Necromancing the heart, or my review of The Bone Witch

the bone witch

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1)

By: Rin Chupeco

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: March 7th, 2017

Format: eARC


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 ostracized 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.

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4 star (griffin)

The Bone Witch is richly descriptive and incredibly original. While it may feel dense at times, I kept reading for the magic and the chance to explore this world further. Tea is a winning protagonist and her close relationship to her brother is not only ever present and touching, but it is responsible for kicking the book into gear.

This is an amazingly lush world, with runes and magical affinities that are used for everything from fighting off daevas to enchanting clothes to make the wearer appear confident when meek or well behaved when picking their nose. The array of this magic and its prevalence was refreshing, it didn’t make Tea stand out as much as a “special snowflake,” magic was fairly common, she just possessed a special kind. This magic isn’t without its enhancements though, and my favorite part, other than hearing about the dresses that each asha wore, was the part when Tea finally becomes an apprentice and goes shopping. The hua fitting was lovely, the combs made me wish I could see them, and the apothecary made me want to have a “fitting” there as well.

The book pulls on several dynamics outside of its main plot, among which are the analysis of feminine and masculine roles and the intricacies of love. Tea finds a friend in Likh, a boy with a silver heart, an indication that he will be funneled into the army, whose dream is to be an asha. The circumstance allowed for questioning a society where there is no overlap between masculine and feminine roles, at least when it comes to silver hearts, and what happens to these boys who wish to practice dancing and music. This brings us to the wider topic of the heartsglass in general and how original they are and how important they would become to the people who inhabit this world. From one’s heartglass, a necklace containing one’s essence, you can determine feelings from contentment to disgust to changes in health. When in love, you can exchange hearts with one another, literally putting your heart in another’s hands and putting your heart at great risk at the same time since it can be manipulated.

The Bone Witch is a great start to a new series, one that I hope will have just as strong a follow up. I can’t wait to see how Tea’s story unfolds, how the events she explains to the bard come to pass, and when this romance will really kick off.

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Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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