Fantasy books are the most fascinating books in my opinion because of the infinite potential of world building. When done right, not only does the author create an amazing novel, they also create a world that the reader falls in love with and that is how I felt when reading The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco.
In The Bone Witch, we enter a world that has good and bad magic. However good and bad are not as clear as one might imagine. Instead, we go on a journey with Tea and her dead brother and jump into the crazy world of magic and sorcery. If you have read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, then you will have a lot of deja vu. Chupeco combines the life of a geisha with magic, monsters, and a lot of fighting.
Tea, a 12-year-old girl, lives in a small farming village with her family and many siblings. Her older brother who raised Tea dies in battle and his body is returned to his hometown. A funeral is held and Tea is in shock until they start burying him. She ends up resurrecting him by accident using dark magic and passes out soon after.
When Tea wakes up, she is attended to by a bone witch who decides to take Tea and her dead brother along with her and train her. Tea was taught that bone witches are powerful and evil. But Tea has no choice but to go along as her new powers have already instilled fear in her neighbors.
That all happens within the first 20 pages and it only picks up after that. I really appreciated how Chupeco goes right into the story instead of delaying like a lot of books do.
It took me less than 24 hours to finish this book. I did not plan to but it was written so well and the book keeps you on the edge of your seat. And it was definitely worth it when I reached the end.
Seeing Chupeco intertwine a life of a geisha into her book fluidly was satisfying. It worked well and let’s Chupeco build a stationary home for all her characters.
Speaking of the characters, Chupeco deserves an award for her great character building. Tea is a brilliant protagonist; as a kid and as a seventeen year old who has experienced a lot in her short life. The male characters are also great and while not at the center, they aren’t forgotten.
You know a book is good when you finish it in less than a day. But that conclusion won’t suffice for this article . The simplest comparison is Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. Imagine if a geisha had powers to control the elements or raise the dead.
As good as the plot was, the writing is what did it for me. Chupeco writes poetically and captures the scenes with all the senses without going on and on. You can tell that a lot of time and effort went into writing this novel. And it is a novel that I would read over and recommend to friends when talking about the best fantasy novels I have read.