27 Feb 2024



Author: Jasmine Skye
Series: Witch Hall #1
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 27, 2024

Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

Representation: queer main characters, sapphic relationships

Two girls reluctantly bound by fate must weather a dangerous courtship as a prophesied war grows ever closer in Jasmine Skye's high-stakes, queernormative dark fantasy debut, Daughter of the Bone Forest.

Rosy is a bone familiar, gifted with the power to shift into animals marked with exposed bone. She spends most of her days in the magical Bone Forest, caring for her feral grandmother and hiding her powers to avoid conscription by the Witch King’s army. Until the day that Princess Shaw, a witch known as Death’s Heir, visits the Forest. When Rosy saves Shaw’s life, the princess offers her the chance to attend the prestigious school, Witch Hall, as payment. Though Rosy is wary of Shaw’s intentions, she cannot pass up the opportunity to find the cure for her grandmother’s affliction.

But at Witch Hall, Rosy finds herself embroiled in political games she doesn't understand. Shaw wants Rosy for her entourage, a partner to help lead the coming war. All Rosy wants is to stay out of trouble until she can graduate and save her grandmother, but she can't deny her attraction to Shaw or the comfort Shaw’s magic gives her. Will Rosy give in to her destiny, or will the Bone Forest call her home once and for all?
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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book and chose to review it. This in no way impacts my opinion.

Content Warning: death, war, violence, bleeding, grief

This is probably going to be my favourite fantasy release of the year. The built in diversity combined with the powerful magic system and immaculate world-building made this lose my breath with how much I enjoyed it.

I loved the premise of this and thought it was well executed. It ended up being more than just an academic setting fantasy story and morphed into a conversation around power, privilege, and politics. The book shattered me a few times with the characters, conversations, and ways in which it explored topics and identities.

What I loved most is that some scenes and conversations seemed trivial in the moment but ended up being significant later in the novel. I bet if I reread it, I would learn even more the second time because it has so much subtext written into it. This is especially true in the conversations around who has power and why it matters beyond just Shaw. I thought it was really neat to see how people tried to make their own power through the social norms and abilities they had.

Rosy was a really interesting character and I appreciated her emotional growth throughout the novel. She was able to go beyond just caring about the needs of her family to understanding how that impacted the broader elements of the world. She may not have had the full knowledge of everything going on around her, but she played to her strengths and was able to make powerful allies. I loved that she wanted to carve her own path forward.

Because Shaw’s perspective was in third-person rather than first-person, I found it a bit more difficult to understand her thinking patterns. I felt a bit closed off from her and questioning her decisions like Rosy did. I thought it was interesting to see how her morals and ethics started to change in the novel, but it meant that there was a bit of a disconnect between where she started and ended. I also felt like while there was a possibility of change, Shaw didn’t always quite understand why that change was needed beyond “Rosy wants it.”

The magic was the most intriguing part of this! I liked how bonding happened, the way that each pairing could be equally powerful or one more than the other. It made for an interesting way to view magic. I also liked the exploration of the bone familiar magic that we saw through Rosy. The calling to her animals, the way she paired with them, and how she was able to use them to her advantage was really cool.

Even though we saw some of the overlaps, I hope we look at bone witch magic a bit more in the next novel to see how it all combines together.

This ends on a HUGE cliffhanger but is so worth the (eventual) wait between books. There is still so much to explore in this world and for these characters. I can’t wait to see where this goes and how power will play a role in this.

I am so grateful I was able to read this one early and hope you all pick it up on release date! I preordered it and you should too!

Are you going to pick this up?

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy the captivating story of "Daughter of the Bone Forest" written by Jasmine Skye. Explore a mysterious and exciting universe in this engrossing review. I appreciate you giving your knowledge! Continue your fantastic effort! Keep sharing. I invite you to browse my website.


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