Monday, March 6, 2017

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Series: The Bone Witch #1
400 p.
Published: 3/7/17
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: From publisher and NetGalley for review
"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.
My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this author's other work and when I saw the cover for this one I knew I needed to read it. It is as lush in descriptions as her last work, but while that one built atmosphere, sometimes the descriptions here got in the way. I absolutely loved picturing all the gowns (hua) the asha's (magical ones) wore because it was such a part of who they were becoming. It also felt as if it was a complete amalgamation of different cultures, particularly eastern. It was fun exploring the world and what magic she could preform and what was held back in her abilities.

What I thought was a bit weak were Tea's relationships to the other secondary characters. In some ways it worked and they were completely supportive of her character in bringing her to life, but in other ways I thought the relationship should have been more defined. There were a couple of people who were interesting in their own right, felt as if they were going to be built upon but then felt dropped from importance. Now, this may correct itself (and I highly suspect it will) as the series continues, but I would have liked at least one character to have played a more distinctive role in the worldbuilding. Her brother, Fox, was rounded out much better than the others, but there were so many other personalities I wanted to get to know even just a bit better. I think the worldbuilding would have been perfected a bit more with those characters.

I still found the world fascinating and didn't mind the present/past back and forth within the book. To tell it otherwise would have made the book too long. Still, as we are building up in understanding about Tea and her abilities and coming to the climax of what is going on in the "present", the book ends. Thankfully this is part of a series or that would have really upset me.

I give this book 3 stars. I think it has the potential to really take off now that several things have been established. While it had some problems for me, I still found it interesting and compelling enough to want the next book to find out how the ending of this one plays out. I recommend it to those that enjoy YA fantasy with and Eastern bent but do be prepared for the ending. :)

56 comments:

  1. I love the cover and concept of this one, so I'm glad you found a lot to like in it! I think I'll probably hold off to see how the sequel pans out before diving into this one, though. Great review, Melissa!!

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    1. I'm hoping the second book really takes off now that the world is established. I've read a lot of series where it takes a second book to shine and it often becomes a favorite. :)

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  2. I'm in two minds about reading this. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about it and while I love the idea behind it I'm a bit concerned that it's going to be poorly executed. I think even if I did end up reading it I'd have to be in the right frame of mind for it! Great review, I hope you like the sequel πŸ’–

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    1. You might wait for the second book to make up your mind. Might be worth the wait. :)

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  3. ah not as good as I thought... I hope the sequel will increase the level! curious to see what you would think of it!

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    1. I think it can be brought up several levels and I also think it can be done. So right now, not worried and want the second book. :D

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  4. The premise sounds interesting but I'm not sure there's enough there to really make me want to pick it up. Fantasy isn't something I reach for often anyway, so it usually has to be something pretty remarkable for me to want to read it. Glad you enjoyed this one enough to want to continue with the series!
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. I do like fantasy so that sold me. I have read her other work so I'm less worried about wanting the second book. :)

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  5. I thought the same thing while reading this. It really was beautifully written but it was slow but I do think it has a lot of potential and I'm hopeful the next book will be fabulous.

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  6. Probably not for me, but I've been seeing this one around everywhere and I love that cover.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Perhaps not, but I do think you might want to try her other series. :) I think you'll like those.

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  7. I've heard so many mixed reviews on it. Many people seem to dislike it, and when people love it - they love it. Most are in the middle like you. It seems to have potential but kind of faltered. Maybe next one will be better

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    1. I think that now the world is established the second book could really take off.

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  8. Interesting spin on witchery. Still curious enough to pick it up.

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    1. It really was an interesting spin. I hope you enjoy!

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  9. I have yet to read a glowing review for this book. It sounds promising, but everyone complains about it being slow. I am definitely skipping it. I am struggling so much with YA anyway and to read something like this...nah...

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    1. The descriptions were quite lush but also slowed the book. Still, think it has potential, but it just may not be for you. :)

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  10. I've had this one on my to-read list and I suppose I might get to it eventually. I like to wait until three are out to start a series because I hate waiting for a year in between releases. But I am definitely intrigued by this one. Great review!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
    Follow me on Bloglovin'

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    1. I think this is going to be a trilogy but I'm not sure. Might be good to wait in this case. :)

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  11. I know many people have complained about how slow this book is, but I'm really intrigued by the world the author created. It's on my radar to start soon.

