this book felt like it would never end, and not in a good way. This book has very, very long descriptions. Sometimes I would be taken out of the plot, because it was so overwhelmingly descriptive; especially with our main protagonist's lessons. This is a very early ARC, so I'm hoping that editors can cut this down a lot to help showcase the magic that was in the first half of this story.

First off, I was sold on this book because 1.) look at this cover, and 2.) it surrounds asha, who are beautiful, talented, and amazing fighters with magical powers. Asha are pretty much Geishas and learning about them and their schooling was really enjoyable. If you liked Memoirs of a Geisha you will probably really like this, too.

“There is no greater strength than the ability to understand and accept your own flaws.”

The main asha of this book, Tea, doesn't start out even knowing she could be an asha. Her parents and sisters all have "normal" magical powers/elements. But Tea soon discovers she is a bone witch after accidentally resurrecting her newly dead brother at his funeral.

I loved Tea's relationship with her brother, and the bond they have. The thing I look most forward to in this series is seeing how that bond grows, and how it affects both of them.

Luckily for Tea, when she resurrects her brother, a very powerful bone witch is in her town. Mykaela is probably my favorite character in this world, and is an amazing teacher/mother figure to Tea. She completely takes her under her wing and teaches her about bone witches and their duties, while putting Tea on the path to become a very powerful asha.

Other ashas control elements: fire, earth, water, wind. Bone witches are dark asha, who tamper with death. Bone witches are not very respected in this world, even though their powers hold the most important job in this world: The False Prince used death magic to create Daeva, different demons that come back to life every so many years, and bone witches are the only kind of asha that are able to defeat them, that is until that next time they resurrect. Yet, because these monsters are created with death magic, bone witches also get the negative connotation.

One of the more unique and cool aspects of this world, is that all the people wear heartglasses around their necks. Your heartglass will change colors depending on what you're feeling, but will overall stay mostly the same color.

Green = Sickly.
Blue = Worry.
Orange = Disinterest.
Yellow = Fear.
Red = Healthy and Happy.
Pink = Romantic.
Black = Punishment.
Silver = Can draw runes, which means you can fight, whether it be as an asha if you're a girl or as a solider if you're a boy. Silver heartglasses are so very important and are so very sought after.

The other romantic and seriously scary thing about heartglasses is that if you fall in love with someone you can give them your heartglass. Tea's mother and father have done this. Even though it sounds romantic, it is scary because if you give your heartglass to someone that ends up being unworthy they can use it to control you and have an immense amount of power over you. Your heartglass is essentially a piece of you, and giving it away can be disastrous.

“We can endure any amount of sadness, for the people we love.”

Heartglasses can also be forged by heartforgers using memories. This is going to play a big part in this series, I'm sure. As of now, only the very wealthy can afford such a luxury. Normal witches lose their memories after gifting them to a heartforger, but not dark asha, they are able to keep theirs.

Dark asha/bone witches are also able to read other's heartglasses, which comes in very handy. Tea can see when someone is hurt, angry, flirting, even lying. Like I said, the heartglasses were amazing and unique; I can't wait to learn even more about them.

This book also handles some pretty tough topics in a really positive way. The most prominent topic being how their society, like ours, views men's masculinity; Men in this world are not asha, and they are looked down upon on for dancing or doing "women-like" things. Tea's best friend, Likh, has a silver heartglass, therefore he could be an asha, and has dreamed of it since his heartglass turned silver, but instead men with silver heartglasses are forced to join the army. The arts do not show strength; therefore it makes men look weak to perform them. I could write an essay on how happy I am this is getting some attention in a YA book.

“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.”

Another cool thing about The Bone Witch is that the story is being told from Tea in the future. In between chapters you can see current Tea, much older, telling this tale to someone else. I always love when stories are chronicled like this, so that made it a much more fun read, too!

A couple of the more negative things about this book would probably be the potential for a love triangle and the fact that Tea definitely suffers from special snowflake syndrome. The love triangle is hinted towards, even though we only feel a real connection to one of them in this book. The special snowflake syndrome is very abundant, but Tea is also written very well and seems very intelligent and capable, so it wasn't overwhelming or angering to me.

“But when you are younger and know no better, an infatuation can lead all the world to burn.”

This book series has so much potential. I will probably buy this in 2017 upon release, just because I really do believe this could be something amazing.

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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,406 reviews9,538 followers
November 16, 2019
UPDATE: 99 cents on Kindle US 11/16/19


At first I couldn't get into the book because I didn't know what all was going on, I'm still not sure on a few things.

I very much enjoyed the characters of Tea and Fox, they were siblings. And Tea kinda sorta brought Fox back to life when he died.

What other reprimands he intended died on his tongue when the ground began to move. A terrible rumbling and heaving began underneath us, beneath the fresh dirt that made up Fox's grave. There was a muffled splintering inside that small mound, like something within the coffin had escaped it's confinement. As we watched, a cold, gray hand rose up, scratching and stretching, and gripped the tufts of weeds growing close to the grave. The strange being lifted itself out of its earthly prison with little difficulty and brushed the dirt off its tall, thin form. My mother fainted.
When it raised its head, I saw that it had my brother's face, drawn and bloodless and dead.
"Tea," the figure said.
But then it smiled, and it was Fox's smile, quiet and kind.

Well, this didn't sit well with the peeps of the village so a Bone Witch named Mykala came to take Tea and Fox with her. She was going to train Tea to become an asha and eventually a Bone Witch if I have that right. Even though people come to the Bone Witch's for things they don't trust them and it would have caused a lot of trouble for Tea and Fox to stay with their family.

There are all kinds of things going on in the book, some strange things that I want to learn more about. Oh and they wear these things called heartglasses. It took me a bit to figure out what they were talking about, but apparently you were them as a necklace and people can read things about you through the color of your heartglass. Seriously, I would not have worn those at all. Well, I guess in this world you have to, but I digress.

I'm interested to see what Tea is going to do and become in this series. I'm not sure if it's going to be a trilogy or a regular series, but I will read them. I really do like Tea, I think she is an awesome character.


And the book cover . . . AMAZEBALLS!

*I would like to thank Netgalley and Sourcebooks for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
347 reviews923 followers
April 8, 2017
Actual Rating: 1.5 Stars

I have finally reached the end of this long, long journey.

The Bone Witch has an amazing sounding premise, interesting writing, and semi-diverse characters. Unfortunately, it's a book that sounds better in summary than it proves to be in execution.


In the grip of sorrow, Tea accidentally raises her brother from the dead. Her newfound ability sends her into an apprenticeship to become a Bone Witch, or a Dark Asha.

Dark Asha generally serve to protect the kingdom from monsters called daeva, which periodically rise from the dead and wreak havoc. Bone Witches are rare, and so for the sake of the world's stability, Tea must study hard to harness a power within that she never knew she had.

This all sounds pretty promising, but reading through Tea's journey bored me to tears. I had to physically will myself to pick this up and it took me two months to finally finish it.

The story largely consists of walking you through every painstaking detail of Tea's apprenticeship over the course of two years.

I felt like it kept going in loops: "Tea's learning this now. Ok Tea's learning that again, but she's a little more advanced now. Tea has started learning this new thing here."


It was just so repetitive & boring. This book is overstuffed with descriptions of Tea's life in training and severely lacking in compelling action scenes.

