Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

30095464The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: March 7th 2017

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy 

Pages: 400 pages

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★★

*HUGE thanks to Sourcebooks Fire, Netgalley, & Rin Chupeco for the eGalley of The Bone Witch



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.


The Bone Witch is a beautifully dark woven tale filled with dark magic, runes, tradition, sisterhood, greed, loss, and betrayal. We meet our protagonist, young Tea who has just been discovered as a Necromancer. In the very first pages she raises a familiar back from the dead & is cast as a Bone Witch. Feared but very much needed by her kingdom to keep them safe & away from the Daeva (aka beasts), Bone Witches are still few and far between. Tea is mentored by one of the most powerful Bone Witches in the land far away from her family. We follow Tea as she studies to become an Asha by taking lessons in the arts, history, physical combat, meditation, etc. which gave me Geisha vibes all the way. Tea starts off as a novice in a Asha-Ka where she must earn for the house she lives in & climb her way up to being a well respected & highly sought out Asha. Her training is rigorous & through a network of sisters she is taught the art of entertaining very important nobles, politicians, and royals. Tea however, won’t be your average Asha since as a Bone Witch, her calling is the Dark. Bone Witches are the only asha that can kill Daeva whenever they resurrect & the time spans for resurrection are different for all Daeva. Tea sees the task that Bone Witches take on for what it truly is…a sacrifice. For every Daeva that is slaughtered, the Bone Witch is physically & mentally drained. Their lives are spent hunting & killing Daeva for a kingdom that sees them as lepers because they are able to raise the dead.

Photo credit@MoonRaven NightShadow

characters-banner The main protagonist Tea is a Bone Witch who is discovering just how powerful she is among the few Bone Witches that are left. She is young and has to depend on her new found Sisters to show her the ropes & teach her how to control her power. I loved that Tea was hungry to learn everything she possibly could to further her ascension in the ranks. I’ve grown accustomed to meeting female protagonists in YA Fantasy that tend to only be about self or having these GY-NORMOUS (totally made this word up lol) egos…Tea is none of that. She is humble enough to remember the kitchen staff as she grows in rank, seeing her sneak them food because she remembered what it was like to go without, spoke to her character. I ABSOLUTELY love that Tea is a POC (person of color) because they are so rare in Fantasy (YA or Adult) & like many of my fellow blogger buddies have mentioned, if you can create a whole host of supernatural beings then it can’t be that far fetched to include POC’s in Fantasy. Tea is mentored by Lady Mykaela who is known as the best of the best & was the person to personally seek a young Tea out when she sensed her powers at work. Lady Mykaella’s story is also told in bits & pieces, we get a sense that she’s suffered heartbreak & carries a heavy burden. I enjoyed seeing this female bond play out positively on the pages. We also get introduced to some of the asha who play supporting characters & those who work within the village selling all of the things an asha needs from head to toe (clothing, hair, magical potions woven into clothing). Of these my faves were Polaire who also serves as a Sister to Tea & made me giggle with her brash no hair on the tounge comments, Rahim who custom designed all of the asha’s Hua’s always brought color to the page, Likh who worked in the special hair trinket store is a boy who wanted nothing more than to become an asha & dance all of the traditional dances. I loved that Likh felt comfortable enough in his own skin to go for what he wanted & stay true to himself. With an array of characters of all ranges, The Bone Witch gave me a new set of characters to love & worry about haha!


Ok, so here’s where it gets a bit tricky! I am a lover of lush worlds and if done right, I don’t mind the slower pace or the attention to detail. That being said, I did feel that plot was sacrificed a bit in place of characters & world building. It isn’t until the very end that we come full circle with what led to Tea being in her current situation (no spoilers). I didn’t mind the slow pace at all because I truly can get lost in a world & lose track of time as a whole when the writing is as good as it is in The Bone Witch. I also feel that The Bone Witch makes for a great Adult Fantasy even if it is YA Fantasy. I say this because of the complex magic system, AMAZING world building, and fleshed out characters that suck you in. This isn’t a book you’ll read in one sitting, I actually gave it my Junior’s Strawberry Cheesecake treatment…that is I savored it for as long as possible. Each & every time I picked it up, I sunk into the nearest recliner and shut myself down to the real world. This is very descriptive writing & if you enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha, then this is a must have! as a person who enjoys reading about other cultures, I enjoyed the Asian influences in this Fantasy setting. The story alternates between past & present. In between the chapters we are given brief accounts of Tea’s past in pages that are italicized, however they are being recounted in the present. Tea decided to call on an Asha whose specialty is that of a historian, to chronicle her side of the story. It is within the pages that are italicized, in between the chapters that we get Bard’s POV as he chronicles Tea’s stories. Being that this is book 1 in a series & since the author has hooked me in with her writing style, I know I will definitely  be picking up the next installment. I also feel that we will see the action we wanted to see in this 1st book, in the next one. Tea’s story is far from over, I am super curious as to what she has planned up her hua’s sleeves cuz THAT ending!!! smh I need more 🙂

My Bookish Peeps, those of you that have read The Bone Witch please drop your thoughts or links to your reviews down below. I’m curious to see how it fared with you all & do you plan on continuing with this series? If so….are you team Kance or Kalen? BAHA! I kid I kid! 😉

Author: LairOfBooks

"I didn't choose the Book Life, the Book Life chose me"

31 thoughts on “Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco”

    1. I just left you a lengthy comment under your review (sorry) lol! your review seriously hit the nail on the head & you got a lot of what I felt but left out. I enjoyed this world & its characters but teh pacing seriously could’ve moved up a bit. Not many have had the patience we did, luckily I don’t mind detailed writing. I’m confident in the next installment, hoping to get some of my questions answered as well 😉


