Title: The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch # 1)
Series: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
My Own Summary: Tea might have accidentally brought her brother back from the dead… And that sets the wheels in motion. After her power is revealed, she’s taken into one of the most prestigious Asha-ka’s to train as a Bone Witch: the most rare of asha’s, of only a few still remain alive.
But years after, Tea’s been banished to a deserted place near the shore, and a daring bard asks her about her story. What happened during her time as an asha, and what is she plotting?
Amazing world-building and much cover love!
Heyyy beautiful bookworms, how’s it going? I finally, finally wrote my review for The Bone Witch by (fellow Filipina, ayyyy!) Rin Chupeco after stalling for so long, so here’s said review in all its probably not-so-very glorious glory! But first, let me preface my review with this: I read through the first half of the Bone Witch, skimmed through most of the second half, then read through the end again. I’ll mention why later, but I’m going to start off with the positives first.
What I really loved about the Bone Witch was the worldbuilding. You can really tell that Rin Chupeco thought a lot about her world, the kingdoms, the relationships and politics of the different asha’s towards people in various cities and towards the emperor, and so much more. I can vividly imagine the places and the kinds of people in each one, and every city Tea travels to is so distinct from the rest. I also like the mythology surrounding the Bone Witches and how they’ve been ostracized by most people because of their powers. I wish I could come up with such a detailed and complex world such as the one that Rin Chupeco created!
Also… LOOK AT THAT PRETTY COVER! This is actually one of the reasons I requested for it on Netgalley LOL, the cover is everything I need. I wish I had a physical copy of the book, I would take all the bookstagram photos with it.
NGUNIT SUBALIT DATAPWA’T PERO BUT…
For non-Filipinos out there, those are just several words for, well, “but”. It’s a phrase Filipinos jokingly say just before they say an opposing statement! But who cares, Chiqui.
ANYWAY, I’m going to say that this book is super slow-paced. While I appreciate the world-building, I was also so bored. Absolutely nothing happened for the longest time. Then again, I guess what was actually happening was something I had no interest in?
To be fair, the Goodreads novel summary says that there’s a Memoirs of a Geisha vibe to it, and it’s a bit unfair if I don’t mention that I did not like Memoirs of a Geisha at all. Tea undergoes a very similar training (as in the Geisha novel) to become an asha, complete with meeting and mingling with guests except with the addition of combat practice. One good thing to note though is that while Tea still gets the special snowflake treatment, at least she does not have blue eyes, unlike the lead of Memoirs of a Geisha LOL. Seriously, I really hate that Asian-girl-gets-Caucasian-trait-and-therefore-is-more-beautiful-than-the-rest trope. If you’re a Memoirs of a Geisha fan you might find the training and rituals that the asha go through very interesting!
Another problem I had was that I couldn’t connect to any of the characters except for Likh, the boy helping out with selling hairpins for asha and who wants to become asha himself. The problem? Only women can become asha. He’s probably the most interesting character for me and he barely appears in the book. I totally cheered him on when he performed, though! That was one of the highlights of the book for me.
So yeah, I did skip through most of the second part because I just felt the book dragged on too much, but it picked up in the last few chapters. There are some twists and turns and Bone Witch magic that made sticking to the book worth it in the end, enough for me to want to read the next book so I know what happens to Tea and the other characters!
In summary: slow for me, but might be interesting depending on the reader
Overall, it’s not a bad book, but depending on the reader it can either be an excellent adventure or a really boring one. I do still recommend picking it up because those last few chapters are so worth it. Definitely will recommend it for those who think a fantastical take on Memoirs of a Geisha is super cool.
You can read my review at Goodreads if you don’t mind spoilers.
My Rating: (3 / 5)
Disclaimer: I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read The Bone Witch, and what do you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!