Every May, a group of dedicated ladies hosts Wyrd and Wonder Month, celebrating all things fantasy. As part of Wyrd and Wonder 2023, Annemieke at A Dance With Books hosts The Bone Witch readalong. Today I’m here to discuss the questions she posted for week 1, regarding Chapters 1-8.
Title: The Bone Witch
Author: Rin Chupeco
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Week 1: Chapters 1-8
Okay, so before I get to the questions, let me say a few thoughts first. I haven’t done many readalongs before, I think there was only one and that was all discussion on Discord which was a kind of fun. I never did these discussion posts before, so I’m playing it by ear. I was interested in The Bone Witch before, I even had the audiobook sitting in my library, so when I saw the announcement, this seemed like a perfect time to send it to the top of the TBR.
I don’t know if I’m going to do this for every discussion post, but at one point Mykaela tells Tea that Asha is also called spellbinders, and from that moment on Spellbinder by Foreigner got stuck in my head, so I have to include that song into this post. Sorry, I’m not making the rules (I absolutely fucking do).
Alright, let’s see the questions then.
1 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 😉)?
This is my first time. It had been sitting on my TBR for a while, but I don’t think I had any expectations, actually. I don’t even know how it ended up on my TBR, to be honest. I probably read the blurb at one point as it did end up on it, but I’m not sure what caught my attention. Maybe the witches aspect, I haven’t read many witchy books. I certainly expect to be entertained and relatable characters.
2 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?
Personally, I like it. Partly because it’s a book written in the first person which I usually prefer, and partly because I like the storytelling aspect. Also make it more personal and brings the reader closer to the MC.
3 Why do you think Lilac could not see anything amiss for Tea in her foretelling?
Huh, that’s a good question. Maybe Lilac told Tea what she wanted to hear. Or maybe she didn’t actually have foretelling powers. And then it could be that she knew that being a Dark Asha doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something amiss. Despite how people look at them. And maybe she knew even then that Tea was destined for something great.
4 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 think it was, yeah. I, for one, enjoyed reading about her first experiences, how she learned about her power, how she found life as an Asha. I think these bits will be important in understanding her story arc, why she ended up being who she is.
5 When meeting the king of Kneave, Tea lashes out at him for sending her brother out in the war. How did you feel about his response?
Ha! I loved it! I expected the king to react very differently, but actually, I was prejudiced because Tea was. Interesting how we expect the worse from people in power. Admittedly, the king could have made better decisions, to begin with, but at least he tried to make amends and didn’t lash back in response to a child’s honesty.
‘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
6 What do you think Lady Mykaela means here? What does The Willows or willow mean here do you think?
Okay, so, I don’t know anything about willows (or plants and their symbolic for that matter), so I had to do a quick search to make sure I’m not completely off my mark. It seems like from the descriptions (and at one point Tea’s own monologue), that every plant works as a symbol – just as every Asha has a pattern unique to them. Willow tends to have a long life although it needs specific things to survive, such as water. But it’s also a tree that can be regrown from its own branches. There are different types of Asha living in The Willows, forming one family. And Tea is their newest member, a new life, a new beginning. So Mykaela probably means to say that Tea is part of that community now, and belongs as an Asha.
7 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?
It could be plain pettiness from the owner of the ashaka, as she clearly doesn’t like Tea very much. But it also can be that since she is a Dark Asha, she needs to mature a bit more before she can start her training safely. It seems that their skills need a very different type of training than someone who would, say become an artist or entertainer. Or a warrior, for that matter. And maybe Tea needs to learn discipline before anything else.
And that concludes my contribution to Week 1 of The Bone Witch readalong. I find the book interesting so far, so I’m looking forward to venturing farther into Tea’s world. Have you read this book yet? Let me know what you thought of it!
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Love your take on the willow <3
I also did enjoy seeing how she was going through and it wasn't sped through but I also hope we get moving a bit more as well.
Thank you! 💜 Yeah, how Chapter 8 ended I think things might start moving now.