  1. I haven’t read The Bone Witch yet, but it’s on my TBR! I’ve heard mixed reviews– mostly due to pacing concerns. Perhaps that’s where the plot gets lost?
    Also, is this a standalone novel? My brain says fantasy is always a series (which it isn’t), but I can’t find any information elsewhere that it’s a series… I’m so bad at the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is most definitely the 1st book in a high fantasy YA series & the pacing sacrificed the plot for sure, can’t lie about that. That being said, the writing is beyond what I expected & the lush details suited my reading taste perfectly. However, I know this book won’t be for the person looking for a fast paced book 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Ok, so here’s where it gets a bit tricky! I am a lover of lush worlds and if done right, I don’t mind the slower pace or the attention to detail. That being said, I did feel that plot was sacrificed a bit in place of characters & world building. It isn’t until the very end that we come full circle with what led to Tea being in her current situation (no spoilers).” < — Nailed it for sure. I struggled with this aspect. I read fantasy so I am all about world building.. but the plot was too muddled in the midst of it for me 😦 I thought her writing was beautiful at times and the concept absolutely brilliant. But I was reading too much about garments, etc. I wanted more story. Maybe book two will provide that as this appears to have been more of an opening. But I have to admit, I was disappointed.

    I did however love you review! You dove into this and tackled it so much better that I ever could. You have me rethinking things. Excellent ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. she def did spend way too much time on garment talk. Typically I enjoy these types of details but it got to be a bit of over kill. I honestly stuck with it because it made me think of one of my fave books (Memoirs of a Geisha) but the Fantasy version lol & I’m glad that I did. I want more action @ times & more answers but I’m hoping they get answered in the next book *fingers crossed* Thank you Danielle! *hugs* i’m glad you’re re-thinking if only to motivate you to give its sequel a shot 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been seeing the cover for this around a lot lately but yours is probably the first review I’ve read and I’m officially adding The Bone Witch to my TBR. I love the sound of this book! And funny you should say that if we were a fan of Memoirs of a Geisha then this is a must have because I was so getting Memoirs of a Geisha feels while reading your review before I read that part 😂. It sucks that the plot wasn’t as strong as it could have been but I’m glad you ended up enjoying it either. Great review as always, Lilly!! 😊💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Melissa!😆💕ugh! I loved Memoirs of a Geisha the book & movie! I was obsessed with it for so long & this book really gave me those vibes, and is probably why I stuck with it til the very end. I enjoyed the hell outta this book but I know it won’t be for everyone, especially those who are looking for a fast paced read 🤷🏻‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!! 💕
        Same. I never got around to reading the book (which I actually bought a copy of recently) but I loved the movie so much. I think I watched it on repeat at one point 😂. But the fact that it gave you Memoirs of a Geisha vibes, I am so going to have to read it just for that lol. That’s good to know about the pacing because I’ll definitely save it for when I’m in the mood for something slower. Ever since TSR I have little patience with slow books. 🙈


  4. I’m glad you enjoyed this because I’ve heard some mixed reviews! I’m really interested to read this to see what I think. The premise sounds super interesting. It’s a shame there were some issues, but I’m glad it was still a good read regardless. Lovely review, Lilly! And that photo you used is my aesthetic 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lauren! Without a doubt, the writing was above what I’d expect from a debut author. There were pacing issues but it was my type of book as a whole so I enjoyed it. I can totally see it being your aesthetic though 🙌🏼🖤🙌🏼🖤🙌🏼🖤


  5. Fab review Lilly! Obviously the cover of this one caught me eye, but I haven’t come across many reviews yet. I’m happy to hear you say that this could be considered Adult Fantasy since it is so complex. So a Fantasy version of Memoirs of a Geisha huh? Interesting…. BUT I have to ask since you wrote “team Kance or Kalen?”, that was some type of joke and there isn’t a love triangle right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda! The cover is stunning! It really would fare better in the adult fantasy genre. YA fantasy for the most part aren’t really into complex magic systems, intricate world building, many characters, and details. It’s like a pre-cursor to Adult Fantasy when you pick up YA Fantasy. & yes! A Fantasy version of Memoirs of a Geisha is exactly what I’d call this lol. This book doesn’t have a triangle but there may or may not be in the next. TBH, that’s part of the mystery you are left with. I’m still not sure what happened but it was enough to hook me for the next one 😂


  6. Unfortunately I really disliked this book. I was bored a lot and skimmed the pages. I felt like there were so many great components that just didn’t get utilized properly.

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one though 🙂 I feel like people either severely disliked or really liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha, I can see why Lauren. It is def one of those books where people are either gonna hate it or love it. I’m just exxxxxtremely patient when I’m reading but even I agree that the pacing was super slow & the plot the slowest to develop. Thank you Lauren 😉


  7. Ahhh I’ve been meaning to read this one, so I’m glad to hear that you liked it! The premise sounds interesting, and I really like the sound of the magic. It’s sad to hear that the plot was sacrificed in place of the characters and the world-building, but at least you overall liked it enough to give it four stars. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Reg! it’s a very slow paced read with plenty of descriptive writing but its also very beautiful & lush. i’d say this would probably sit well with Bookworms who also enjoy reading Adult Fantasy cuz honestly it’s a bit of a complex world/magic system. In other words, it isn’t your fast paced fantasy we are accustomed to seeing in YA. I’d still recommend it though to those willing to stick with it til the very end cuz the story telling is worth it 😉


      1. I love how you described it, so I hope I’ll enjoy it! I do love more complex magic systems, just as long as they’re consistent and unique, something we haven’t seen a lot of. It always amazes me what people can come up with. 😛


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: