The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The first book on my Halloween TBR!

Themes: high fantasy, YA, witches

The synopsis

Tea discovers she is a Bone Witch when she resurrects her brother, Fox. Different from the other witches of her family, rejected by her village, Tea is sent in another land to learn masterising her new powers under the guidance of an older Bone Witch. While she’s training to become an asha, a witch capable of using elemental magic, Tea realises that peace is fragile and will have to make a choice in the role she wants to assume in the coming war.

The review

This book has been on my TBR for a few months now but I was keeping it for Halloween (witch, bones… I think you see why). And I loved it!

The book opens like a fairytale and we follow a poet meeting an asha who is in exile. We soon learn that this asha is none other than Tea herself and that she’s the one who will tell us her story. I really liked this narration alternating between the past and present which triggered my curiosity. Now, I just want to read the next two volumes to understand the evolution of our heroine.

Another aspect that hooked me up was the high fantasy vibes I was getting from this book. The worldbuilding and the magic system are so complex that I understand why the author needs a full trilogy to develop her story. Even more when you realise that the first book follow Tea from when she is a child (she’s 10 or 11 years old when the book begins if I’m not wrong) and during the first 2-3 years of her apprenticeship as an asha. So, there’s a gap of 5 years between the Tea of the present and the one we’ll fully meet in a next book. To be honest, the world and magic system were so detailed and taken from so many different cultures and countries that I was sometimes a bit lost. It was particularly true when I encountered some mythological beings from folklores I’m not familiar with since there was no real explanation. But I really liked the description of the all process to become an asha which is clearly drawn from the one for geishas.

Concerning the characters, for once I loved every one of them. They’re really fleshed out with the discovery of their stories pacing the entire book which would otherwise lack action. My favourites were Polaire and Mistress Parmina because of their strong personnalities and their cunning side. The author takes her time to build the relationships too and so they seem even more real. Once again, this book is quite complex and some characters are completely forgotten by the time they appear again in the book, needing a bit of memory work on the reader’s side.

In brief: A very, very good book, so complex that I was surprised to see it was categorised as YA on Goodreads. Even if I was a bit lost among all the names, characters, foods etc… it wasn’t enough to spoil my enjoyement.

My rating: 4/5

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