When we aren't following Tea's training schedule we're listening to her superiors make obscure references to other Kingdoms, to past wars, fallen heroes, and lurking threats.

Name drops everywhere and mentions of events that mostly had no impact on our present story line. I felt lost while wading through these history lessons, and largely apathetic about keeping it all straight.


The writing at times was beautiful, but just as often it was convoluted. Run-on sentences that carried on for half the page with poor word choices in some areas.


If I knew anything about this book, I knew precisely what each character was wearing down to the individual stitches. The clothing and food details were overwhelmingly superfluous.

It got to the point where I just stopped trying to picture it. It was mentally exhausting.

Every so often I would find myself completely captivated by a sentence or two, but there wasn't enough good here to outweigh the bad.

I feel Rin Chupeco has a lot of potential, I could see her writing style morphing into something amazing with a bit more experience.


I appreciated that these characters were racially diverse. It's wonderful to see different cultural influences and an array of skin colors in our books.

But personality-wise I found almost every character incredibly dull and predictable.

I wanted desperately to like the relationship that bloomed between Tea and the brother that she raised from the dead, Fox. But a large portion of the interactions between characters felt forced.

I didn't buy Tea's friendships or her rivalries. I wasn't invested in anyone's cause. I don't even have a favorite character. That's how uninteresting they were.

At the end of the day, I feel like this story had potential but that it could use a lot more editing before publication. It's missing some vital pieces of characterization and doesn't deliver a compelling narrative.

This review and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest!

***I received a copy of The Bone Witch from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Sourcefire Books and Rin Chupeco for this opportunity.***

Publication Date: March 7th, 2017
Profile Image for Simona B.
887 reviews2,974 followers
February 13, 2017
*I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

DNF 50%

I will be brief. This book has already taken up too much of my time.

•Nothing happens -and since I surely have said that before in relation to other books, let me repeat it: nothing happens. Because only now I understand that all the times that I've written these very two words before, I didn't really mean them. Never have I felt such nothingness from a plot like I did from The Bone Witch's. And what's worse, I've read a couple of reviews according to which the second half is even slower. I don't even think that's humanly possible, but I'm not as crazy as to put that to the test.

•We get to see too little necromancy for me to put up with this waste land of a story.

•A love triangle is to come in the second half -I know because the protagonist, who narrates the story in retrospection, says so. No thanks.

Special snowflake syndrome. I could have accepted that had I at least been spared the love triangle.

The characters are as flat as they get. No personality at all, not even a hint. Which contributed to boring me to tears.

The world-building could have been interesting maybe? Up to the first half, honestly, it's kind of dull (e.g. different colours mark out different kind of witches), and what didn't seem to be totally trite was anyway too confused to find due appreciation on my part.

➽ It saddens me that I couldn't finish it, it really does, but it was torture. I wish you all better luck, friends.
Profile Image for Rin Chupeco.
Author 22 books5,297 followers
July 12, 2016
BEHOLD, the fruit of my loins! Mind the thigh gap.

Awesome thanks to Hypable, who did the cover reveal and has an excerpt! https://t.co/9ZUUQUWqYK

What you can expect from THE BONE WITCH:

1. Geisha-esque girl fighters and strategists wielding powerful magic and throwing shade.

2. Male counterparts who dress in black and kick ass.

3. Undead gigantic demonic beasts that do not die for long, no matter how many times you kill them

4. Bone witches who can CONTROL undead gigantic demonic beasts, albeit not indefinitely

5. Unexpected bonds between a sister and the now almost-indestructible dead brother she kinda sortof accidentally resurrected (who still maintains a surprising sense of humor about the whole thing)

6. A couple of guys who can forge people new hearts to wear (and will be pretty important in the next book, which I am working on atm) --

7. -- because almost everyone literally wears their hearts around their necks.

Hope you guys enjoy reading The Bone Witch as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Expected release: March 7, 2017
Profile Image for Tina Haigler.
288 reviews97 followers
May 31, 2020
"THE BEAST RAGED; IT PUNCTURED the air with its spite."

This is the first book in a trilogy. I'm not going to lie. This books starts off really interesting but the middle takes FOREVER! I understand it is world building, but can we get a little action thrown in? All, and I mean all, of the action is in the beginning and the end. Hence my rating. Don't get me wrong. I loved learning the ins and outs of the world, but it was a lot of information. Throwing in something to get the heart pumping here or there would've made it more palatable. Hopefully the next book will be more action since all the world building was done in this one.

On to the characters. Tea (pronounced Tey-uh but I still read it as Tea, fight me!) has been through so much. First her brother, Fox, goes off to war and gets killed by a daeva (a beast if you will). As if that's not awful enough, at his funeral, she accidentally raises him from the dead. Realizing she is a dark asha, or bone witch, she must leave her family and start her training. Fox, being her familiar, is allowed to accompany her. There are other characters, minor in my opinion, that either enhance her training or make her life miserable, but none stand out as worth mentioning.

The story itself goes back and forth from the present, where Tea is telling her story to a bard (storyteller) from Drycht, and to the past, which is the story she is telling. I am normally not a fan of the flip flop but in this case, it is why I kept reading. I needed to know what happened between what I was reading and why the present seemed so gloomy in comparison.

All in all, the book was really interesting, in depth, and imaginative, but a bit boring in the middle. It was still a good book but it could've used a little more action, drama, or progress. Anything to make it stand out. If you prefer world building to action, this is definitely for you. If you don't enjoy world building, this is not for you. If you can be patient and get through the world building, give it a try. I at least, am very curious to see where this is going.

"A cold wind blew from the north, and with it the promise of night --- a growing darkness tempered only by the moon above, burning with all the light to see."
Profile Image for Cesar.
350 reviews235 followers
September 3, 2017
3.5 stars

I literally just finished the book and oh my God... I can't... I can't even... that ending...


First things first, let me talk about my overall thoughts and opinions on The Bone Witch.

As many of you have known, the Bone Witch has a lot of mixed reviews from several people. Even my friend's reviews vary from some liking it to some disliking it and even DNF'ing it. This is one of those books where you either love it or hate it or are somewhere in the middle.

Me, personally: I liked this book!.


I know, it's a surprise to me as it is to some people. I'll be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect based on all the mixed reviews. I went into the book with no expectations only to end up liking it! I honestly thought I would end up giving this book a 2-star rating but it's actually really good!

Before we get into the review, I want to say something. This book is not for everyone. I'll go into further explanation in my review, but I want to warn you in advance that this is not for everyone. Putting that out there.

Onto the review!

The Bone Witch is about a girl named Tea (Tey-uh) who discovers that she is a Bone Witch after raising her dead brother from the grave. A Bone Witch is a type of witch that is connected to the darker side of magic and can control/fight demons that plague the land. She is then sent to a neighboring kingdom to improve her skills and train to become an Asha, a geisha-like entertainer/warrior.

What's interesting about this is that it's being told by Tea to a Bard who finds her on a beach. Tea had been banished and is now living in a cave. She tells the Bard of her journey from the beginning until the end.

The synopsis itself sounds interesting enough, right? You got a necromancer and a bunch of magic. It makes a fun journey.

Well, here's where it gets complicated.


The majority of the book is mainly info-dump mixed with story progression. This is going to turn off a lot of people. It all depends on the reader if they like this book or not. And in my case, I liked it.

Here are the reasons why I actually liked this book.

