Book Reviews: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet and The Bone Witch

Happy 2017 everyone! I ended 2016 on a reading run, finishing 5 books from Christmas weekend to New Year’s Day. In that span, I read two magic filled books (albeit very different magic), Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet and The Bone Witch.
Book Reviews of Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie Holmberg and The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco | Puppies & Pretties

Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

Goodreads summary

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences.

From the author of The Paper Magician series comes a haunting and otherworldly tale of folly and consequence, forgiveness and redemption.

Review of Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

This was an interesting book. It starts with a woman who can bake feelings into cakes and the like but remembers nothing of her life before she was found by a woman who would eventually become like family. But her life is turned upside down when she is sold into slavery by marauders. But her new master isn’t what you would expect. He knows Maire from “before” but refuses to explain their connection. So does a “ghost” named Fyel. But as Maire slowly learns more about herself, she finds herself changing into something not quite human. But what is she? That is the path of Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet.

The world building was quite fascinating in this book. That was certainly a high point. None of the characters really spoke to me, but there wasn’t anything inherently bad about them. For most of the book, Maire is annoyed that she can’t remember who she is, even when she finds others that did know her and refuse to tell her things. That was the one thing I didn’t really understand. Why can’t anything be told to her?? When everything comes out, it becomes understandable why the one character couldn’t. But still slightly annoying while reading. What was also fun was the integration of fairy tales like Hansel & Gretel.

Overall rating
This would be a good book to read if you enjoy fairy tales and don’t mind not knowing anything more than the POV character.

3.5 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

The Bone Witch

Goodreads summary

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.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

Review of The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch is a fascinating book. I’ve read many reviews saying people just couldn’t finish it because nothing happened. It is true that it isn’t an action packed story by any means. But it drew me in after a few chapters because I wanted to know more. The book rotates between two different time frames; current Tea telling her story to a bard and then her actual story of becoming an asha. So we meet current Tea right away in short snippets, but truly get to know her throughout her tale of becoming a bone witch.

As I said, this isn’t an action packed book. What makes this book shine is the writing and the storytelling. I wanted to keep reading to try and figure out Tea. Because there is something fundamentally different between the 17 year old that is talking with the bard and the young teenager that we meet in the story portion. What made her this way? Why does it seem that she is going against everything that she learned as a novice asha? It is intriguing.

There is certainly more to Tea’s story that isn’t covered in this book. I feel like we got part 1 and part 3, but haven’t really seen part 2 yet. It will be interesting to see how Chipeco continues this story. Will it pick up at the end of this book and just move forward? Or will it be similar to this one and we will get to learn about part 2?

Overall rating
I really enjoyed this book and plan to read the sequel. Be ready to enjoy the world building and continually wonder “why?”.

4 out of 5 stars (just barely)
c/o Netgalley

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