Author: Rin Chupeco
Series: The Bone Witch
Release Date: March 3, 2017
When Tea accidentally raises her brother from the dead, she discovers that she is a dark asha or bone witch. She soon leaves her home- undead brother in tow- to train in her new role. The rarity of dark asha means that Tea's special skills will be in high demand- and as one part of her new role is making sure corpses of ancient monsters stay dead, will also be entirely vital- especially with unrest and possible war on the horizon.
Review at a Glance: Despite an interesting concept, there were parts of this story that made if falter for me.
Review: Okay, so this review is kind of late for the usual reasons (school, I am the worst, school, and also, school), but also because it took me a little longer to finish this book than I was expecting. I struggled a bit to get into this one- I kept finding myself wandering off and picking up other things.
The most challenging part of this book for me was the missing feeling of movement. The way the story is told makes if somewhat passive, which ended up reducing my engagement. There wasn't really a flow that pulled me along, and the characters weren't quite strong enough to make up for a lack of action and flow like that. I did like how it flipped back and forth -from an exiled Tea telling the story in the present of the story, to the past, where Tea is learning to be a dark asha- an unusual type of asha whose powers include necromancy. While the past makes up the majority of the novel, I found the bits in the present far more compelling. While some parts were layered together quite well, so reveals weren't timed optimally, and the plot set in the past didn't have enough in terms of set up for the reveal of the person behind it.
The magic system was interesting, even if it was one I didn't fully understand, as was the role that the asha played in society. They're entertainers, healers, scholars, and warrior, and it was really interesting to see how they occupied these spheres.
Another thing that made this book a little challenging for me to read was that it didn't really have a strong sense of place. While it is clearly not set in modern times, the amount of modern slang jolted me out of the moment somewhat. I never entirely felt like I could really feel or picture the setting entirely. Likewise, a lot the character relationship didn't quite feel true, though there were a lot of interesting characters, which contributed to an overall feeling that this novel was a set up for a story to come than a strong story independently.
Overall, this book had a strong concept, and there were definitely some aspects-like the role of the asha in society- that really interested me, but it the execution wasn't strong enough to really pull me into the world or story.