Monday, December 16, 2019

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

Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller & Will Damron
Synopsis (via Goodreads): In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price. 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.

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I really struggled with the pacing of this book. The story was very, very slow, and the author was insanely descriptive. Rin Chupeco elaborated on everything, whether it was what they were wearing, eating, or the dance they were performing. The nuances were exquisitely written, although a slow pace is always my downfall with a book. I appreciate the beauty of The Bone Witch, and it's obvious the author is building something solid for their characters, but I prefer more fighting and adventure.

We watch Tea as she inadvertently raises her brother from the dead, and her journey to becomming an asha. It's not a easy life, and hers is made more challenging because of what she is. Some people fear what she can do, while others celebrate all that she will be able to accomplish. It's a hard line to walk, and her mentors really push her to be the best she can be. It's a lot of pressure for a child, and I'm surprised Tea didn't crack from the strain. There were people that cared about her, but it was done with very little sympathy or concern for what she wanted.

I really loved her relationship with her brother, and enjoyed watching them grow together and separately. Fox is a corpse, so of course that impacts the way he sees the world. He doesn't bleed or feel pain the way he used to, and his mind is always connected to Tea's. He's fiercely protective of his sister, both as her brother and her familiar, but he never tried to tell her what to do. He let Tea make her own choices, despite being the elder sibling, and he supported her decisions. Yes, they traded thoughts and ideas, but ultimately he let her decide what she wanted to do with her life.

The secondary characters were also extremely fleshed out and well-written. They all added to the story in subtle ways that occasionally had a larger impact later on. We don't know everything about them, but I felt like they were all an integral part of the story. From the shop owners to the Heart Forger, they all played a role in Tea's life and helped shape the person we see at the very end.

I liked the flashbacks, too. We see brief glimpses of Tea as she is now, without knowing how she found herself so isolated and alone. The story itself is told from the Bard's perspective, but he's telling the story to us as Tea tells it to him, so we still read it through Tea's experiences and with her voice. (I hope that wasn't confusing!)

The necromancy aspect was interesting, and I enjoyed learning about the various creatures that exist in their world. They seem monstrous and terrifying, but we also see that some of them just want to live peacefully and alone. There are also unknown Faceless out there, and they are altering the story in their own way. We learn a little about them and what they're capable of, but only vaguely. I'm sure they'll play a larger role in the following books.

I did give this book three stars, but again I understand what the author was trying to accomplish. I think this book is wonderfully written, and it tells a fantastic story, but the pacing really bogged down the reading experience for me. That's me. I hope it doesn't deter you too much, because I still plan on reading the next book in this series. The narrator was lovely and realistically portrayed the various characters. The ending does leave you on the edge of your seat, but doesn't feel like too much of a cliffhanger. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next!

18 comments:

  1. I love slow eloquent reads, so this book was a winner for me. I haven't read the others yet because even though I was on the promotion team for the second book I was denied on both Netgalley and Edelweiss for an ARC, so I had sour grapes. Ha ha. I think I am over it now. ๐Ÿ˜†

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    1. It was definitely slow and eloquent! I do better with books like this when I read a physical copy (even though the narrator was wonderful). I typically listen to audiobooks when I'm cleaning, so I want something more upbeat and intense! Bummer about being on the promo team and STILL being denied. That would upset me as well. Maybe now enough time as passed?? ;)

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  2. I'm not always a big fan of slow reads, so I'm not sure if I'll check this one out or not. I have been seeing it around a lot lately though! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. :)
    Krystianna @ Volumes and Voyages

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    1. I thought it would be a fun October read, but I was on hold at my library for ages! I'm happy I read this one, and I do plan on continuing the series, but it does have a very slow pace.

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  3. Ohhhhh, reading the synopsis, I thought I'd be very interested in this book, but I'm not a fan of the extreme details. I'm going to ponder whether or not to add this one to my TBR list or not. Great review Lindsi!

    Elle @ Keep on Reading

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    1. It is very, very detailed. The author goes on and on about their clothes, the accessories in their hair, the movements of their dances (and the stories they tell), and even simple interactions with people become long and drawn out. I think it could have been condensed a smidge, but I did appreciate how much work and creativity went into this story. It's elegant and beautiful, with a hint of danger and malice.

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  4. I've never tried this but .. it's probably not for me. Thanks for the review!

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    1. People have said the second book has more action, and that the first book was needed to set up the rest of the story. This makes me more inclined to want to read it, since I did enjoy the book, just not the pacing. We'll see how it goes!

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  5. I love a book with well written secondary characters too.

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    1. Yes! It makes the entire story feel more developed. :)

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  6. The premise is creative. I love that it features a brother-sister relationship and that the secondary characters are well-written (that's also a plus when I'm considering whether to read a book). I'd be interested in giving this book a try!

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    1. I wish we'd seen more of their interactions before he became a corpse, but I'm happy with what we do get a glimpse of. He was like a second father to her (much older), but still brotherly. Their relationship really developed over the course of this book.

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  7. Interesting! I don't know if I'm going to read this one, but the cover is amazing. Every time I see it I want it just for that alone!

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  8. the pacing is probably the reason I have not tried this yet ):

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    1. If you do decide to try this one, I would recommend a physical copy, because listening to the story only made it feel more sloth-like. The details were interesting, but there were A LOT of them.

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  9. You're right about the cover, Lindsi, it's beautiful. I don't mind slow burn storytelling although my first preference would always be fast paced action and adventure but I like the premise for this one so I'll add it to my watch list.
    Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Lindsi. X

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    1. It's a really good book! I enjoyed the narrator and the story, the characters were likable and interesting, and I think the author has created a very complex plot. I'm definitely going to read the next book in the series! <3

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless