Time now for the second of our two Read Alongs for this year’s Wyrd and Wonder – Annemieke at A Dance With Books is hosting one for The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. It’s my first time reading, and I have to say I’m into it!
Let’s discuss The Bone Witch. (Spoilers!)
If you haven’t seen the full schedule for this Read Along and you’d like to join in, go here!
We’re covering up to the end of chapter 8 this week, so if you’ve read the book (or read further ahead) please be mindful of spoilers for others who are still reading. And with that, let’s get to the questions…
If this is your first time reading, what are your expectations for The Bone Witch? If this is a reread, what are you looking forward to the most (but beware a little of spoilers at this point 😉 )?
It is my first time reading this, and honestly? Even after having read this far, I’m not sure what to expect – and that’s a good thing! I like the way the narrative is going; first-person POV can be tricky to do well, but I feel like we’re getting a good amount of information while still getting a sense of who Tea is by way of the narrative. The dreaded infodump is avoided, and none of the setup work overshadows her personal journey. I was a little surprised to find the chapters so short, but in all honesty that’s working for me at the moment. Everything is A Lot out in the real world and I feel like if my current reads were any more demanding I’d be struggling a great deal more. So, yay for books that are gentle while still giving me that sweet sweet worldbuilding and interesting characters! Whatever is going to happen, can happen. I’m here for it.
The story seems to be told through a bard that searches out our main character Tea. Tea tells her story to them. What do you think of this set up?
I do enjoy a good ‘interview’ style of story – Teen Lisa was all about Interview With The Vampire, and a good retrospective of the life of a character who’s lived it, from their own point of view, can be a good story to sink into (see Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey). So I’m definitely into these vibes, and I like the story well enough so far that I’m happy to continue.
Why do you think Lilac could not see anything amiss for Tea in her foretelling?
That’s always an interesting question, isn’t it? Why can’t those with magical foresight see everything as it will inevitably happen? Do they see what’s inevitable? Or is life more mutable than that? I like to think it is, but I confess I suspect now that maybe Lilac withheld the truth somewhat? Or perhaps didn’t see the full picture and made some assumptions? Given how chapter eight ends … I feel like the latter is likely? I’m honestly not sure, but I certainly hope that gets addressed – I really want to know, now!
There is a lot of world building happening in this first part that we are reading. We follow Tea for a long time as a 12 year old. Do you feel that was a good choice? Are you still interested or do you wish it would move on already?
I am definitely still interested. Tea is at a very formative stage in her life, and as adults I think maybe it’s easy to forget that we’ve all been there. Personally, I am not always the most patient reader, so any time I don’t get impatient with a book for taking too long is usually a sign that it’s doing something right!
‘We call this the Willows,’ Lady Mykaela said, ‘home to the greatest Asha in all the Kingdoms.’
‘There aren’t any willows,’ Fox said, who sometimes took things literally.
‘Here is one.’ And Lady Mykaela placed a hand on my shoulder.’ | Page 59
What do you thing Lady Mykaela means here. What does The Willows or willow mean here do you think?
Hmmm. Now I’m curious about this! I did look up willow trees and their associated folklore/myths, and apparently they’re considered sinister in English folklore and Japanese folklore associates them with ghosts (they appear around willow trees). I can’t parse enough of what Mykaela might have meant here to be sure that any of this is what she’s referring to, but I’m definitely curious and I hope we get more of a clue later.
Why do you think Tea is kept as an indentured servant for so long before going to lessons when it is said that some assistants are presented as early as age 15?
At this point, I suspect prideful interference by Mistress Parmina. She was pretty set in her belief that Tea would fail to pass her test, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s acting out of pettiness and spite by holding her back with the servitude – especially given that we’re told Lady Mykaela generally doesn’t spend much of her own time there now. I’m keeping a side eye on Parmina, is what I’m saying…
That’s it for now! Feel free to share your (non-spoilery) thoughts below, or on Twitter, and I’ll see you next time!