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.
In some ways, The Bone Witch was Very Different — but in other ways, it felt somewhat typical… but with a twist. First sentence into this review, and I hope I’m making it clear that I have conflicted feelings about this book! So, let me state up front: I definitely liked this book, but I didn’t love it.
The world building here is undoubtedly one of its best features. The magic system had some familiar aspects, but it also felt altogether different from any other. Societal norms, class, royalty — all of these were present and felt very true within their setting. It was easy to slide right into this book and follow Tea along her journey, because it all seemed natural. I loved the necromancy aspect of her magic. Though it was (obviously) shunned by the masses, I really enjoyed how comfortable she and her mentor were with death and dead beings!
The way the narrative was written, too, was a big perk for me. It starts out with someone interviewing Tea, so you read short sections from their perspective. And then the bulk of the story is what Tea is telling her interviewer. I LOVE this kind of storytelling mechanic, because you get little bits of foreshadowing. Plus, I like seeing what happened before, along with glimpses of what is happening Right Now. Definitely one of my favorite things about this book.
I suppose what has kept my rating closer to 3 stars here is just that much of the story felt like… almost… maintenance? If there had been more urgency or THINGS HAPPENING, maybe I wouldn’t have felt this way. But, as it is, I think for the first half especially, the parts I liked most were the ones set in the Now.
All in all, this was an interesting book, and I’m curious to see what comes in the sequel. It’s the kind of book I still want to recommend to basically everyone, because I think it’s one that you just have to experience for yourself.