It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a paranormal vampire book and an even longer time since I read anything with Polyamory. In part that’s because I often was left feeling like it wasn’t done well. Rin Chupeco however has brought back broody (some more playful) sexy vampires but also made it queer and Poly in the most satisfying of reads. Our MC Remy is a rogue Vampire Hunter who is an outcast among fellow Reapers. Remmy’s mother was the source of scandal for their family having eloped with a vampire. Many think Remy is a half vampire and his own father has used that to shape him to be a lethal weapon. There is a peace treaty between humans and vampires that is tenuous at best. When a new breed of vampires starts killing, he sets out to find answers and meets vampire heiress Xiaodan Song. She is warm and caring, all of the things he’s been taught vampires are not. Her fiance Lord Zidan Malekh has studied the new mutation and may have the answers to defeat them. That he infuriates the hell out of Remy and adds sexual tension just sweetens the journey. I loved this trio so much!
Silver Under Nightfall is so different than The Bone Witch trilogy and I still LOVED it so much! I’ve never watch Castlevania but I’ve heard this marketed for fans of that video game/show. It reads adult and has many gruesome battle scenes that are balanced out with many tender moments and good humor sprinkled throughout. In many ways it feels like even though Remy is tasked with killing vampires, he is still this sweet cinnamon roll everyone wants to protect. When paired with two powerful royal vampires, it does seem like he needs their protection but make no mistake he has also lived a hard life and can hold his own. The relationship between him and his father is toxic as hell, there’s talk of his father having him use his body when he was 13 years old to acquire info from the wealthy women in the aristocracy. Both Malekh and Xiaodan make sure he knows he’s worthy of love without having to give anything in exchange. Redefining intimacy and consent are huge themes in this book. All of our characters check in with one another and genuinely care about each others needs and wants. For those inquiring minds, the spice meter was broken with this one and I was here for it all! I should’ve known I was going to love Rin Chupeco’s adult Paranormal, I’m now left eagerly anticipating the next book in this duology.
I read The Heart Forger, sequel to The Bone Witch around the time of its release and have yet to find any single book or trilogy to top it in my favorites. Buddy reading this one with Melanie from Meltotheany who loves Rin Chupeco’s world building and characters as much as I did only further enhanced the whole experience. There are but a few authors I can count on one hand who can transport you with their writing the minute you start a new chapter. The Bone Witch books are so much more than a story about Necromancy and a demon slayer. With so many layers and complex well fleshed characters, it’s a story about the bonds that keep us close to those we love most. Once again I found myself riveted and absorbed into Tea’s world not wanting the story to ever end. This Asian inspired Fantasy has introduced me to one of my favorite authors of all time & for that I am very thankful! 💜
The events of The Bone Witch changed Tea and she voluntarily went into exile last we saw her. The Heart Forger picks up with Tea in exile waiting for the day when all would descend upon her. Bard the Chronicler is back with Tea documenting all of her life, both the good & the bad. Although things have already come to pass when we start the book, Chupeco worked her way back to the events leading up to where they are now. Too much can be considered spoilery & so I will stick to what I loved most about this sequel. Once again, the characters proved to be one of my favorite parts of this trilogy. Tea is definitely in a dark place but I won’t deny LOVING her I don’t give a hmm attitude! she’s come to be this powerful necromancer who can defeat Daeva aka demon creatures or control them. She chooses to control some and seeing her empathy with these creatures makes her more human where most of the time she’s viewed as cold and overly ambitious. Tea is still bonded to her brother Fox who passed away (given fact at the very beginning of The Bone Witch) and nothing makes me more happier than seeing the relationship between these two. Theirs is an unusual relationship given Fox is deceased and their bond allows them to be in each others head space. Yet Chupeco chose to maintain the same issues all siblings deal with which made for an authentic read. I enjoyed the moments where they practiced their fighting skills together & when they shoved each other out of one another’s mind in order to experience the more private sentiments alone.
With such a fantastic cast of main & side characters, It’s hard to choose a favorite! I did enjoy seeing Likh back in this world and standing up for what they believe in. Likh’s heartless is silver which means they’re fully intended to go study with the soldiers. However, Likh is a lover of all things fashion and design, life as a soldier is not something they can quite imagine a life in. It was AMAZING to see this character receive so much support by everyone. My heart legit felt full, the outpouring of love and support they received was one of the BEST scenes in this book. We also get to see Prince Kance on a different path where he’s taking his royal responsibilities very seriously & perhaps realizing that Tea may not have a place in his future. Prince Kalen is back in the tinker room making Heartglass and setting up to be the next great one in his field. Prince Kalen, *giggle* yea…this guy was an unexpected surprise considering how much time he spends trying to protect Prince Kance from the dangers that come with being by Tea’s side. Hate to love relationships are one of my top fave tropes! and I say this with no shame! the relationship in this book was a slow burn but when it takes off, it soars! so many swoon worthy moments 💓 but if I had to pick a favorite, Tea remains my #1 💜 I love this character to the moon & back simply because she’s unapologetically herself.
Last year when I read The Bone Witch (see review here) I was BLOWN AWAY by Chupeco’s writing! Beautiful lush descriptions of a world that gave me Memoirs of a Geisha vibes with a Fantasy twist. I wasn’t expecting to get one of the BEST sibling relationships in all of YA, gender role positivity, actual dark necromancy, special bonds with animals & demons, and a steamy romance as the cherry on my sundae 💜 yet that is exactly what I got and so much more! If per chance you happened to have read The Bone Witch and felt that possibly it was a bit slow paced, worry not! The Heart Forger is a real page turner where the author stays true to their writing style while adding on awesome action sequences and vivid imagery. Chupeco actually gave us scenes where her necromancy was in over drive and Tea sees herself putting back together the bones of the dead! also, she’s learning some pretty neat runes and testing them out on herself & her brother was fun to watch. The character development is also worth mentioning, whether it be purposefully or not, Tea is much darker and willing to take risks and go the extra mile for those she loves. I’ll be honest, I’m a little worried about the consequences of how far she stretches the limits. Nonetheless, I am really looking forward to the final installment in this trilogy and also super curious about how it will end and whether Tea will get what she’s after…
Hello Bookworms! Hope you’re all having a FAB Friday! 💜 have any of you read The Bone Witch and/or The Heart Forger? if so, comment down below with your fave character/aspect of these books 💓
*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.
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! 😉