Series: The Bone Witch #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 7th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.
Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracised in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.
Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.
“Tea,” the figure said.
But then it smiled, and it was Fox’s smile, quiet and kind.
The Bone Witch is slow to start. The worldbuilding is great, I love the world building and the descriptions are lovely. However, not a lot happens and it drags for a while in the middle before finally getting to the plot in the last ten to fifteen percent of the book.
There is so much world building; there’s so much information on the cities, and the beliefs, and what each form of dress means to each person’s role. But it’s so much filler. I found myself skimming a lot of the time where Tea was preparing to become an apprentice and then learning to become an asha. I loved Tea learning the realities of being asha and finding out what could and couldn’t be done with magic, but I preferred her learning it on the move with Mykaela rather than at House Valerian.
The characters were probably the best part, but even then there didn’t seem to be too much to them. Tea seems to pick up what she needs mostly through instinct, but it was nice to know that as she was learning time was passing—although at times it didn’t seem like it—and she wasn’t instantly proficient at everything. I liked her relationship with Fox, and I liked that despite both of them being close siblings they still hid things from each other and each tried to keep the other from harm.
This book has girl hate. There are quite a few female characters, but many of the ones Tea’s age are either mentioned in passing, rarely involved, or looked down on in some aspects. One of the rivalries seemingly gets resolved with no real interactions between the characters before the change; part of that could be excused as to how the asha system is set up with ‘sisters’, but I would have really liked to see the development within the book itself.
“When your heartsglass is black and steeped in the spells of the Dark,” the girl said, smiling, “you find that there is no need to wait five more years to raise daeva.”
I liked the parts between chapters where Tea was talking to the Bard, I liked seeing where she is now and where younger Tea is going to end up. Speaking of, I liked seeing potential hints as to how she ended up where she did within the numbered chapters. I can’t wait to see what paths she chooses and how things develop.
This book felt a lot like build up. There’s a potential plot. There’s a potential love triangle. There’s a potential change coming. I felt like this book needed more, but the second one in the series may explore everything further. I just wish this one had more plot than it did, as it really felt like it was mostly filler.