Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.
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.
SEXUALITY: (presumed) heterosexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: (presumed) heteroromantic
PAIRING: possible M/F but there isn’t really any romantic arc in this book yet
TROPES: magical abilities/dark magic, political intrigue
TAGS: young adult, epic fantasy, Filipina author
WARNINGS: death, cissexism, misogyny, violence, necromancy, resurrection
Confession: This was a hybrid book for me. I read it as an ebook, but also listened to parts of it as an audiobook, and I wish I had it as a hardcover or paperback. (BTW Emily Woo Zeller and Will Damron did an amazing job narrating this, I would listen to both of them reading me a grocery list with a smile on my face.)
I think what I had to get used to at first was the different pace of the story. This is not your Americanized version of bing-bang-boom fantasy with a necromancer and lots of bloody action and death. It is… a quiet book. One full of subtle hints and strong undercurrents, and that was so different from what I originally expected. But it intrigued me right from the start, especially the emotional depth and complexity of it all. I think if you can start feeling *with* Tea from early on, this book just hits so many soft and vulnerable spots, about society’s expectations and hypocrisy, about gender norms, about friendship and familial ties and what it means to live, what is right and what is wrong.
The switching between present and Tea’s past really kept me on my toes, often because I wanted so desperately to understand how we got to the point at the beginning in the book while I was still reading about Tea as a child and teenager. Sometimes the jumps were jarring, although not in a bad way, and sometimes they just threw me for such a loop. The ending included.
It was very much a first book in a series. Even when I re-listened to parts, or kept going back to the ebook to re-read passages, at the end of the day I did not have enough information to grasp everything going on, everything about all the players in the plot–or even what the big picture really is, yet. I really liked that, but I know that is not the happy place for many readers.
In general, I really enjoyed how the story grew and developed organically, at its very own pace, never rushed but never too slow or flat in, which could cause me to get bored with it. Same goes for the worldbuilding. When I was thrown right into everything at the beginning without so much as a detailed look at the world I was in now, my imagination had to work in overdrive to keep up with everything. Which is a very good thing for me, because I *need* this initial grab and strong pull sometimes so I can stay focused and engaged, long before I can even think about getting fully emotionally invested.
Definitely liked this book. It hit different beats, at different times, in different ways and I really, really enjoyed it. I do need the second book though. The whole series really, so I can enjoy the big picture as a whole.
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Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.
She is represented by Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency. She is also fond of speaking in the third person, and may as well finish this short bio in this manner. While she does not always get to check her Goodreads page, she does answer questions posed to her here as promptly as she is able to. Find her at the following places instead: