The Bone Witch
The Bone Witch

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Series: The Bone Witch Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Tea's gift for death magic makes her a bone witch, feared and ostracized by her community. After an older bone witch trains her to wield elemental magic as well, Tea faces powerful choices as dark forces approach.
Catalog Number: #150140
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: xv, 425 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-492-65278-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-99523-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-492-65278-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-99523-9
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016016719
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Tea is a dark asha, a bone witch, capable of wielding death magic. It is a position both necessary and reviled by those around her, for every few years, monstrous daeva created by the False Prince rise and go on a murderous spree unless returned to death by a bone witch. Tea's story quietly unfurls through recollections told to a traveling bard, as the 17-year-old asha w an outcast epares to wage a war of her own making. The narrative is primarily devoted to world building, which Chupeco fashions through a richly imagined history and culture, reminiscent of traditional Asian cultures, revealed through Tea's asha training. Those craving action may not appreciate this book's subtle execution, but patient readers who enjoy immersing themselves in detail will revel in Chupeco's finely wrought tale. Game of Thrones fans may see shades of Daenerys Targaryen in Tea, as she gathers a daeva army to unleash upon the world. Whether she is in the right remains a question unanswered, but the ending makes it clear her story is only beginning.
Kirkus Reviews
Something of a high-fantasy Memoirs of a Geisha, Chupeco's latest excels in originality. The asha are known for performing, fighting, and magic; beautiful, brown-skinned Tea is taken from her provincial village to Kion to begin training as a dark (in magic) asha when she accidentally raises her dead brother. Chapters detailing young Tea's early training through her debut as an asha intercut with 17-year-old Tea on a lonely beach raising monsters and planning war, relating her past to a nameless bard. The level of detail is astounding, confusing, but nevertheless fascinating; politics both local (the brief backmatter is a bit of a guide) and magical (the origin tale of the Faceless and heartsglass, introduced in the prologue, finally appears at the three-quarter mark) permeate everything. Multiple characters, including a dead brother and a handsome prince, surround stubborn, headstrong Tea as she finds herself implicated in events she doesn't understand; the interstitial chapters make it clear that learning more will not make things better. These also slow the pace; they force an artificial sense of urgency in an otherwise slow, sensory journey and hijack the flow of Tea's adventures. Chupeco is a writer to watch who deserves props for the breadth of her story, but she doesn't entirely succeed here. A promising premise, a flawed execution, and a sense that the real story won't develop until Book 2: somehow both exhilarating and disappointing. (Fantasy. 13 & up)
Publishers Weekly
In this ambitious fantasy, the start of the Bone Witch series, a young woman with the ability to raise and control the dead becomes embroiled in a struggle for power and acceptance in a world that fears and distrusts her kind. Tea attempts to master her new status as a bone witch among those who possess less frightening and more tolerable magics, but she learns that the role she-s expected to play tends to kill bone witches before they grow old. As Tea-s story unfolds against a framing sequence that shows how far she-ll go to succeed, and how far she has already fallen from grace, a quiet tension and menace grows. Readers start off knowing that something terrible will happen, but the journey-as recounted in Tea-s evocative, sometimes distant, and sometimes flowery manner-is mesmerizing. Chupeco (The Suffering) does a magnificent job of balancing an intimate narrative perspective with sweeping worldbuilding, crafting her tale within a multicultural melting pot of influences as she presses toward a powerful cliffhanger. Ages 12-up. Agent: Rebecca Podos, Rees Literary. (Mar.)

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up&12; Chupeco craftily weaves magic, intrigue, and mystery into a captivating tale that will leave readers begging for the promised sequel. Being a witch, or an asha, is not out of the ordinary in Tea's world, but being a "bone witch" is another matter entirely. After Tea accidentally raises her brother from the dead, she discovers that she is destined to become one of the infamous Dark asha. Dreaded and feared yet highly valued for their services, the Dark asha are the only ones who can tame the demonic daeva, who threaten the kingdoms, but their taming comes at great expense. Tea must decide if the cost of losing her life, one battle at a time, is worth staving off the demonic onslaught. Or can she choose another path to save herself, her friends, and the boy she loves? Chapters alternating between her past and present seamlessly narrate the novel, leading up to Tea's mysterious exile. Because the plotlines have yet to converge in this installment, the book ends on the most excruciating of cliff-hangers. Chupeco uses vivid, descriptive detail, with nominal coarse language and violence, to set a rich tone that immerses readers in a vibrant and believable world. The short alternating chapters help move the story along quickly. VERDICT A strong choice for engaging reluctant readers and younger fans of fantasy who might not be ready to heft titles by Ursula K. LeGuin or Tamora Pierce.&12; Rose Garrett, Cliff Valley School, Atlanta
Voice of Youth Advocates
The expression, “to wear your heart on your sleeve” describes Tea’s world. When a person turns thirteen, an asha, or witch, enchants the heartsglass of the young person to interpret the colors. The colors of the heartglass determine fate, disposition, and illness. Normal heartsglass is rosy, but Tea’s heartsglass shines silver, the sign of a reviled bone witch who uses death magic. Tea is unlike her sisters who perform the respectable arts of herbal medicine. She is a spellbinder who draws power from darkness. Her ability manifests upon the death of her brother Fox when she accidentally resurrects him, forming a psychic bond between the siblings. Like geishas, asha are trained in the arts of courtly entertainment, but there is no suggestion of sexual liaisons. Best friend Likh, a boy who yearns to be an asha despite society’s insistence that males with silver heartglass become soldiers, will likely have greater presence in the sequel. This first title in a new fantasy series follows Tea’s story as she learns her trade and conquers her demons, told in alternating chapters between past and present. Chupeco, known for horror tales based on Japanese myth, strays from the fear-invoking ghosts of her debut, The Girl from the Well (Sourcebook Fire, 2014/VOYA August 2014), to weave an adventure with light romance that will appeal to fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas. Compared to her debut, this has an easier pace (lethargic at times), with much attention to apparel and customs, lacking the gore horror fans revel in. The Bone Witch broadens the author’s appeal to a younger and more conventional audience.—Rebecca Jung.
Word Count: 103,568
Reading Level: 6.5
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.5 / points: 17.0 / quiz: 188155 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.2 / points:24.0 / quiz:Q70658
Lexile: 900L

In the captivating start to the darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price... 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. Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco

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