(1) The world building. Looking at the map, I was very intrigued with the world. And there is a glossary at the end of the book where it lists the different kingdoms, a short history of it, the current ruler, and a brief description of what the kingdom is like. And within the book, Rin Chupeco manages to create a unique world with different cultures and different people.

Many of the kingdoms are inspired by the continents and countries. It's a mixture of European, East Asian, Russian, and even Africa and a bit of America if I'm not mistaken. Think of Ravka and Shu Han from the Shadow and Bone trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. Ravka is inspired by Russia and Shu Han is inspired by China. That's how it is like in the world of the Bone Witch. The people are diverse with lots of skin colors and cultures as well. It's such a diverse world!
If I'm not mistaken, I believe Tea is supposed to be Philipino if she were in this world. Which is very interesting and very cool.

(2) The Ashas. As mentioned before, the Ashas are Geisha-like warriors. Obviously, they are not actual geishas, but Rin manages to incorporate the rules and practices of geishas with magic and fighting. It was so much fun learning about them that I actually looked up geisha videos on YouTube. Makes you want to learn more about them.

(3) Tea. I really liked Tea as a character. Most protagonists either whine or complain about what they are currently going through. Tea takes everything in stride and actually wants to learn how to control her powers.

She does have traits of a special snowflake, but it isn't pushed into your face as it is with other special snowflake characters.

This isn't really a spoiler since there are short little interludes of Tea after her banishment, but I think she has the traits of becoming an anti-hero/sort of villain. Which sounds badass. She is roughly around 15 during the middle of the story and is this sweet, kind, hopeful girl. Fast forward to when she is 17 and in her banishment, Tea is calm, mature, and even a little villainous. She has all the makings to be an anti-hero and I love it!

(4) Very little romance. There is hardly and romance in this book whatsoever. It's hinted at it several times, but it isn't a main focus of the book. I won't go into specific details about it because of spoilers, but if you are afraid about the romance taking over the plot, have no fear.

(5) The writing. The prose was done really well. I know purple prose can be a bit annoying to some people (even me), but I felt like Rin did a good job with the writing. Sure, there were times when Tea would describe something that can be summed up in five words. But other than that, I loved the prose!

As much as I did like the book, there were a few things that did bother me a bit. I didn't hate them, but they could've used some improvement.

Here are the things that prevented me from giving this book a higher rating.

(1) The plot. There is a plot in this book, but it's mainly hidden under Tea's journey of becoming an Asha. You get hints of it from the interlude chapters with Tea and the Bard, but that's all you're getting. It isn't until near the end (70%) where things get interesting and start to pick up. Even though I did like reading about Tea's journey, this did bug me a bit. I wish there was more focus on the plot rather than Tea and her life.

(2) The pacing. The majority of the book is Tea's journey. Meaning that there will be moments of boredom. I personally wasn't bored by any of it, but there were times when some sentences would drag on. So you better have the patience of a god if you want to read all 400 pages.


(3) The info-dump. There is going to be a lot of information thrown at you throughout the book. I didn't mind them since I liked the world and wanted to learn more about it, but boy was there a lot of info-dumping.

That sums up my likes and dislikes.

As for the ending... Wow. I didn't see that coming. Now I'm even more excited to read the next book. March can't come any faster.

Now, would I recommend The Bone Witch?

Ummm...... kind of? Look, there might be a lot of things you could like about the book, from the world to the characters to the magic. And if that interests you, then you can get it. But keep in mind of the negatives. At best, this is a library read. Check it out and see if you like it or not to save you some money and time.


Despite the negative reviews and a few faults that were within the book, I really did like The Bone Witch. It could use some improvements, but I did like it.

I mean, just look at that cover! It's gorgeous and screams, "READ ME!"

Thanks for reading my review!

Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
669 reviews1,499 followers
September 17, 2020
I was kindly given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by SOURCEBOOKS Fire!

I'm going to be real honest with you guys, I only got 31% into this book and I just couldn't push myself to go any further sadly.

I was just confused a lot of the time, so half the things I am about to say are probably not correct, but I am going to do it to my best knowledge.

I love the idea of the book. You have these witches, or ashas as they call them, they can basically use their water/fire/earth power to heal is what I am gathering. There is also a bone witch who summons the dead (which is a lot rarer and obviously where the title of the book comes from).

What I LOVE about the book is how you can tell people's emotions, worry and temperment from this "heart" they were as a necklace. The color of it depends on how powerful they are and how they are feeling basically and I thought that was a cool concept.

Tea, the main character, is a bore. She doesn't actually talk that much and when she does it is always something like "why me" or "I did what [oh I'm so powerful]" or she is defending her mentor. I think the most interesting thing she does is raise the dead by accident but even then she was just... boring.

"I'm just a boring girl with all this power and I am the chosen one" is what I gathered from this.

They were doing this interesting concept where she is telling this story to someone who is going to write it in the history book. So half the book is italicized, which she is speaking to said-someone-who-is-going-to-write-it-in-the-history-book and the other half is the actual story that she is telling. I thought that was a neat concept.

There are things called daevas? They are like monsters that you can't kill but they are dead for a certain amount of years before they rise again. Then bone witches, like Tea, have to go there and kill them again before they start to kill.

There was like The Faceless, The Five Great Heros, some prince that isn't actually a prince so he is The False Prince... idk all this information was just thrown in there and I didn't know what to do with it.

OH AND THERE IS A PRINCE that is obviously a love interest named Prince Kance that she is "shy" and "quiet" around but he remembers her name and her and that makes her special...

I hope someone enjoys this book and can explain it to me because honestly I just can't read it anymore. When I am dreaming of the next book I am going to read, it's an issue. I am not sure if it is because I just got done with the masterpiece that is Empire of Storms or what, but this just isn't grabbing me.
Profile Image for Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction).
445 reviews6,750 followers
April 6, 2022
Honestly just found this to be *fine*. That’s all. I have little to say on it besides it was slow and I wasn’t invested in the characters enough to make up for that. I also expected more of an atmosphere with its emphasis on necromancy and monster but alas, it was nonexistent. It wasn’t bad, the writing was lovely in its descriptions, but otherwise I’ll probably just move on from it very quickly.
758 reviews2,350 followers
Shelved as 'd-n-f'
March 1, 2017
DNF @ 11%

-I'm really bored.
-So much info dumping?? Like what is even happening?
-It's confusing.
-Not holding my interest.

