Young Adult Fiction
March 7, 2017
This YA fantasy reads like a dark fairy tale. There are two alternating viewpoints / timelines. In one, a nameless bard records the story the Bone Witch (Tea) tells him, and starts to comprehend her terrible future plans for the world. In the other, we get Tea's story, and how she comes into power is whisked away from her old life and trains so that she can control it. All the while, I was never quite sure if Tea was the hero or the villain.
Some writers have obvious strengths and Chupeco's is worldbuilding. If you enjoy richly wrought worlds, and luscious descriptions of magic woven into clothing, or complicated social customs, this book is for you. There are pages and pages on dancing and jewelry and food. Tea stumbles as she tries to make sense of this foreign world she is navigating, how she should behave, dress, and speak. The cultures depicted are distinctly non-Western, but neither does she draw from only one cultural reference. The world she paints is big and diverse, which I appreciate.
But you're a fan of deep character interactions, most of the friendship / love story lines happen off the page. I really wanted a bit more on this side of things, but that's my personal preference.
This is not a fast paced book, because it takes it's time as it goes through months and years of Tea's life. The best comparison that came to mind was its "Memoirs of a Geisha" only were a girl learns to control dark magic, monsters, and plans revenge on the world.