Two small little tangents before I jump in to this review: (1) it was recently brought to my attention that if you read any of my reviews from the WordPress Reader, rather than going to my actual page, the spoilers that I hide between the two little ♈ symbols that I always use to indicate a spoiler are completely visible. I had NO idea. So if I’ve ever spoiled a book for you guys, my deepest apologies. With that being said, after various discussions with WordPress, there is no way to streamline my posts so that they appear the same way in the Reader, as they do on my site. So in the future, any post that has a spoiler, even if it appears as hidden between my two little ♈symbols on my site, I’ll be sure to make it obvious in the title whether or not there are spoilers. That way, if someone does happen to be reading it from the WordPress Reader, I won’t ruin the book for them. Although, most of you must be going to my site because this is the first I’m hearing of this problem and I’ve been doing this for a decent amount of time.
(2) I don’t know how you guys feel about the transition from Goodreads Deals to Kindle Daily Deals e-mails, but as for me, I am NOT about it. I honestly wasn’t even getting an e-mail. I signed up well before Goodreads switched their e-mail off and didn’t get a single thing. I even went back and subscribed a couple of times after the transition because I didn’t receive anything from Amazon. After finishing this book I went back to Amazon’s website and checked my subscriptions and for whatever reason, they didn’t have me down, so I had to sign up….again. Now I am getting the e-mails, which is good, but before I was totally frustrated because I would have to wait until I was actually on my Kindle and pull up their Daily Deals section from the Store. But I powered through my frustration because with the deals, you can find some pretty awesome books for some pretty low prices (see below).
First of all, this cover is
In case you couldn’t tell from the color scheme of my blog, I think purple is pretty rad so I was hopelessly enchanted with this cover. The synopsis though, is what made me go for the “one-click” button. That and the price. But the story totally sucked me in…
Tea (pronounced Tey-uh) is a Bone Witch or a dark asha. She can draw the dark runes, which essentially means that she can raise the dead and return them to the land of the living, or as close to living as corpses can get. When it’s discovered that Tea is a bone witch she is sent away from her home village with Lady Mykaela, another dark asha, to learn how to become a bone witch at a place called The Willows. I have to say, there were way more parties and chores involved in this process than I thought. The interesting thing that we learn about Tea though, is that not only is she a bone witch, but she’s strong. Powerful. Her strength makes her the subject of gossip and makes a few people in the kingdoms weary about her. Can she be controlled? Is she a danger to the rest of the people? Part of Tea’s training involves learning to read people’s Heartsglass so that she can discern what illness plagues them so that she can heal them. Doesn’t sounds like a super scary zombie witch to me, but hey, witches get a bad rap wherever they go.
“Then perhaps we should carve a world one day where the strength lies in who you are rather than in what they expect you to be.”
The dark asha are also responsible for raising daeva from the dead and confiscating their bezoar before putting them back to rest. The best way that I can think of to describe the bezoar is essentially a “soul rock” of the daeva that holds a certain amount of power. I don’t want to get too much in to this story, so I’ll leave of with my summary of the book here.
I will say, this is a long book. There is a lot of information that leads up to the climax/ending of this book. This tends to happen a lot with books that are the first in the series. In my opinion, authors of fantasy novels have it the hardest because not only do they have to pull you in to their store, but oftentimes they have to do it while dumping a whole lot of information on you about how their world works. In some cases, there’s just such an info dump that what you’re reading doesn’t really make sense and you just kind of skate along with the plot line hoping it’ll make sense in the end. I would say that this book feeds you the information that you need as the story progresses so you aren’t caught in a huge info dump, but the downside to that is that the book is long. A lot of readers in the community struggled with the length of this book, though I will say I wasn’t one of them.
The chapters are told with a snippet of a hindsight perspective (looking back on the events that happened maybe 5 years after the fact) in the beginning, followed by the present day perspective of the story (discovering Tea and following her journey to becoming a dark asha). I’ll admit, it was confusing at first. The main chapters are told in first person perspective from Tea’s perspective, and the hindsight snippets are told from the first person perspective of a different narrator who is visiting Tea approximately five years after the events in the chapter take place – but you’re reading them before. I know my explanation is probably making it sound way more confusing than it actually is, but I will say that once you figure it out, it adds to the story. Those snippets in the beginning of the chapter had me excited to read through and find out what was going to happen.
Chupeco weaved her story in such a way that each chapter leaves you wanting just a little bit more information. At times it frustrated me because I felt like we’d never get to the point or learn what was being hinted at, but it really pulled me in to what was happening. I found myself greedily reading any information I was given because the information I wanted was withheld. It was evocative…mesmerizing. I was definitely a fly caught in the web of this story.
The ethnic origins of this story are a little confusing as well. Rin Chupeco was born and raised in the Phillipines, yet the story itself has a mix of Japanese and Middle Eastern culture/philosophy in it, as confirmed by Chupeco on Goodreads. I don’t know if I should say “despite” or “because of” but the multiple cultures that make up this book blend together seamlessly to create the world of the dark asha.
I was interested when I saw Rin Chupeco refer to Tea as an anti-heroine. I’ll be honest in that I haven’t read many books where I can definitively recall the main character being an anti-hero or anti-heroine. This is a new realm of exploration for me. I thought I’d be totally against the idea but at the end of this first book I find that surprisingly, I’m not.
Four flames to this one. I can’t wait to get my hands on The Heart Forger and see how the story of Tea continues!