The Need To Know: An inventive, captivating tale perfect for all YA and fantasy-lovers.
The Bone Witch is a feast of magic, grotesquerie, and heart.
From the first two sentences: “The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer”—to the last, I was engrossed in the story of the bone witch, Tea. This is a young woman who is intelligent and brave and by turns secretive and cunning, who is not afraid to risk anything—even alienating those she loves—if only she might save their lives.
The novel opens when a Bard approaches Tea, the bone witch, who has been exiled to a beach littered with animal’s skeletons. The Bard asks to hear her story and Tea acquiesces. The rest of the book intersperses the Bard’s observations and conversations with Tea with Tea’s account of the last three-ish years of her life.
Tea’s story begins when she was 14, when she brought her dead brother, Fox, back to life. A bone witch named Mykaela comes to retrieve Tea and tells her that she will be taken away to receive bone witch training. Where Tea is from, bone witches, witches who are capable of bringing beings back from the dead and sending them back, are highly feared. Though she is not eager to leave her family behind, something within Tea luxuriates in the feeling of the magic within her.
Once Tea reaches Ankyo, the seat of her training, she must face enemies within her own community and also those without. And her journey is more complicated than others’ because she is extraordinarily powerful and she senses the injustices of the bone witch’s life more than most.
This novel is action-packed, with Tea and others battling grotesque creatures which rise from the ground, taking combat and dancing lessons, and learning to create runes made of blood. But The Bone Witch doesn’t sacrifice thoughtful characterization for the sake of plot. The characters are nuanced and well-developed, and Chupeco deploys her stellar vocabulary to create a world that is vivid and atmospheric.
This was a fantastic YA fantasy read that kept me riveted to the page, lost in a world that Chupeco created.
The exciting news doesn't end: there will be a sequel!
I received a copy of this book free from Netgalley but all opinions included here are my own.
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