Tag Archives: fantasy

Review of The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco

I received a copy of The Bone Witch, by Rin Chupeco, from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

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.

How can you be disappointed in a book that is beautifully written? I don’t really know, but I’ve managed it with The Bone Witch. Honestly, the writing and world-building is superb, but there my praise pretty much ends.

This book is 400+ pages long and the only action in the whole darned book occurs at the very beginning when the brother is raised from the dead and at 90%. That’s it. The whole rest of the book is Tea (pronounced as Tey-uh, as we annoyingly discover 67%) learning to be a geisha. Yes, she’s an all powerful bone witch. The only new one in decades, the one desperately needed, as the deava (undead beasts that rampage and kill people) keep popping up and, well killing people and she’s the only one who can do anything about them. But does she? No. In fact, when she asks to, she’s told to not waste time “with any more of these foolish wildgoose chases.” Instead, she learns to sing and dance and make pleasant conversation with her (apparently all) male cliental. That’s right, she’s basically just there for the entertainment of men, as are all asha.

There are things I appreciate about the book. There is some diversity in skin tone and culture. Some gender norms are purposefully challenged, though FAR MORE are passively reinforced. Again, the writing is beautiful. The reveal at the end piqued my curiosity, but I kind of saw it coming. It’s enough to interested me in the next book. But I spent a lot of this one being frustrated with the lack of pace and betrayal of a promise of a strong female lead. She’s stubborn and she is powerful, but I thought that every surrounding detail of the book—from the fashion to the families, to the political structure—undermined female autonomy and strength and reaffirmed women’s (or girls’) secondary position, even when possession an overwhelming ability. Which is not uncommon is fantasy, but I felt I’d been promised something different here. What’s more, I kind of sense the author thought she did write something different.

Case and point, an official graphic:

Review of Insight (The Community #1), by Santino Hassell

I received a copy of Insight, but Santino Hassell from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate.

Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.

Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.

This was a one sitting read for me. I sometimes feel bad when authors work years on a book and I breeze through it in a couple hours, but that’s what I did.

I quite enjoyed Nate and Trent, both are super sweet characters. But since it’s basically an insta-love that isn’t explained, I didn’t really feel their connection. If there had been an explanation for their instant, meaningful attraction I might have bought it more, but as it’s written I didn’t understand Trent’s dedication. He’s wonderful and Nate was lucky to find him, and I understood Nate’s position, but why was Trent so unnaturally attracted?

The mystery kept my attention. I had suspicions, but I didn’t know until the reveal. So, that was nice.

The writing, as always with a Hassell book, is wonderful and I’ll be looking forward to the next book. It’ll be interesting to see how Holden grows and at some point I’d really like to see Uncle Dade’s redemption, though I doubt that’s on the books. God, what a tragic character!

Review of The Wilde Crew: Rhett (The Shifters of Wilde Ranch #1), by Kim Fox

I downloaded a copy of Kim Fox‘s The Wilde Crew: Rhett when it was free on Amazon.

Description from Goodreads:
Skin Shifter, Rhett Jones, is the new shifter cop in Colwood, Montana. His first day on the job has him going toe to paw with a truly dominant grizzly bear shifter and the beautiful girl who is desperately trying to keep the fierce animal under control. He thought the bear was tough but she was nothing compared to the feisty girl hiding inside.

Bear shifter, Joan Heller, is just trying to find a new home but her out of control grizzly bear is ruining everything once again. She’s one phase away from being kicked out of town until she meets up with the sexy cop with the entourage of ravens who offers his help and his home to her.

Things get wild when the Wilde Crew get thrown into the mix and threaten to make the unstable situation explode. Will the new boys in town be the new family that Rhett and Joan need? Or will they be the detonator that blows everything to pieces?

Well, this book has good reviews and it started well, with the main character and his friends being lovable screw-ups. And it was funny. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to carry the book when the rest of it fell apart.

There is no conflict in this book, not really. The author threw a half-baked love triangle in for no conceivable reason that substitutes for one for a little while. Let me think, hmm, no that was it and it wasn’t even solved by the end of the book. There was no other conflict, so the book was dull.

It’s basically insta-love, but fails even at that since the pitiful triangle meant the main female was admiring two men when the plot should have been solidifying the love between the two main characters. The sex is abrupt, out of no where and includes role play, which would be fine if the characters had known each-other more than 2 days and either of them had a personality that lead the reader to believe they’d be into that kind of thing. Or done anything to suggest to the other that they’d be open to it. I literally rolled my eyes at the sex scenes.

I appreciated the female alpha. (Though it should be noted she still needed a man to become Alpha.) The writing isn’t horrible, like I said it’s funny, but there is too much tell, not enough show, almost no development of characters, world or plot and it doesn’t really accomplish anything. I finished the book wondering what the point had been.