REVIEW: The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch
by Rin Chupeco

Pages: 400
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
ISBN: 1492635820
Received From:  Sourcebooks Fire 


When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother 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.
Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!


This is probably one of the trickiest reviews I have had to write in a while because I'm stick between my head and my heart when it comes to my opinion. The balance between the writing style and the story. There is a list as long as my arm of things I loved about The Bone Witch but that can be said for the things that frustrated me. So I've decided to set this review up a little differently to normal, it will have the same stuff as always, but I think the best way to get across how I felt reading The Bone Witch is with a good old pros and cons. 

However, first things first the story! The Bone Witch follows Tea as she discovers she has the power of necromancy which is the rarest of form of magic and it makes her potentially a very powerful Asha. Asha's are like witches, they have magic to them and through years of apprenticeships they learn to hone their crafts. Tea and her newly resurrected brother Fox are taken from their quite lives and moved to the Willows to start Teas training. She has power inside her the Asha have not seen in a long time but can she use it to protect the ones she cares about? 

The Characters

Pros - I loved Tea and Fox's relationship. The Dark Asha and her familiar... serious feels!! Tea on her own however took a little time to grew on me but it was the moment she wanted to help her male friend become and Asha that won me over. I'm a big fan of any female (fictional or not) that can't understand what is wrong with a boy wearing a dress! He looked fabulous and I really started to admire her from then on. The majority of the characters made me laugh, they were believable and that definitely helped enhance the story. 

Cons - I only really have one when it comes to the characters and that is Tea starts the book as a 12 year old and I really struggled with that. By the end she is still only 15 and as a slightly older reader - e.g. no longer a teenager - it was hard to connect with her at times. 

The Story

Pros - The fundamentals of the story were really interesting. A young girl desperately claws at the ground and lost in her grief does the unimaginable. She brings her dead brother back to life and in hand sets herself on a path no one could have imagined. The use of runes to cast spells gave me shadowhunter vibes that I LOVED but instead of using their skin the marks dance threw the air and on the ground in a unique and exciting manner. I also want to quickly mention the heartglasses, they are a beautiful idea where the author took the notion of wearing your heart on your sleeve and made it her own. I'm not sure how I would feel with my heart on display for the whole world to see but it made for a lovely addition to the story. It was able to keep my interested from start to finish and I DO want to know what happens next (no matter what I say next). 

Cons - The story is told from two different time frames, one where Tea is an Asha Apprentice and the other is when she is 17. Now to begin with I wasn't sure I liked the split time frame because we didn't know Tea well enough to really care about what she was doing 5 years from now. However, that passed by the second third of the book and I quite looked forward to seeing what was happening at the end of each chapter. BUT at the end of the book Tea is still only about 15 so there was no real conclusion to why she is the way she is now. I understand that it is being left open for book 2 but I think I would have preferred if time had caught up with itself and we were going into the second book with all the information. As it is, yes I want to read book 2 but I'm left slightly dishearten by the end of The Bone Witch. As if it was working up to something that never happened. 

The Writing

Pros - Whatever I say in the cons part below I want to point out that the actual writing style is effortless!! It is easy to read and the story flows without problem.
I once heard an Irish actor (Jonathan Rhys Meyers I think but don't hold me to that) say something along the lines of, Irish people will use 10 words when you only really need to use 3. Which is what came to mind when I was reading this book. But even with all the extra parts it didn't actually take away from the natural flow of the book. 

Cons - The book could easily have been 300 hundred pages rather than 400 if we had simply cut out all the unnecessary descriptions. I really do understand painting a picture but this was like painting the picture, the frame, the wall and the dog! Trust that the reader has enough imagination to read between the lines! It is a common issue I've had with books recently that the author feels the need to point out every little thing that is going on and it can be frustrating. Sometimes I can overlook it because the books not all that good BUT The Bone Witch is a good book!!! Its got everything it needs to be amazing which is why this particularly frustrated me. 

Overall I've giving this book 3 out of 5 because it has everything i'd expect and more. The issues I have with it are more irritations than flaws as they distract from the story but they don't make it bad. I'm a strong believer that a good story can out weight a lot of things and I did enjoy The Bone Witch. I just feel personally that it could have used a little more refinement but overall I would recommend it! 


  1. I really loved Rin's debut novel, the Girl From the Well- it was amazing. I fell in love with her writing style there. I am super curious about this one, but a little nervous at the same time. I really appreciated your take on this review- the pros and con's- great job.

    1. I never read her first book but heard good things. It's not that this isn't a good book it's just a bit wordy I think. The concept is really exciting I just wasn't sold on the writing style. Maybe book two will tie together all the loose ends and help? Still definitely worth a read though :)