FICTION

The Bone Witch

416p. Sourcebooks/Fire. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781492635826.
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Gr 7 Up—Chupeco craftily weaves magic, intrigue, and mystery into a captivating tale that will leave readers begging for the promised sequel. Being a witch, or an asha, is not out of the ordinary in Tea's world, but being a "bone witch" is another matter entirely. After Tea accidentally raises her brother from the dead, she discovers that she is destined to become one of the infamous Dark asha. Dreaded and feared yet highly valued for their services, the Dark asha are the only ones who can tame the demonic daeva, who threaten the kingdoms, but their taming comes at great expense. Tea must decide if the cost of losing her life, one battle at a time, is worth staving off the demonic onslaught. Or can she choose another path to save herself, her friends, and the boy she loves? Chapters alternating between her past and present seamlessly narrate the novel, leading up to Tea's mysterious exile. Because the plotlines have yet to converge in this installment, the book ends on the most excruciating of cliff-hangers. Chupeco uses vivid, descriptive detail, with nominal coarse language and violence, to set a rich tone that immerses readers in a vibrant and believable world. The short alternating chapters help move the story along quickly.
VERDICT A strong choice for engaging reluctant readers and younger fans of fantasy who might not be ready to heft titles by Ursula K. LeGuin or Tamora Pierce.

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