Books that start with necromancy and end with (apparently) necrophilia should not work, one would think.
But apparently sometimes they do. Just ask Rin Chupeco, or read her book The Bone Witch when it comes out on March 2, 2017. Then you’ll see. Now, according to Amazon the recommended ages for this first book in a coming YA series are 12-17. I read it anyway, because I was lucky enough to get an advanced read copy through NetGalley and the book’s publisher, because just about any book will make me happy. However, I would not let a twelve year old read this book – if I had a twelve year old. Why?
Necromancy, possible necrophilia (at least platonically) are big reasons. But Chupeco also focuses heavily on war and violence and political intrigue… and those topics are important, but perhaps best explained in a different setting.
All that being said… YA books about twelve year old girls who discovers she is a (dark) witch when she accidentally raises her brother from the dead are surprisingly good! I feel it important to mention that said girl, named Tea, is not in love with her brother… it’s a different dead person, see.
The story is compelling on the whole; a collection of city-states vastly different from one another and yet united against destructive mythical creatures, that women are at the forefront of society and the last line if defense against the dragons, that it is a female driven society…
It does falter in places, though. Chupeco has tied a large part of the story to color – the color of dresses, flowers, uniforms, and heartsrune necklaces. Each color has a meaning and there are a lot of colors heavy with meaning. It is nearly impossible to keep it all straight. I hope that final editions have appendices with lists and explanations for readers. I would have liked that. Chupeco also spends a lot of time… organizing. Organizing is a good word. And it makes sense. It is the first book in a coming series so the world needs to be organized and established.
So despite the slow moments of organization, The Bone Witch is a compelling start to a series and I will keep an eye out for the next book. It is going to be good!