The Bone Witch
Tea learns she is a "bone witch" on the day of her brother Fox's funeral, when she accidentally raises him from his grave. While witches are fairly commonplace in the Eight Kingdoms, bone witches, or Dark asha, are feared and reviled for their ability to control the dead. Nevertheless, they wield their "complicated and exclusive and implacable" death magic to keep people safe from the daeva--"strange and terrible monsters" commanded by servants of the traitorous False Prince. Twelve-year-old Tea commands her newfound magic with ease, and she's hustled to the capital city by another Dark asha to be trained to manage her power. The headstrong Tea takes her place in House Valerian, where she learns to dance and fight and takes her own craft to a much more dangerous place.
The Bone Witch is fantasy world-building at its best, and Rin Chupeco (The Girl from the Well) has created a strong and colorful cast of characters to inhabit that realm. Interspersed with Tea's narrative are short chapters describing her future exile "at the end of the world." Readers will feel the impending doom in this enticing, highly original fantasy, but must wait until the sequel for answers. --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI