Tag Archives: monsters

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. March 7, 2017. Sourcebooks Fire, 411 p. ISBN: 9781492635826.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 900.

The beast raged; it punctured the air with its spite. But the girl was fiercer.

Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living—and of the human.

Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong—stronger than she even believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.

Part of series: The Bone Witch

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Discrimination; Violence

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 9))
Grades 9-12. Tea is a dark asha, a bone witch, capable of wielding death magic. It is a position both necessary and reviled by those around her, for every few years, monstrous daeva created by the False Prince rise and go on a murderous spree unless returned to death by a bone witch. Tea’s story quietly unfurls through recollections told to a traveling bard, as the 17-year-old asha—now an outcast—prepares to wage a war of her own making. The narrative is primarily devoted to world building, which Chupeco fashions through a richly imagined history and culture, reminiscent of traditional Asian cultures, revealed through Tea’s asha training. Those craving action may not appreciate this book’s subtle execution, but patient readers who enjoy immersing themselves in detail will revel in Chupeco’s finely wrought tale. Game of Thrones fans may see shades of Daenerys Targaryen in Tea, as she gathers a daeva army to unleash upon the world. Whether she is in the right remains a question unanswered, but the ending makes it clear her story is only beginning.

Kirkus Reviews (February 1, 2017)
Something of a high-fantasy Memoirs of a Geisha, Chupeco’s latest excels in originality. The asha are known for performing, fighting, and magic; beautiful, brown-skinned Tea is taken from her provincial village to Kion to begin training as a dark (in magic) asha when she accidentally raises her dead brother. Chapters detailing young Tea’s early training through her debut as an asha intercut with 17-year-old Tea on a lonely beach raising monsters and planning war, relating her past to a nameless bard. The level of detail is astounding, confusing, but nevertheless fascinating; politics both local (the brief backmatter is a bit of a guide) and magical (the origin tale of the Faceless and heartsglass, introduced in the prologue, finally appears at the three-quarter mark) permeate everything. Multiple characters, including a dead brother and a handsome prince, surround stubborn, headstrong Tea as she finds herself implicated in events she doesn’t understand; the interstitial chapters make it clear that learning more will not make things better. These also slow the pace; they force an artificial sense of urgency in an otherwise slow, sensory journey and hijack the flow of Tea’s adventures. Chupeco is a writer to watch who deserves props for the breadth of her story, but she doesn’t entirely succeed here. A promising premise, a flawed execution, and a sense that the real story won’t develop until Book 2: somehow both exhilarating and disappointing. (Fantasy. 13 & up)

About the Author

Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband.

Her website is www.rinchupeco.com.

 

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Hellfighters by Alexander Gordon Smith

Hellfighters by Alexanfder Gordon Smith. November 1, 2016. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 320 p. ISBN: 9780374301729.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 760.

Thrown into a relentless war against the forces of darkness, fifteen-year-old Marlow Green and his squad of secret soldiers must fight for control of the Devil’s Engines―ancient, infernal machines that can make any wish come true, as long as you are willing to put your life on the line. But after a monstrous betrayal, Marlow, Pan and the other Hellraisers find themselves on the run from an enemy with horrific powers and limitless resources―an enemy that wants them dead at all costs. Failure doesn’t just mean a fate worse than death for Marlow, it means the total annihilation of the world. And when all looks lost and the stakes couldn’t be higher, just how far is he willing to go?

Sequel to: Hellraisers

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Mild language; Grotesque violence

 

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2017 (Online))
Grades 9-12. The second installment of the Devil’s Engine trilogy picks up after Hellraisers (2015) ended: with the battered and bruised Marlowe, Pan, and the other Engineers racing from and toward danger and destruction, in hopes of saving the world. Chapters alternate narration between Marlowe and Pan, whose relationship deepens, leading to even higher-stakes decisions for Marlowe as he seeks to locate and save his old friend Charlie. Adventure fans will be thrilled by the fast-paced, wall-to-wall action, and horror readers will delight at the supernatural terror and gore in the Engineers’ battle against chaos and pure evil.

Kirkus Reviews (September 1, 2016)
The Hellraisers have been betrayed, and all hell is threatening to break loose, quite literally.With the help of their ragtag crew, Teens Marlow and Pan are back in this follow-up to Hellraisers (2015). This time they not only battle nightmarish creatures, but must also travel between dimensions and through time to stop the Engine from releasing hell on Earth and destroying the world. Smith takes readers on another twisted, twisting journey and—to paraphrase the narrative—leaves readers with “images that belong in the sickest of horror movies.” With the exception of using skin tones to convey emotions and ailments, descriptions of race are largely avoided, leaving readers to conclude that most of the main characters are not people of color, an inherent and unfortunate trend in horror. While this sequel is certainly a page-turner and will keep readers engrossed, it’s not perfect. The imminent threat of Pan’s and Marlow’s expiring contracts with the Engine doesn’t pack enough of a gut-wrenching punch to really make readers feel it; there are a few too many pep-talk scenes with teary-eyed Hellraisers giving group hugs; and Pan and Marlow’s budding (but apparently inevitable in books for teens) romance is hard to swallow, particularly from Pan’s perspective. Nevertheless, this brings the same fear, fire, and comic relief as its predecessor, and readers will be happy enough with this sequel to the first Faustian tale to look forward to the next one. (Horror. 14 & up)

About the Author

Alexander Gordon Smith is the author of the Escape from Furnace series of young adult novels, including Lockdown and Solitary. Born in 1979 in Norwich, England, he always wanted to be a writer. After experimenting in the service and retail trades for a few years, Smith decided to go to University. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia, and it was here that he first explored his love of publishing. Along with poet Luke Wright, he founded Egg Box Publishing, a groundbreaking magazine and press that promotes talented new authors. He also started writing literally hundreds of articles, short stories and books ranging from Scooby Doo comic strips to world atlases, Midsomer Murders to X-Files. The endless research for these projects led to countless book ideas germinating in his head. His first book, The Inventors, written with his nine-year-old brother Jamie, was published in the U.K. in 2007. He lives in England.  His website is www.alexandergordonsmith.com.

Around the Web

Hellfighters on Amazon

Hellfighters on JLG

Hellfighters on Goodreads