The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Disclaimer: As a member of NetGalley, I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.
Part 1: From The Book Cover
In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price...
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.
Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!
Part 2: Recommendation
I know, you're not supposed to judge the book by its cover but in this case, the book cover drew me in and after reading the book description, I just had to request an ARC. Luckily, I got approved.
316 pages is quite frankly, long for world-building and introducing characters. But I get it that this is a Fantasy series. A lot of other early reviewers didn't enjoy the book because of it and I agree that nothing much happens, however, I believe that it is essential to read this book prior to moving on to reading the next books in the series as this book explains quite a lot in terms of the Asha traditions, hierarchy, and the world itself.
It is definitely very reminiscent of Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden in the sense that they have practically the same types of classes/training (as far as I can remember) and the same type of "job" description (i.e. Entertaining nobles with their singing, dancing, conversational prowess and skills at playing various musical instruments). The author's spin to this is the addition of the Asha's abilities for martial arts as well as their ability to wield and control magical elements using runic symbols, which is pretty cool. To make things a bit more interesting, she adds a category of Ashas called Dark Asha or Bone Witches because their power comes from the dark and they have control over death and their primary magical job is to resurrect and kill the various daevas before these daevas could wreak havoc on the towns and kill a lot of innocent people.
The entire book chronicles the slow journey of Tea from ordinary village girl to Dark Asha with very detailed description on clothing which for some reason, I still could not imagine how they were worn as there were a lot of wraps and layers, not to mention the hundreds of bejeweled hair pins an Asha wears on a daily basis. Based on the description, it didn't sound anything like the kimonos as described by Arthur Golden in Memoirs of a Geisha but then again, I could be wrong as it has been such a long time since I read that book.
Overall, I think fans of Memoirs of a Geisha who also appreciate magical fantasy will enjoy this book and by the end of it, I'm beginning to understand the workings of Tea's mind and therefore, I can't wait to read what happens in book 2.
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