This is a DNF for now, which is why I'm not rating it. I can't focus on this while reading on my kindle. I'll probably buy my own copy and read it once it gets released and give it another try.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for sarah.
382 reviews260 followers
June 28, 2020
“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 Bone Witch had such an interesting premise that I thought I would love it, despite the mixed reviews. Unfortunately, not even that could keep me engaged for most of the story and this ended up falling quite flat for me.

the premise
Tea lives in a land of magic and witches. Her sisters all have powers of a more traditional sense, such as water, fire and earth. But one day, Tea disovers that she is a necromancer and accidentally wakes up her dead brother from his coffin. This means she is a bone witch, a dark asha who is feared in this world. She must move across the country to a magic school that trains asha.

the magic
I thought the magic system had the potential to be really interesting. People wear heartglasses- think mood rings- that bone witches can read, deciphering your emotions based on the colour. Then it gets more confusing, you can give your heartglass to someone you love, but they can use it to control you. Heartglasses can also be manufactured by heartforgers using memories. I'm sure I missed some things while reading, but this whole system makes me quite confused. Are you born with a heartglass? Why would you give it away? Why even bother if you can live without it?

the writing
while at times beautiful, the writing was convoluted and overly descriptive. This is coming from someone who really likes convoluted and overly descriptive writing. The audiobook was the only thing making me push through it at times, allowing me to zone out for some of the unnecessary, page long descriptions. Along with the descriptions, the writing was weighted down with some serious info dumping that left me confused, instantly forgetting what I had just been told.

the pacing
This is a common critique I have heard of this book, and I was no different. I found this book slow and quite frankly boring. Nothing happened, and any plot that was there was bogged down in the overly descriptive prose. I listened to the audiobook and every time I thought I was nearing the end, I would find out I had hours left.

the characters
this might be a side-effect of listening to the audiobook (and maybe, maybe not zoning out slightly) but I did not care for any of the characters, and even got some of them confused for the majority of the time. The characters felt quite underdeveloped and personality-less. I didn't care about what would happen to them which as a character driven reader was detrimental to my enjoyment of the story. I couldn't even pick a favourite character because they were all that forgettable to me.

the enjoyment factor
while at times I was extremely bored, I actually did enjoy parts of this book. I never really considered DNF'ing it, and genuinely wanted to discover more about this world that so intrigued me.

the verdict
I would recommend this to a limited group of readers. If you are someone who loves intricate magic systems, and don't mind info dumps of lengthy descriptions- this could be perfect for you!

Currently, I am undecided about whether I want to continue with the series. If you have any advice for me, feel free to let me know!
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,089 reviews6,597 followers
June 21, 2020
1.) The Bone Witch ★★★★
2.) The Heart Forger ★★★.5


"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."

representation: Filipino rep (own voices)

[trigger warnings are listed at the bottom of this review and may contain spoilers]


LOVED the concept of this. It’s so unique! Will definitely be continuing on with this series because I need to know how she ended up exiled! (this isn’t a spoiler everyone calm down lol)

trigger warnings: loss of loved ones, blood magic (drawing one’s own blood), gore, sexism, death.
Profile Image for Sarah (thegirltheycalljones).
412 reviews285 followers
January 12, 2017
Thanks Netgalley for providing an ARC!

Here is what the author said we could expect from the book, and what I think about it :

1. Geisha-esque girl fighters and strategists wielding powerful magic and throwing shade.
Kinda. They're not doing much except being booked for parties and going to Tea Houses, but technically yes, they're here and match the description.
2. Male counterparts who dress in black and kick ass.
I have seen no male kicking ass, dressed in black or not, unfortunately, except maybe Fox - the brother - who's a cool dead guy.
3. Undead gigantic demonic beasts that do not die for long, no matter how many times you kill them
True. I liked the myth and the legend told as a bedtime story.
4. Bone witches who can CONTROL undead gigantic demonic beasts, albeit not indefinitely
Also true. This part is interesting and probably will be more interesting in book 2 even if "not indefinitely" spoils the thing a bit.
5. Unexpected bonds between a sister and the now almost-indestructible dead brother she kinda sort of accidentally resurrected (who still maintains a surprising sense of humor about the whole thing)
True. But saying there's a bond says it all. And "unexpected" is not the word that comes to mind. "No bond" or "nothing at all" would have been unexpected, though quite crappy. But when a girl raises her brother from the dead, we do expect something. A bond. For example.
6. A couple of guys who can forge people new hearts to wear (and will be pretty important in the next book, which I am working on atm) --
Oh, I liked them! And they indeed have to be important in the second book or we're all wondering why they were here in the first place...
7. -- because almost everyone literally wears their hearts around their necks.
True. But literally only.

This wasn't a bad book, but it was a boring book. Now, how can a boring book can be different than a bad one? Well, I enjoyed a few things :
- the cover is magnificent!
- the writing. It was pleasant and flowing naturally.
- the Bone Witches job : raising and putting daeva back in the grave in order to keep the different kingdoms safe, creating the hearts of light people will wear around their necks from their 14 years old (I think it was 14, not sure), etc. I liked the myth created here.
- Tea and her brother : it wasn't hyper developed despite the fact both characters are central to the story, but it was there and I enjoyed their odd siblings link. Big brother-little sister with a magical bond. It worked for me.
- some try at diversity : Tea is "brown skinned", Likh, a male character, wants to do a woman's job and will go for it despite society and rules. Cool.
- the two timelines : it probably has a name but I don't know it. I enjoyed knowing where it was going, it fitted the book - maybe because it provided the only hard facts to the story...
Because one of the biggest issue I had with this book is that nothing really happens. The beginning is quite promising but I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that it's only descriptions of people, clothes, places and rituals for 75% of the book. You're living Tea's everyday life. And that's it. There's very little action, very little decisive moments. Most of it is clothing and lessons. Bo-ring.
Also, I think some stuff should have been developed while some others should have gone straight to the bin : the characters sounded very flat despite some good ideas >> develop them and DROP THE LOVE TRIANGLE. The story is not focusing on romance at all - thank god - but were two potential Love Interests necessary? Hint : they rarely are. Especially when they're walking clichés. A Prince and his cousin-warrior-guard, REALLY?
Also, minor fact but it bothered me while reading : the names. I had the feeling that it was borrowed and barely altered names from all over the fantasy landscape. We had a Zoya, a Kalen (both important characters), people called the Drychta, a place called Daanoris and extras called Mavren and Lia. It was a bit too much for me. I probably wouldn't have minded if stuff happened regularly, but the action was concentrated in the last 10% and it was too much and not enough at the same time.

To sum it up : a first book with good ideas that was a massive introduction for whatever will happen next. Never works, imo. :/

Profile Image for Sue (Hollywood News Source).
781 reviews1,600 followers
March 13, 2019
It was true that I was born at the height of an eclipse, when the sky closed its only moon eye too wink back at the world, like my arrival was a private joke between old friends. Or perhaps the moon read my fate in the stars and hid, unwilling to bear witness to my birth. It is the kind of cataclysm people associate with bone witches. But surely normal children have been born under this cover of night, when the light refused to shine, and went on live perfectly normal lives?

The Bone Witch is set in a world where people wear their hearts around their neck. It is splendid, breathtaking, and uncharted. I love the fresh folklore and organic mythology Chupeco plaited.

The book is separated by two alternating lenses. The first took place in the past where the narrator recounts how did a small girl from a quaint village become an enigmatic asha. The second took place in the present where the narrator met an exiled asha in the Sea of Skulls, who seems to be hiding dark secrets in the slit of her dress.

We have a main character named, Tea, who accidentally resurrected her dead brother. It came as a surprise to her and her family. She didn’t know she has a tremendous amount of power. She’s a dark asha, a witch, a spellbinder. And, her kind is the strongest of them all. The people in her village, doesn't know how to hone her skills except for the powerful asha, Lady Mykaela, who serves the Kingdom. In order to be her apprentice, Tea had to move away in a faraway territory.

What I loved about this book is the worldbuilding, and the mythology that is attached to it. There’s influences of Zoroastrianism. I’m unfamiliar with the folklore and that’s one of the reasons why I loved it. I love learning new things. I also love the subtleties, and politics. I like it when fantasy books gently infuse sexism, racism, classism, into their plot. I don’t believe that privilege and social ranks will never matter in any setting, whether, it’s fantasy, or contemporary.

