First of all, I LOVED this book with its Japanese influence.
The plot was really interesting and I just love apprenticeships in books in general so this was perfect for me. There wasn't a lot of intrigue for the most part of the book, besides the end, and I was totally fine with that to be honest. It was more character driven than plot driven with the pacing being pretty slow but it didn't took away my enjoyment of this book! This first installment was centered around Tea's journey to become an Asha and it was really interesting to see her progress and new skills throughout this book. I also loved how the story was structured with moments from the "present" with a bard as narrator at the end of each chapters! It was really uncommon and intriguing to have some bits of info here and there about the "present", in opposition to the past with Tea's asha apprenticeship, with this bard listening to Tea's story and how she became what she is today. It was really intriguing and I cannot wait to discover the full story!
“Then perhaps we should carve a world one day where the strength lies in who you are, rather than in what they expect you to be.”As for the writing, it was a bit weird at first, and it took me a few chapters to really appreciate it. The worldbuilding was interesting, but I also wanted more and I hope I will learn more about the world in the second book!
The atmosphere of this book was REALLY good. I just loved the Japanese influence and this book reminded me a lot of Memoirs of a Geisha, which is one of my all time favorites. The Ashas, witches in this world, were so similar to Geishas, where asha apprentices needed to learn everything about etiquette, singing, dancing, several music instruments and basically how to entertain a party.