Brown Dog Book Review: The Bone Witch

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

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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(To see the Brown Dog Book Review rating scale, check out the BDBR homepage –> here.) BDBR 4 Star

“…the girl and the monster on a beach of ash and silt, while waves crashed against the shore and sent up sprays of seawater and salt.”

Look, I’m not going to pretend The Bone Witch wasn’t one of the most beautiful YA fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. It’s also easily one of my favorites for the first half of 2019.

The plot itself might’ve left a little to be desired (I’ll get into that later) but the writing itself? STUNNING. Absolutely stunning. Therefore, I’ll recommend this, favoring a few factors:

  1. For prose addicts.
    • If you love heavy prose with your fantasy, then Chupeco is for you. She writes with a lush touch, if you know what I mean. Positively lyrical.
    • Lilting dialogue that still felt natural. The way she depicted each person speaking with another, while adding in background noise, was flawless.
  2. For someone who enjoys siblings as MCs.
    • Tea’s brother plays a big role in this one and, for me, that was a plus because romance wasn’t the main focus. The love between these two characters was done super well.
  3. For someone who likes a sense of “traditional” magic.
    • Chupeco’s magic system was rooted in tradition (trust me, Tea manages to flunk that system) – but has a historical explanation/background. I love a fully developed magical system.

There’s a breath of a romantic plot-line with its own twist at the end – however, I didn’t feel like the romance dominated the story. So, if you’re big into the romance factor, this one probably won’t tickle your fancy. (Note: There’s promise of more romance in the following installments. We shall see.)

There were so many small elements I enjoyed including: all the different colors of a person’s heartglass (linked to emotions and magical properties), the descriptions aplenty of each spellbinder’s hua collection (even though I tend to not enjoy clothing depictions), the “evil” creatures biological makeup, and the well-handed touches of feminist ideology.

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On the opposite end of the spectrum – I’ve read where other reviewers found The Bone Witch tedious and/or boring. And, I’ll give it that, it is dense. However, the only issue I personally found, was the rushed ending. Chupeco basically dive-bombs the reader into the second installment and throws out a spoiler concerning Fox that I found in poor taste. **Sad face.**

(Not that I’m complaining because I’m finishing the series, no doubt.)


Overall, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Even throughout the hefty body, there were so many moments of beauty – that I couldn’t stop reading once I started.

Have you read The Bone Witch or continuing series? What were your thoughts?

-B

2 Comments on “Brown Dog Book Review: The Bone Witch

    • I feel like this is a mixed bag – either people love it or hate it. I LOVED it! The history, the culture, everything.

      Like

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