Somethings you need to know about this exquisite story:

Firstly, we have a lovely boy that has a silverglass that wants to become an asha, but couldn’t be because it’s only restricted for girls. It stems from the toxic masculinity their culture upholds to.

Secondly, despite being a sword wielding, and a weaver of magic, asha must abide to their traditions. Most of them undergo training to make them more refine, and skilled at standards that are usually considered feminine, such as singing, dancing, mastering the language of flowers, and more. Because even though, they’re powerful within their own, they know they must learn how to coax a patronizing man in order to put him in his place. That’s a power.

Thirdly, we have a girl who is the last thread of dark ashas and she’s reinventing a way to save her kind.

Fourthly, we have an apprentice of the forger of hearts, who has so much to give.

Fifthly, we have a prince who is kind, but seems clueless; and a duke who is overly protective with the said brother.

Sixthly, we have an undead brother who has an unyielding bond with his sister that resurrected him.

Lastly, we have four witch-sisters whose bond has been fortified by time.

This book is a magical ride for me from page one to the last. I can’t wait to read the sequel. There’s countless of unresolved thread needed to be answered.

Review also posted at Hollywood News Source.
Profile Image for Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky).
256 reviews430 followers
April 5, 2017
I avoided this after some negative early reviews. What a mistake!

This book is awesome. It is character focused. If you're only interested in break neck speed plotting with paper thin characters don't bother with this one.

But if you love original fantasy novels that spend time developing the character and world you will appreciate this awesome novel.

The main character is something of an anti-hero which I appreciated. The majority of the book is about the MC finding her own power and it reminded me a lot of the first half of Memoir of a Geisha in this regard- not a great deal "happened" but I never felt bored.

The majority of her origin story is a mystery told in duel time period narratives (Think Name of the Wind in terms of structure/ style). I'm excited for the two timelines to meet in the middle. I'm hoping the second book is where we find out the rest of Tea's backstory- so she can kick ass in the final book without any back and forth.

There is very little romance, although I'd guessed who she was bringing back to life in the final chapter long before she did it. I'm excited and hopeful about how the author will develop the romance because I felt the development of Tea's crush in this book was pretty thin (which made sense given the final reveal).

Some passages were a little too descriptive but don't let that deter you. It is so rare to find fantasy novels that put this much effort into world building or attempt to step outside the medieval standards. Any missteps are minor in comparison to what was done well. And so much was.

Dialogue, characterisation, tension, prose, and plot were all excellent. I only wish it had been longer. I'm desperate for the sequel.

It is also a perfect example of how to do a cliffhanger well- the story has resolution even thou it is obvious that the best is yet to come.

If you are on the fence about this one or haven't come across it give it a try. This novel is fantastic.
Profile Image for Aoife - Bookish_Babbling.
285 reviews303 followers
January 28, 2021
Snapped up the audio version for my first OverDrive adventure to participate in the NicNax Book Club Backlist Readalong hosted on bookstagram by the amazing Tasha...how she manages to organise such awesome readlongs at the same time as the fab fun BookBingo is a mystery to me 🤩

I had such fun sharing thoughts and ideas with the group and we're continuing straight on with the sequel, because this ends in an interesting place with tasty tidbits and hints still to be unravelled.

Told in an alternating timeline, we meet our MC when she's a girl & learn her story as she peels back the layers sharing her tale with a Bard while working in isolation on an intriguing project. The "results" of this project are so interesting to me! (Spoiler free enough to pique anyone's interest? Lolz 🤗)
The audio version distinguished the timelines really well having a male narrator for the Bard scenes and the female narrator was really fun to listen to especially her accents even if Parmina was hard on the ears at times...it's supposed to be 😂

I really enjoyed the magic system and the world established in this YA series opener, even if at times the different lands and cultures could be a little awkward to remember because their intros could be a little info'dumpy - but I think this could be because I was listening to the audio, may have been multitasking and thus confused easier 🤷‍♀️
The Asha remind me of magical Geisha and the gifted men of this world join the Deathseekers dictated by what the characters heartglass reveal around their 13th birthdays. I had hoped for more of a magical school/lessons setting and part of my niggles with this read is how much we're told vs shown.
As with many first books in series there is a lot to fill the reader in on and for how beautiful this world sounds the reading experience was very description heavy especially the clothing & food (I was having GoT foody flashbacks) any action felt rather spaced out 😅
However I would love to see this adapted for the screen as it sounds visually stunning! Especially the way the magic is layered into the clothes and jewels - fascinating!

I enjoyed the characters and most particularly the relationship between the MC and her familiar brother - what a way to maintain a special bond! 😈
I like the blossoming sisterhood and the way these characters give us glimpses into the many magics of the Asha.
Being a more unique Dark Asha/Bone Witch made our MC a little "not-like-other-girls" but this tends to be par for the course in YA - I am surprisingly more curious about necromancy type magic than I thought I would be & find myself eyeing the Gideon the Ninth series a little more seriously now lolz
I'm not overly fond of the hinted at love geometry - but seeing as it appears my preferred ship should sail I shall wait and see how that may come about before casting too harsh a judgment on the shapes...yup guess I'm peak hypocritical 😇

The ending felt a little out of left field for me as if there were any hints as to its possibility earlier in the book I mostly missed them - those seeds were well hidden! However as mentioned above and below it does leave the door open with interesting options for what happens between our timelines and I am curious to see how they join up 😆


YA tends to be a little too surface level for me these days & I struggle a bit with the characters ages and how adult they sometimes feel...just make them older. Aged 18 to early 20s they can still make rash decisions and juvenile mistakes without making 14-17year olds act more adult than I do 🤔
In saying this I did enjoy my time in the world and am plenty curious to see what comes next 😎
Profile Image for Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net.
242 reviews550 followers
February 7, 2017
I have this thing about DNFing too many books in a year. I hate to do it, so I try to avoid it when I can.

This book sorely tested the limits of that rule.

☼ T H E G O O D ☼
The Cover is AMAZING. Lets not even undersell that, because the cover is so good I know it's selling people on the book. It sold me on it, and it sold a number of my friends on it too.

The Premise. High Fantasy is my weakness. I just love it, and can get lost in it pretty easily. You've got magic galore in this story, which focuses around a protagonist gifted with a unique ability to raise the dead. When she accidentally brings her dead brother back to life and discovers her abilities, her life is thrown into turmoil as she comes to understand her power.

... And that's pretty much it. These are my two stars. This brings me to the bad.

☁ T H E B A D ☁
Purple Prose Galore. This was exhausting to read. The descriptions are endless, and so flowery. We get a play-by-play for every single outfit that every single character is wearing down to color and cut and it's repeated over and over again. To make matters worse, so much of it is totally unnecessary and ancillary to the story.

"My asha sister Altaecia was a lot like my sister Rose. She was round and quiet and keen on gardening. She was also Ankyo's foremost expert on herbs and medicine and was a consultant to many Apothecaries operating in Ankyo. She made the best dizi I had ever tasted, and her ghormeh sabzi could silence even Polaire. Unsuprsingly, her ingredients were always fresh, and she was in the know with most of the vendors in the marketplace, so that her roasted lamb, seasoned and cooked for three hours to perfection, went unbelievably well with her sautéd kale, chickpeas and parsley stew, along with anything else she chose to cook."

