I did not finish “The Bone Witch” by Ron Chupeco. It would be a great fantasy read for those who thoroughly enjoy descriptive world building. However, I need more character agency to connect.
Here’s my thoughts while reading:
The prologue is about a bard who witness a young girl (asha or bone witch) kill a ‘daeva’ which seems equivalent of a dragon. He wants to learn her story and tell her tale across the land. It’s an intriguing opening.
There were some new world building vocabulary I wasn’t familiar with so hopefully the fantastical part is revealed in a good pace.
Tea seems to have powers of necromancy during her flashback as a child in the first chapter. I’m first person narrative she’s giving us a description of her family and past and how she first felt her magic.
Then it goes back to the bards point of view. I hope all his portions aren’t in italics like the first two because that’s going to hurt my eyes.
I’m a little confused by what the heartsrune is and the heartsglass. Otherwise, things are quite interesting. As a 12 year old, Tea accidentally rose her older brother, Fox, from the dead. An elder bone witch known from legends comes to tell her the rules of their kind and offer to teach her at the kingdom.
On page 28 the term asha is finally explained. I wish it was earlier. So far the story is showing me her past, how she learned about magic and the new situation she found herself in as a powerful 12 year old. I’m hoping the present day is more relevant soon and she has a goal or objective to achieve. Otherwise this is just a “storytelling” of someone once upon a time instead of the reader experiencing the journey.
I’m curious as who the grave is that current day Tea lays next to. I want her conversations with the bard to be longer.
So if Fox is already dead then why does he have to be careful with anything he does. And the asha said that all the daeva are born dead. That’s stretching my imagination. How can it be born dead? Then it’s not alive.
On page 41 I’m still bored. I’m still being taught the magical system and the difference between the cities and how the world works. There’s no forward progression. The characters have no agency. Tea doesn’t want anything in either time line as a 12 year old apprentice or when she’s older and talking to the bard. She’s just telling a story but there’s no power behind it. Yes the magic system and creatures are intriguing. But that’s not enough to hold a plot.
Page 44 has an entire page devoted to what clothing looks like. And the next page is arguing about where to sleep and how it’s bad luck to offer a witch a place to sleep. Like… why does it matter? What is the point of her story? What does she want? Make me care.
I stopped at page 50 y’all. I’m sorry. I wont be reading the rest of the series even though I was very much looking forward to it. Here is the blurb if you’re interested:
Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, 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.
Riveting and atmospheric, The Bone Witch is perfect for readers looking for dark fantasy YA books and original worldbuilding.