Series: The Bone Witch #1
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
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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.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco Review
World building is the favourite part of every fantasy novel for me, and The Bone Witch is built upon a fascinating world of women called ashas, training to become fine high society women. The twist is that they are also bone witches who can raise the dead. With deadly beasts around the corner, the world in The Bone Witch is stunning and memorable.
While the book does start off in a stunning way, introducing us to Tea who accidentally raised her brother from the dead, it slows to a crawl as we learn about the detailed world of the asha and their training. From the pattern on their clothing, to the fine art of pouring tea, the language of flowers and entertaining guests, The Bone Witch does not skimp on the detail. The descriptions of the asha training and who’s who in high society are descriptive and beautifully written, but it’s also repetitive and can get dull quickly. The action doesn’t really kick off again until the 80% mark.
With its unique blend of geisha training and necromancy, I really enjoyed the world built in The Bone Witch, but I didn’t really understand why the asha needed to be refined ladies in society to serve men for entertainment. There wasn’t really a lot of training when it came to harnessing their powers, which is why I was confused about it. I did enjoy how the book touched upon the prejudice when it came to the asha amongst the society.
As a powerful necromancer who accidentally discovers she can raise people from the dead, I enjoyed Tea as a character. She’s timid and still discovering herself and her powers, and she has her share of internal conflict throughout her training. Through the gentle guidance of her brother Fox, who is her spirit medium, she learns to trust her own judgement and believe in herself.
Overall, I really enjoyed the beautiful and unique setting of The Bone Witch, combining necromancers with geisha training. If you’re looking for a fast paced fantasy filled with action, The Bone Witch is not what you’re looking for. However, if you’re looking for a unique fantasy world based on geisha training and necromancy, then The Bone Witch will satisfy your curiosity.
Rating: 3 out of 5
The Crown of Wishes by Roshani ChokshiA Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #2
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on March 28, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
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An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…
She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
This is the sequel to The Star-Touched Queen. You can read my review on the 1st book here.
As a companion to the atmospheric underworld fantasy The Star-Touched Queen, The Crown of Wishes follows Maya’s sister Gauri, as she joins forces with a prince from a neighbouring kingdom to escape her circumstances as a prisoner of war.
Coming from a strangely meta setting in The Star-Touched Queen, I was awed by the equally gorgeous setting in The Crown of Wishes. While the writing is still poetic and overly descriptive in this one, I found it easier to follow in this one.
Gauri is a freaking badass warrior princess who has become a prisoner of war, after becoming her brother’s prized General. She’s tough, determined and scary, and certainly doesn’t need a man to get what she wants. Her internal conflict was fascinating, as she’s been exiled by her kingdom after her attempt to overthrow her brother.
Vikram gives her an offer she can’t refuse, to accompany her to compete in the Tournament of Wishes, where she can make an escape. He has a fascinating internal conflict of his own, as a Prince who was raised to be a figurehead, which certainly played with his emotions. He’s insecure about his role, but he’s also extremely flirtatious and completely hilarious.
What results between these two characters is explosive chemistry and antagonistic banter which I adored. While it’s clear that they are attracted to one another, they are focused on their own goals throughout the book and reaching the Tournament, which I adored. Their romance is slow burning, and I shipped them so much.
I loved the Tournament of Wishes and the different trials they had to go through in order to win the tournament. The Indian influences and mythology were included seamlessly and I loved how it was told in such an intriguing way.
The Crown of Wishes was a hard one to review because I loved it so much! With a magical setting based off Indian mythology, an antagonistic romance at it’s heart with two fierce characters, and a magical Tournament of Wishes filled with dangerous trials, A Crown of Wishes is one of my favourite books of 2017.
Rating: 5 out of 5