Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
3 OUT OF 5 STARS
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Tea never meant to bring her brother back from the dead, but she did. Tea possesses a rare talent for dark magic – she’s a bone witch. She’s quickly taken from her home with her newly risen brother and carted off for training. While learning to be an asha Tea must learn to control her massive powers – and make some difficult decisions.
Chupeco sets up a powerful narrative style, linking the present and the past through storytelling. This could have been extremely useful for world building but it never quite meets its potential as a narrative device.It’s also quite confusing that the story being told doesn’t end in a way that explains why the present is so vastly different.Tea’s age is also a little jarring, even before asha training she doesn’t quite feel like a teenage in thought or dialogue.
Our protagonist, Tea, has two distinct selves. The Tea we see in the present is strong, enchanting and vengeful. She has a lot to say and a grand story to tell. The Tea from the past is bland, has little dialogue and doesn’t feel as powerful and dark as the storyteller. This would be fine if she transformed through the story but they’re never really properly linked.
Chupeco has brilliant descriptive writing. The huas and hair ornaments are intricately detailed. The food makes my mouth water. The world is charming and real. Unfortunately, the actual building of the world is confusing. Even after finishing the novel I feel like I must have missed something. Chupeco has set up a massive world with a plethora of rules – but it never gets entirely explained. I’m left with more questions than answers and there’s still a lot of the plot that makes very little sense.
There is just too much going on for one book. Almost no plotline is giving a satisfactory ending – even when plenty of them could have been dealt with in one book. The ending is extremely confusing because when present Tea finishes her story there’s still no indication of how she ended up where she is now or why she decided to seek revenge.
There are plenty of good concepts and set pieces in The Bone Witch but none of them ever quite reach their full potential. That said, it could be the beginning of a promising series if future books delve more into this world and its rules.