Book Review: THE BONE WITCH by Rin Chupeco

Title in white above a skull surrounded by swirling yellow lines on dark blue
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 2 stars
Series: Yes - first in trilogy


Book cover for THE BONE WITCH: a girl sits on a cliff, surronded by spirals

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I wanted to love this book, as I know it’s a highly regarded book, but it was just so impossibly slow. Nothing happens in it at all.

I had been warned, going in, that it was a slow book. I can read slow books, as long as it feels like it’s building towards something in a rich world. But this didn’t ever feel like it was going anywhere. Tea was just going about life with no discernible goal or obstacle. She was training to be an asha and everyone was happy to make her one, so it felt like reading a journal that would follow some lessons in excruciating detail, but then skip months in a few lines.

I couldn’t connect to Tea at all, because she felt so lacking in personality. She was so bland and empty. What did she want?

Maybe the world was rich? I couldn’t say because I simply couldn’t concentrate on the story as I was so bored. My attention kept wandering and it became a case of “read the next five chapters, then take a break” in order to get through.

Between the chapters are snippets on an island, set after the book, from the perspective of another character who’s identity is vague. It was so distracting to keep going back to these. They were super vague about events in a why that felt like they were supposed to be “hooks” – why is she on this island? What are all these dark secrets? – but they were so blatantly meant to be hooks that they fell flat. With nothing else to engage me with the characters, these snippets had to provide all the intrigue, but didn’t. Not to mention they never felt fulfilled, but instead were more slow passages from another perspective that were full of world building dumps for the reader that didn’t add to the story.

The relationships didn’t have an heart. I felt like I must be missing something major with her and her brother, as he was just there and she felt like a stranger to him half the time. Then there were the various boys, who were vaguely introduced (by the island snippets) as love interests, but who hardly even felt like friends, let along potential love interests later on.

All in all, I probably should have DNF’ed this , but I still struggle with DNF’ing physical books. I’m certainly not going to pick up the rest of the series.


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