TL;DR: An extremely long-winded way of saying "her cooking was good."

The entire book is like this.

The worldbuilding is pretty over the top for YA. Hear me out. Most of the fantasy books where worldbuilding works really well are upwards of 900+ pages long. It works because there are so many opportunities to trickle that information about the world to readers. The story here is 400 pages, and it is an endless and exhausting stream of information from page 1 to the very end. Every conversation references random places, leaders and cities that we've never met. It's incredibly hard to make sense of any of it.

Tea is the most special of all snowflakes. She doesn't do things to influence the plot. Plot happens to her. She is the Chosen one that for reasons unknown becomes one of the most powerful Asha in the world, and after that point her narrative becomes a stream of proving how noble/brave/beloved Tea is to everyone around her. It became really insufferable after awhile.

The Magic System makes zero sense. I'm still trying to figure it out. Everyone wears their hearts on necklaces around their necks. They apparently change color like a new-age mood ring. Except when some people only have Silver or black heartsglass, which apparently don't change color. Oh, also, you can apparently give your heartsglass away and someone can make you a new one except in the cases when they can't.

The thing about fantasy and magic systems, is that you have to have rules. Even Harry Potter had to have his wand to cast spells. If there are rules here, they're unclear and hard to follow. Even aspects of Tea's powers come totally out of left field near the end of the story in a way that feels like a cheat.

Plot, what plot?

The story is so slow. I got to 40% in when I realized that nothing was happening besides Tea attending Geisha classes and I still had no idea what the plot was. Literally nothing of importance happens after Tea raises her brother from the dead until about the 70% mark. There's also a really weird narrative choice to split the story into a past/present chapter-by-chapter mix. It feels directly inspired by Patrick Rothfuss's Kingkiller Chronicle books, but it's not executed nearly as well here.

With all said and done, I didn't hate this book. The premise of the story is intriguing, for sure. but there are numerous and complex issues that need to be sorted out for book 2 if I'm going to bother spending my time reading it.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review on Netgalley.
Profile Image for Basia.
193 reviews54 followers
March 7, 2017
So I see from a mere glance at the reviews this book has been receiving thus far that people are very torn about this book. And I'll be honest. For the 1st 20-30%, there was progress, but it was a bit sluggish. However, it never rose to a point where I felt bored. And always, ALWAYS, something kept me glued to The Bone Witch no matter what.

Yes, there are minute details describing the outfits worn herein. And perhaps things might have developed with a dash more action? These types of ... well, quibbles, really--they truly caused me to struggle with how I would end up rating this book. Is this a 4? A 4.5/5??

But then, something beautiful happened around 60% into the story. And then by 70%, it had me firmly in its grip. Then, once I reached the 75% mark, WOW! The story just TOOK OFF!!!!! So awesome. It was TERRIFIC! Fresh concepts, interesting world ... sure, there are some tiny, nit-picky complaints I could add. But why? It was everything it promised to be. I feel like it's Christmas for having had the pleasure of reading this eARC!

So the lyrical, wondrous writing, where the author ultimately took this story, and last but most definitely not least, that GORGEOUS COVER ... even if I were to go with a 4.75/5, this one DESERVES to be rounded up. (Most often, in reviews only, I round down; an oddity, given my affection for math.)

So who would enjoy this book? I bet if you liked the Cinder series, you'd love this book. However, it is most certainly high fantasy. And Cinder et al. is not. Hmmm. Those who will like the Red Queen series likely would love The Bone Witch as well. But in fact, I'm having a tough time finding books with which to compare this one.

And one last time, about this COVER. I think it is the most beautiful one I've seen this year, if not longer. Breathtaking.

I HIGHLY recommend this book. If you love high fantasy, I cannot imagine you'll not love The Bone Witch. Rin Chupeco swept me away, especially in how the book ended. I cannot WAIT for the sequel!

Sincere thanks to Sourcebook Fire Publishers, and the author, for the eARC of this book.
Profile Image for Drew.
449 reviews504 followers
November 24, 2016
Despite my low rating, The Bone Witch actually wasn't that bad. It was surprisingly well developed, something YA fantasy tends to slack on. I got a strong sense of the world, the royal culture of ashas - females who wield magic - and the magic itself was very detailed.

I liked the world building derived from ancient Japanese culture. The fighting, robes called huas females wore, and respectful traditions such as bowing and proper titles all brought me back to Alison Goodman's dragon fantasy, Eon, which was based on ancient asian cultures. It was really interesting to read about.

Another thing I liked was the magic. We follow young Tea (pronounced Tay-uh), who discovers she is a bone witch when she raises her brother from his grave. Tea's dark asha power lies in commanding the dead and she is taken away to be trained by an ancient bone witch.

However, despite the excellent world building, I couldn't get past the fact that this book was so boring for the majority of the plot. After Tea goes into training to become a better asha, that was pretty much the whole plot until the last 15%. Give me some drama already.

Also, the writing was way too flowery for my taste. So many descriptions of dresses - seriously, each new female introduction came with a loooong description of her dress - and the purple prose made me want to fall asleep:

“She wore a beautiful hua of a deep coral that made an elegant contrast against her dark skin. Blue-green bamboo swayed against swirling, silver cloud patterns on the rich cloth, and she had on a gray waist wrap with embroidered sparrows set in gold.”

As for the characters, they were almost uncomfortably well-mannered. They had this stiff, proper way of acting and the dialogue came across as robotic. I think this might have been because a lot of the characters were royalty, but because they acted this way, I couldn't get a good sense of their personalities hidden behind polite small talk.

Tea's relationship with her brother, Fox, also felt unrealistic. I have four brothers and know it's not always smiles and unlimited love for your sibling. Their relationship was way too nice - and that may sound harsh, but it was the kind of nice that felt fake. Only in a dream would siblings ever get along that well.

The pretty, descriptive magical world made for a great setting, but there wasn't enough plot to carry it. Granted, there was some cool action involving creepy monsters called Daevas at the end, but that didn't make up for the yawnfest that was the rest of The Bone Witch.

If you happen to love endless descriptions of dresses, though, then by all means, pick up this book.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,690 reviews1,267 followers
March 6, 2017
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley.)

"This is death magic, complicated and exclusive and implacable, and from the start, I wielded it with ease."

This was a YA fantasy story, about a girl with the power of necromancy.

Tea was quite a strong character, and I liked how she wasn't afraid to stand up and act when the situation called for it. I also found the way she discovered her powers (by raising her brother from the dead), to be pretty awesome.

The storyline in this was quite slow, and mainly dealt with Tea leaving her family to go and train with another bone witch/Dark Asha, and it wasn't until right at the end of the book that we got a bit of action in the form of a 'daeva' - some kind of monster, which Tea had to go up against. The slow pace leading up to this point started to bother me though, and it felt like the book had no real plot other than describing Tea's training and clothing.

The ending to this did have a little more action, but I have to admit to being a bit confused as to what really happened.

6.5 out of 10
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,709 reviews927 followers
April 19, 2017
This freaking book.

Just to get this out of the way, this was not a good book. As many reviewers at Booklikes noted, this YA fantasy novel hit every trope that many of us readers are tired of reading.

Main character is the best (insert name of thing) ever.

There is purple prose galore.

World-building is all over the place and more often than not, author contradicts themselves regarding the rules they have put in place.

