Format: Hardcover (ARC)
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 2
What did you like about the book? This story follows the history of young Tea, a girl from a family of witches who happens to be a “bone witch”, one who has the rare gift for necromancy. It starts off with an engaging bang as we see her raise her dead brother from the grave. The very brief “present day” snippets which usually appear between chapters are more interesting and show Tea talking with a bard about her story while also preparing something a bit mysterious and nefarious. Overall, it’s a confusing (and mostly boring) world and the few interesting characters, such as Tea’s friend Likh who wishes to defy tradition and become the first male Asha, are on-screen far too briefly in this overly long definitely Book One Feel introduction to what is clearly meant to be a series.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Tea raises her dead brother but, sadly, after this intense and engaging start, we are taken through roughly 350 pages of tedious “training” which mostly involves Tea learning to be some sort of magical geisha (an Asha) and intensely intricate descriptions of every dress (Hua), piece of jewelry and ornament she (and the other trainees with her) are wearing, buying, or dreaming of owning so that they can dance and sing at the numerous parties at which they perform. The plot “twists” are all telegraphed early on and disappointingly the entire book reads as a lead up to the REAL story; which will unfortunately NOT be revealed until future book(s).
To whom would you recommend this book? (Read-alikes if you can think of them) Readers who indicate their favorite part of any story is long-winded minutia of clothing with very little actual plot to “get you set in the world” could sink into this long story happily.
Who should buy this book? Public Libraries with voracious YA Fantasy readership
Where would you shelve it? YA (Fantasy) Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: April Duclos, Hudson Public Library, Hudson MA
Date of review: 2/7/17