Fiction / High Fantasy
Legalities First: I received an Advanced Reader Copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am reviewing the words, not the formatting. There are some issues, at this time, with the formatting, which I am confident will be taken care of by next March ;-)
This was one of the hardest books I've ever had to put down for such mundane things as sleep, travel, and other adult responsibilities. I am truly so very sorry you will have to wait until 7 March 2017 to buy your own copy, but you can order it now! Do so. You'll forget you've ordered it, and when the book comes in March it will be the most fantabulous surprise present you've ever received. Honest. Trust me.
Chupeco has created a universe unlike any you've ever visited. She has populated it with not only fascinating people, but with some of the most amazing animals ever. She has done a marvelous job of taking the old myths of Asia and Asia Minor and reworking them into the most lyrical and beautiful fantasy.
Tea discovers, quite by accident, she can raise the dead, when as a child she raises her newly killed brother from his grave. And her ability to do so comes at a price, which she must pay. She is taken by another witch, who is also a dark ashe (witch) to the headquarters where she will be trained in may forms of witchery from the dark arts to dance, song, and conversation.
Unlike the wielders of magic of many fantasies who must remain celibate in order to work their magic, the ashe are trained almost as a geisha. They are allowed to love, to mate, to be human. In fact, they are encouraged to take patrons—as patrons pay and bring money to the different houses.
By the time I got to the end of the book, I was pretty sure I had it figured out. Boy Howdy! Was I ever wrong!! There are still a couple of questions I need answers to; however, as thorough as Rin Chupeco is in her writing, I am sure they will be answered in the next book. Although this book is the first of a series, it does end, and it ends very well, and with satisfaction. You will not be left hanging wondering what comes next. You will be left hanging as you wait for more of the story, though. If it helps, the rope with which she hangs you is highest grade silk. I hope she is a fast writer!
It has been years since I've read High Fantasy as well written, as engaging, as original as this book. I will buy and read her other books, and look forward to the rest of this series. I am eager to once again enter her universe.