Review: The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I DNF’d this novel at 20%. The Bone Witch was a major disappointment for me. I was so excited to receive a copy of this; the synopsis sounds intriguing and the cover is just beautiful. This didn’t turn out to be the great young adult fantasy novel that I was expecting.

I was shocked when I discovered that The Bone Witch is her third published novel in the US. With all of the issues I had with this, I would have guessed that it was a debut novel.

Here’s the Goodreads summary of this novel, which you can also read here.

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

I’m not fond of the storytelling and the pacing. This moves so slowly! It alternates points of view and at first, I wasn’t sure whose points of view it follows. The story reads this happens, then this happens, and then this happens, but it’s still mostly unimportant stuff happening. By the time I reached 20%, I was still asking Where’s the plot? Most of the time, the sentences didn’t move the story forward or add to the characters. It just felt like fluff.

The world-building was almost nonexistent. You never get a clear picture of what their world is like, although there are some history and rules mentioned at the beginning. There are also not much sensory details. While reading this, I felt very detached physically, mentally and emotionally.

There wasn’t much character development, if any. For the most part, the characters lacked emotion or even a personality. There were some physical descriptions of the characters, but not much. Sometimes a character would laugh or give a snarky reply, but that’s about it. There wasn’t enough character development to make me empathize with them. I didn’t like feeling so indifferent towards them.

In dialogue, all of the characters sounded the same. Dialogue is a great place to showcase your character’s personality. This is where they should have a distinct voice.

This story had so much potential. It could have been a great reading experience if these issues weren’t there. It’s frustrating when a book’s summary sounds amazing, but the novel itself is a big flop. According to the author, The Bone Witch will at least have a sequel, but I have no interest in reading it.

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