Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: July 7, 2017
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Bone Witch
Rating: 4/5 stars
“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.”
I really enjoyed the previous two books by Chupeco that I have read (The Girl in the Well and The Suffering). I was excited to read this beautiful book (the cover is stunning). This book is much more traditional fantasy than other books I have read by Chupeco, however the story still has heavy Asian overtones to it. I ended up loving the detailed world building and our heroine. The story was also intriguing.
I really liked the way this story was structured; there are parts with Tea in her current exiled environment alternating with the story of how she came to be the Bone Witch. I found the mystery behind how Tea ended up as the exiled Bone Witch really drove this story forward for me; you are constantly seeking hints in the telling of her past to figure out how she became what she is in the current time.
The book has a very strong Asian influence. The asha are very similar to geisha, but they have magic and are warriors as well as entertainers. The Tea of the past is a somewhat naive but intelligent girl that is determined to protect her friends and loved ones. The Tea of the present is something completely different; driven by revenge and with an absolute disregard for the individuals she harms in her big picture.
The contrast between the two is poignant and you are constantly striving to see elements of Tea the Bone Witch in Tea the asha trainee.
This is just the first part of the story and the ending had a number of rapid twists and turns that didn’t match well with the deliberate pace of the rest of the story. This was really my only issue with this book. Aside from that, it was easy to read and very engaging. This is obviously only the beginning of the story. We never get to the part where Tea is exiled in this book.
Overall I really enjoyed this book a lot. I loved the detailed world-building and a lot of the characters. I also love the story about the dark asha and the evil forces that they are doomed to hold in check. It was a wonderful fantasy story with heavy Asian influence. I would recommend to fans of YA fantasy who enjoy Asian culture and don’t mind a dark tone to their fantasy.