The Bone Witch – 3 Star Review

“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. “

-Rin Chupeco, The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch is a YA fantasy novel that follows our main character, Tea (pronounced “Tey-uh”, but let me be transparent for a quick second: I called her Tea) who embarks on a journey to become an “asha,” We learn that witchery runs in Tea’s family and she has older sisters who are witches of “respectable power”. Tea soon learns what type of power she contains, and that is raising the dead. Tea is now a “Dark Asha” or a bone witch. Bone witches are heavily looked down upon and treated poorly by the majority of the Eight Kingdoms, which is ironic because they are the only ones that can truly best what plagues this world. Patchwork monstrosities called “daeva” periodically wreak havoc and destruction upon citizens, and dark ashas are the ones for the job. You’d think that would make them heroines, right? There are some political background explanations for all of that, to which I will not get into in this review. Not overly important, just know that for the majority, bone witches are seen as untrustworthy.

Tea goes to a place called the Willows to learn the ways of the asha, and this is where the majority book takes place and where my “negative” portion of the review kicks in. The culture surrounding asha and their training almost mirrors the training and customs of Geishas, which I learned all about in “Memoirs of a Geisha”. I loved that book, by the way. The similarities were just a bit too much for me, it was off-putting. The style of dress and hair accessories, the house structure, the makeup, classes, and entertaining of well-established men of the society in tea houses felt unoriginal. There is great detail about all of these events and little in the way of action or excitement. We, as the readers, are given snippets that something “big” is about to happen, but ultimately this book is almost the building block to that event, and we are left without resolve.

However, the writing of The Bone Witch flowed very nicely, and kept me interested, although not excited. Tea is a strong-minded young woman, which goes a long way with me personally. I really can’t stand the whiny, scared protagonists that sometimes pop up in YA novels, and Tea isn’t one. The Bone Witch is currently rated a 3.71 on Goodreads and the subsequent novels are rated considerably higher. I try to not let reviews sway me in terms of picking what I choose to read, but this actually helped me make my decision to continue the series. The people that rated those also chose to continue and felt that the series was progressively better and better, so that piques my interest. It is an interesting world with a good foundation, it just needed more action and I think the action lies within the next two books.

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