There is a love triangle (STOP IT!)

People (usually women) are jealous of main character for reasons unknown. That don't make sense to you as a reader, but at that point you just go with it since you want it to end.

Development of characters seems to be an afterthought.

Book ends on freaking cliffhanger so you know as a reader that the author/publisher is going to stretch this thing out to at least 3 books. Looking at you "Dorothy Must Die" series which managed to push out 4 books.

I really loved the cover for "The Bone Witch" and when I read the synopsis a few months ago I thought this book would be right up my alley. I was wrong.

Told in alternating points of view, "The Bone Witch" has a character who is a bard (no, not looking up his name) who comes across Tea, who is a dark asha (think witch, it's easier) also called bone witches.

This bard has come from (don't recall kingdom) in order to find Tea.

Tea agrees to tell her life story after the bard witnesses her slaying a daeva in order to get its bezoar. Just think of a daeva as an undead thing that looks like a dragon. I don't know. The bezoar is a jeweled remnant left behind that a dark asha like Tea can use in her spells. Seriously, after that the book just jumps into a free for all regarding this world that we find ourselves reading about.

When the POV switches to Tea, we find out what incident occurred in order for Tea to be declared a dark asha. We get to read about how she raised her dead brother (Fox) from the grave. And this is what kills me. The book has promise when you read about that. You are instantly fascinated. Then you are drowned in minutiae and you just don't care anymore.

The book goes back and forth between the bard's POV and Tea's. I really wish that Chupeco had not decided to tell the bard's POV in italic. I know that they want to visually show the different points of view. But it was hard to read. I don't think people realize that when you have an e-reader or heck even a hardcover or paperback having someone's eyes having to constantly adjust to different fonts can cause a headache. I know I had one yesterday.

Tea was not exciting at all. If you want to read about her crush on Prince Kance enjoy that. Also read about how angry she is at having to deal with chores and the food she eats. For pages and pages. I am not kidding about this. A good 3/4 of this book was just descriptions of what she was wearing, what was in her hair (jeweled things that somehow give ashas power), how she felt when Prince Kance was near her, what she was eating, how she sang, danced, and fought. This book borrowed heavily from "Memoirs of a Geisha" to the point that a few times I felt like I was experiencing deja-vu because a scene would sounds so similar to one from that book.


There were a few things in here that I think that Chupeco wanted to include for a very special after school moment, but it fell flat to me. She includes a character (named Likh) that wants to be an asha (he has a silver heart) but in this world, since he is a male, he has to be a deathseeker. Likh doesn't want to be one, and Tea and her dead brother Fox try their best to be behind his efforts to become an asha. At one point he makes a speech that he doesn't seem himself as a boy, that since he was a boy he liked girl things (dolls and dresses) and I just cringed inside.

I think Chupeco is trying to portray him as gay. But that does not equal only liking girl things and not liking swords or rough play. Heck I was a tomboy and fought my mother tooth and nail to not be in a dress outside of church (boy did she despair) and yet I was not gay. I just think she should be careful with generalizations like this when writing.

We have other characters like Lady Mykaela, Lady Zoya, Mother Parmina and others who I wish we had been able to visit with more. They had more going on then Tea that was for sure. But honestly after a while, it was hard to keep track of so many people. Every few pages it felt like someone new was being included in this book.

The writing was purple prose run amok.

And honestly what really kills me about this book is that I still don't get the world building that Chupeco has in this book. We have ashas who can control fire, water, wind, and earth (I think). And then we have dark ashas who can control the dead. How the heck does that even link up to the other four elements? Even Captain Planet decided to go with "heart" for crying out loud as a fifth element.

Don't get me started why ashas who can control the elements are even being taught about dancing, flower arrangement, how to sing, how to perform, etc. Chupeco even has the ashas going to tea houses to have conversations with men. Once again there is a whole what in the world thought running through my mind. When Chupeco goes into Tea having to work off her debt to the "Mother" of her house I just started to laugh. This fantasy world is definitely not for me.

Chupeco tries to describe the runes that Tea is learning about, but man oh man my eyes just glazed over. We really only get two fight scenes in this book, and those were the only interesting parts of this book. Everything else was a big meh to me.

Chupeco has "The World of the Bone Witch" section that she included at the end of the book. It would have been better to put that up front after she showcased the maps of this world. I also really wish that Chupeco had thought to include a dictionary for the terms in this book. You have to guess a lot at what certain words mean or what she means when talking about somethings. For example, the clothes that the ashas wear are referred to as huas. Guess what I could not find that word anywhere in the dictionary. I ended up having to Google and found out that hua means China. I don't know if that is true or not since it popped up via Wikipedia. I imagine that Chupeco means that this outfits (based on the endless pages of descriptions) are similar somewhat to kimonos though. Same thing when I tried to look up daesha which turned up some interesting results.

The setting of this world that Chupeco creates at first glance sounds interesting. Everyone has an actual physical representation of their heart that they wear for all to see in a heartglass. People (ashas mostly) can see the colors in the heartglass and can tell if you are happy, anxious, sad, sick, etc. But if you give your heart away (cue danger) you can slowly start to die. But sometimes not. And sometimes you can get a new heart. I am sure this is all going to reveal about love or something in book #2 or #3.

Chupeco also shows the kingdom includes people with blonde hair and blue eyes, dark haired people with dark eyes, and golden skinned people with I can't even remember what eyes they had, I think she refers to their shape. But then people pop up who are dark skinned and I just didn't have the energy to figure out what kingdom they even come from.

The ending was a freaking cliffhanger. There are enough clues here and there that you can imagine what happened to put Tea on this path, which is why having a cliffhanger really doesn't work. There was one reveal that I think will surprise some readers if they manage to finish this book. I know that I don't really care what caused Tea to take the measures that she is about to do.

I read this for booklikes-oply. The Kindle Edition is 432 pages.
Profile Image for Montzalee Wittmann.
4,500 reviews2,315 followers
January 1, 2017
The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco is one of the best fantasy books I have read in the last few years, and I read a lot of books! This book is rich in how the author weaves the story's multiple levels, the characters, the many subtle things that come up later that if you don't really pay attention to it, you would miss it. I read really fast but for this book, I read very slowly and reread parts over, something I never do! This book has so much in it that you might miss if you read too fast or not paying attention to it. There is the dark magic, lighter magic, oracles, the resurrected, creatures like no others, suspense, action, and told so well I felt I was there. I stayed up all night to absorb it all. I could not stop, I felt I was under a compulsion spell. This book needs to be on the big screen for all to see, not just readers. Tea, our gal of the story, is too young to get her heartstone but she does something that gets everyone's attention. Her older brother dies and in grief, she resurrects him from the dead. She is no ordinary witch like her sisters, she is a powerful asha, a dark witch, a bone witch. Someone feared and loved at the same time. Someone that will be trained to kill the creatures that hunt man. That is the plan at least... There will be more books, I hope, I can't wait. I will stay up all night to read those also! This story takes the girl from about age 12 or so to age 17 and a lot happens in that time, but she is not done telling us the whole story! Wow, this book is powerful. Loved the plot, the mysteries, the characters, the fantasy of it all. Thanks NetGalley for allowing me to read such an awesome book. Also, even though I only got this book from NetGalley and didn't buy it, I was still allowed to get the Asha Apprentice Card download. It is so pretty. I could print it out but I put it as my screen saver. AWESOME! I don't know how anyone could not see this as anything less than a 10 star book out of 5 stars! lol
Profile Image for Chelsies Reading Escape.
631 reviews362 followers
September 20, 2018
I was so excited when I got an ARC of this book but when the reviews started coming in I started getting a little bit apprehensive. I think having lower expectations made me enjoy this story a lot more than I would have originally. The pace was a little slow and not much happened with the plot. Its more character driven with some great world building thrown in. However Im a plot driven reader and I would have loved for the plot to move along quicker. Overall I liked the plot but I wanted more action. I would have prefered demon fighting over time spent reading about her daily routine scrubbing floors or learning how to sing.

