In One Word

In One Word, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco is…

bone witch

  • Published by Sourcebooks Fire in 2017
  • Format: Audiobook
    • Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller and Will Damron
    • Listening Speed: 1.25 and then 1.5 in the last third
  • Listening time: 3 strange days


  • Massive amount of choice when it comes to books about witches so I went with one of Annemieke’s (the reading challenge creator) recommendations.
  • Yep, I am definitely reading too much Pratchett recently. The formal tone of this book takes me completely off-guard.
  • Shocking way to find out one’s necromatic talents indeed. The magic system in this world is rather interesting and the very clear gender inequality in this world is infuriating. Male mages are immediately enlisted in the army if they don’t have the right connections and female mages become Asha, the a large number of whom of whom must entertain important men with meticulously taught courtly arts and attend parties in gorgeous gowns on a day to day basis to make ends meet like geisha. Those are there rules and there is definitely no room for variation, no matter what anybody wants.
  • The flash-forwards do a good job of heightening the suspense. Just because the audience knows something is going to happen doesn’t mean that the surprise is spoiled.
  • Excellent world building on all the kingdoms with their cultural differences and international tensions. Closer to home, the rivalries and tribulations of the different ‘asha-ka’s are well-shown too, as are the heartsglass meanings and dark asha power limitations. The book does a bit too good of a job of world building and edges towards the trap of first-book-as-guidebook-to-the-world.
  • Really liberal use of the ‘making trouble gets you rewarded’ trope. Not sure why Tea is even trying to follow the rules at this point.
  • Immensely welcome comic relief from Polaire and Althy. It was all getting a little dark for comfort and it says something about this book that the best comic relief up until that point came from a bawdy dressmaker and a reanimated corpse.
  • Okay, I’m not convinced at all by the romance. Not when the prince doesn’t make much of an impression on me at all. In fact, I can’t say any of the characters made that much of an impression on me.
  • Unexpected twist indeed, right in the middle of a twist too!
  • Stuck with far more questions with answers and, vitally, the same questions I had at the start. I definitely think the Book of the Ancestor trilogy did flash-forward foreshadowing better. This book tried to mislead and play with our expectations but, again, other books did it better. I’m torn between feeling like I have to continue the series and being annoying that the book is clearly there to draw you into the series rather than stand on its own. For that reason, the rating is closer to 3.5 to 4 stars.

Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Did you agree with my rating? Can you think of a better word to describe it? Please let me know with a like, share or comment.

6 thoughts on “In One Word, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco is…”

    1. The world building and magic system is good. It’s just the characters and the romance that didn’t quite manage to make an impression on me. Don’t let that stop you reading it, though. I’d love to hear your take on it!

      Liked by 1 person

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