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.
This book follows Tea, a bone witch/necromancer, who has also brought back her brother from the dead. After finding this out, Tea travels to another land, with a mentor, to be taken to a school to become an asha. From what I understood, Asha are kind of like Geisha, in that they learn to perform for others, dance and sing, and are recognised by their outfits, which in this case is hua.
They also have heartglasses, which hang around their necks, and change colour with the emotion of the wearer. Silver heartglasses means you can draw runes and fight, as an asha (for women) or a soldier (for men). Heartglasses are also exchanged with the person you fall in love with, which can be dangerous as they are essentially a part of you.
Then perhaps we should carve a world one day where the strength lies in who you are
There was a lot I liked about this book, but I did feel mixed about it. For a start, I felt like I was being thrown into this story almost as if it was a sequel. The world feels very fantastical and for a good chunk of the book, I just felt a bit..lost. If you enjoy high fantasy, I think you’ll get on with this just fine and enjoy it. But for me, who has only recently gotten into fantasy, I still find it hard to wrap my head around some things and it felt like I was being plunged in at the deep end sometimes! I also couldn’t quite grasp who was telling the in-between chapters, even though I enjoyed them I have since learned it is also Tea, telling the same story but in the present, whereas the main narrative is Tea in the future, telling the tale.
All that aside, there are some really cool parts of this story. Once I got into it, I couldn’t put it down. The pacing isn’t exactly fast, but I didn’t want to put it down in the second half either. The writing is just beautiful, magical and weirdly comforting, and I really enjoyed reading about the world.
I also want to say I love how Rin discusses gender. Even in a regimented world in which there are two genders and they both have their roles, gender issues are discussed. The fact that Asha face criticism as females is not shied away from. The characters as a whole were great, and I really loved Tea’s mentor and some of the older Asha’s. Her relationship with her brother and friendship with Likh were also lovely to read about.
rather than in what they expect you to be.
Overall, I had mixed feelings about this but overall quite enjoyed reading it. This world has so much potential and I will definitely be carrying on with the series, now I have more understanding about how the world works I think I’ll really enjoy it!
3.5 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