I thought all the different diverse characters were compelling. I enjoyed the main character and the bards perspective. Tea journey and developpement was fascinating to read about. I loved her brother Fox and their whole relationship. His protectiveness was adoring. I didnt like Parmina and Zoya but I dont think I was suppose to. When Zoya bullied Tea she didnt do anything about it which frustrated me. We dont get enough of Lady Mykaela in my opinion shes always gone or in bed. I didnt get a chance to connect with her as much as I would have wanted. For most of the book there wasnt much romance but I didnt mind.

I hate overly descriptive scenes but it didnt bother me as much as it usually does in this book. The constant hua clothes descriptions got really boring but some of the details added an enchanting atmosphere to the story and built up the world wonderfully. I just think the daily routine and some of the details could have been cut out to shorten the book. That would have help put more focus on the plot. I enjoyed the switch between present time and when Tea became an asha. Although I needed to reminded myself often that the present time was told from the Bards perspective.

I really loved the ending and the twists. I didnt see them coming at all and Im usually pretty good at predicting them. This book really took me by surprised in the best possible way. I cant believe Im going to have to wait over a year for the sequel. I need to know what happens next right now. This book was so good I hope I get the chance to review the sequel. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for an atmospheric and unpredictable character driven fantasy. Im really thankful to sourcebooks for the arc of this book.

* Received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for BAM the enigma.
1,812 reviews361 followers
February 7, 2017
A huge thanks goes to Rin Chupeco and Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to submit this unbiased opinion.

A story collecter has a dream and chases down an asha, an exiled bone witch with her own tale to tell, even at the age of seventeen.

The story she tells begins with her girlhood while she was known as Tea in her large family, who brings her older brother, Fox, back from the dead. This is how it's discovered she is a dark asha. Word of her feat reaches Lady Mylaeka, a renowned asha, who takes Tea and Fox to her haven in Ankyo for proper training. Tea and Mykaela travel from principality to principality curing the ill and wounded and celebrating the equinox. Slowly they make their way to the Willows, the village of the asha.

The book flips between past perspective of Tea's training and education, and the present, which winds through the explanations of the daeva and their bezoars. Daeva are murderous, destructive beasts, more devastating than a simple wild animal. The bezoar, hidden in the monsters' midsections and carved out, are sought for their rejuvenating powers. The most malevolent is the azi, a great dragon.

Life in the village sounds as if it took inspiration from the great geisha. Their gowns, tea houses, training and talents bear a strong likeness. Gentlemen are entertained. There are apprenticeships. Although it may sound unoriginal, the mutations to the links between are unlike anything I've ever read. Warrior geisha

The most endearing character in the book is Likh, an assistant in a jewelry shop. His strong perception of self will speak to thousands of YA readers. He doesn't spend much time on the story, but he is very important.

The best help I had in understanding this book was the following clarifications of asha: " most are well-versed in elemental magic; there are asha who further their careers in the arts and become wives; asha known for their expertise in battle; asha skilled in politics; and the dark asha who raise and banish the daeva." But what is Tea? Is she an amalgamation? Is she an aberration? There is also a beautiful dance sequence telling the myth of the first dark asha-melancholic and lovely.

As we reach the end of the story climax builds upon climax luring the reader to a dastardly plan as well as the next stage of Tea's strategy. The ending definitely left me wanting to read book two in the series.

Kudos to you, Chupeco! What an exciting beginning!
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
832 reviews3,724 followers
May 7, 2022
4.5 stars. I have found over the years that statements like "nothing happens" really didn't mean much and I started ignoring them more and more when reading reviews. The Bone Witch is yet again proof that as far as I'm concerned as a reader, I was right to do so. Indeed I personally love training/getting to know their powers/their new world plots, and in that aspect this book certainly delivered—as a result, I was never bored. Now, we can philosophy away on what we mean by "nothing" when we write this in reviews (I, too, wrote these 2 words on occasion for sure) but at the end of the day, what matters most is the ability to captivate us.

So. Did The Bone Witch succeed in this endeavor? Absolutely. The writing is compelling, the world fascinating and I really liked Tea, the main character. The two timelines structure is something I used to be wary of but learned to love, when it's used as a way to increase the tension especially, as it was done here. As for the romance, there's none in this first book but I did what I always do when I know a love triangle is a possibility : I asked a friend to let me know (only the relationship part). Let it be clear however that this information is not needed at all to enjoy this book—as I said, there's no romance in this book—I just have trust issues okay? 🙈

I'm so excited about reading the sequels.

CW: graphic violence, blood, gore, death, war

PS. Just a thought, but I would have done without the french slur s***** used here. I hate this word with passion and it took me by surprise —and not in a good way— both times it was uttered. I'm sure—I know—that there are other swear words in french that could have conveyed the same meaning without resorting to that very sexist one.
Profile Image for Gary .
200 reviews183 followers
February 7, 2022
This was an okay read. It had moments of promise built in an intricate world. The problem is it often slogs down into information dumps and overly descriptive sections that seem to roll on and on. I am typically a fan of character driven literature and don’t want simple plot twists driving my reading experience, but this book needed more.
Don’t get me wrong, when it moved it moved along nicely. There were sections that were compelling. The world design is impressive (if sometimes confusing) and multi layered. When the story does pick up it works well but I never really felt pulled to pick this book up.
It did end in a manner that left me curious to see what will happen next. I checked the reviews from people I generally trust to have very similar reading experiences and the next book in the series sounds significantly better so I am off to read it.
Three stars.
Profile Image for Sara (sarawithoutanH).
459 reviews2,960 followers
May 7, 2019
Things I Liked
● Tea is telling the story to someone in the future. I enjoyed catching glimpses of the much older and wiser Tea between chapters.
● The ashas - they basically were powerful geishas that could wield magic.
● The concept of heartsglass was interesting. People wear heartsglass around their necks and it changes colors depending on what the person is feeling. You can give your heartsglass to a significant other, but it can allow the person to have power over you if they mistreat your heartsglass.

Things I Disliked
● The worldbuilding was slow and confusing. I didn't enjoy the pacing of this book and I found myself struggling to finish it.
● Tea was not my favorite main character. She was fine, I just didn't really connect with her. I much preferred the older version of her that we only got to see in the future.
● Tea's crush on the prince felt predictable for a YA book. I'm just kind of over that whole "powerful girl likes the prince but it's forbidden" thing.
● I felt the daevas and the faceless could've been explained better. Maybe it's because I listened to the book on audio, but I didn't fully understand how daevas worked and who exactly the faceless were.

I'm not sure if I'm going to continue with this series. I read this book to participate in the Asian readathon and I just didn't love this book enough to immediately jump to the sequel.
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