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    1. I think you'll love the descriptions which is what I think slowed the book. I think you'll like the blending of cultures in this one as well.

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  12. I'll admit, the cover lover in me wanted this book just for that reason.

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    1. Oh it is a good cover. I think that is also what drew me to this one.

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  13. I can see why you had to read it when you saw it. I could pick it up now too. lol. It has a good sound to it too. Thank you.

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  14. Yep, there was a lot I loved and plenty that drove me nuts, but like you I have strong hopes that book two flows better.

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    1. Since I've read her stuff before, I have no problems picking up the second book. No hesitations. :)

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  15. Ah well. Since it's first in the series, I'm probably going to be a bit more lenient since we're on building stages. But man, it's tough when it's fantasy.

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    1. Totally get that! :) I think fantasy sometimes has to build up from the first book.

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  16. I just love the cover! Fantasy is so hard for me to get into, especially when it's slow. May have to see how this one progresses first!

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    1. I love the cover too! I have a feeling it will pick up.

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  17. Nice review, I have been curious about this one mainly due to that beautiful cover. Sorry the supporting cast were a little underdeveloped, hopefully that improves in the next one? Sounds like there's a lot of potential there.

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    1. I just was disappointed that we didn't get more of the secondary cast. I see so much going on with them. I think it will. I've enjoyed her work in the past and I know she can pull it off well.

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  18. That cover is gorgeous and sounds like the atmosphere the book built matches. Sorry it had issues but sounds like the next book has potential. Great review!

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    1. The worldbuilding was so lush! I think it will build on this one. I cannot wait to read the next.

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  19. Gads! I still need to read this but I'm going in with much lower expectations! I thank you for that b/c you probably saved my overall enjoyment of the story!!! You rock!!! :)

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    1. LOL! Thanks! :) I think if you see this as a book to build on, it works.

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  20. I really wanted to love this one but just couldn't get through it :(

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    1. I think the worldbuilding pulled me through this one... that and the fact I've read her stuff before. :) It may not be for you at all.

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  21. This is the second review I've read for this book. The other one (I can't remember who wrote it) said the same things. It was okay, but not as good as expected. I think I will pass on it for now. I've got too many books that I'm dying to read. Great review.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

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    1. Totally get that. You should read her other series though... I think you'll love it. ;)

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  22. The concept sounds quite intriguing. It's sad that it wasn't more fleshed out; I would have liked to explore the interpersonal relationships that this would have caused. Antagonists and Protagonists not truly defined as evil or good, but simply with different viewpoints.

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    1. Agreed. I think that there is potential and I've read fantasy that started out this way but I ended up loving it. :)

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  23. What a gorgeous cover! That's great that even with some issues it grabbed you enough to want to continue on to the next :)

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    1. I think knowing how she writes helps as well. :) Plus, I've read fantasy that started in this way before and ended up loving it.

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  24. I read her Girl in the Well and while I thought it was good and I gave it 4 stars, I never went in with the series. I guess it's just not my favorite kind of book. Or I am just weird. Lol. Hopefully the second one will be a lot better :)

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    1. I really enjoyed her other series but it just may not be for you. :)

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  25. Hmmm... this one sounds promising, but your review makes me think I'd be annoyed with parts. I think I'll wait to see what you think of the second one before I commit. Thanks for the review!

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    1. I really do think it has promise and I hope the next one is as good as I hope.

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  26. The cover is so amazing! I've been seeing some mixed reviews, so not sure if I want to pick it up yet, but im glad it was intriguing enough for you to consider book 2. Hopefully book two is amazing! Great review Melissa!

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    1. You might wait for #2 to come out. :) Thanks. :)

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  27. I absolutely love the gorgeous cover <3 but I've been hearing mostly negative reviews everywhere :/ I'm gad the premise is good but the slow pace is putting me off ..But really glad to see it was interesting enough for you stick to the series :) Might give it a chance sometime..Great review!

    Uma@Books.Bags.Burgers.

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    1. It does help that I've read her other stuff and I also know that it can take the first book to really establish things in fantasy. :)

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