Hi everyone! I’m really excited about today’s review, because The Bone Shard Daughter was one of my most anticipated releases for 2020!
The Bone Shard Daughter
by Andrea Stewart
Series: The Drowning Empire #1
Release date: September 8th 2020
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Representation: F/F relationship, Asian OwnVoices,
In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. TheBone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.
The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.
Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognize her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.
Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.
The Bone Shard Daughter was one of my most anticipated releases for 2020, and I’m happy to report that it was extremely enjoyable, although it wasn’t quite what I was expecting it to be! I thought I was getting a single POV story about a girl mastering her magic and facing the revolution, and while that is definitely part of the story, it is by no means the only thing you get.
There are a total of five POVs in this Asian inspired fantasy: Lin, Jovis, Phalue, and Ranami are the main POVs, and one side character POV, Sand. I think out of all the perspectives we had, I enjoyed Lin’s story the most because of the mystery surrounding her father and their magic. Originally, I didn’t like Jovis because I felt like he had too much of a one track mind, but as the book progressed I found that I was really looking forward to his chapters. Of course, he’s also got Mephi and I’m nothing if not a sucker for a talking animal companion.
The other two main characters Phalue and Ranami are in a (f/f) relationship, and I very much enjoyed their relationship and thought it felt very real. The differences in the way they were raised and live (Phalue is the daughter of a governor, and Ranami grew up on the streets) affected their relationship with each other in a way that was completely believable. Phalue thinks she is doing the best that she can for those who don’t have the same privileges she has, while Ranami thinks that Phalue could be doing more with her status and influence to help. They both face completely different troubles, and they struggle to understand what the other is going through because of their different stations. While their romance wasn’t a main focal point of the book, the way it added to the revolution plotline was nice and the exploration of class differences was something that I really enjoyed reading about in a fantasy world. Their relationship was also never questioned, which was very much appreciated.
I thought the magic system was really interesting. Bone shard magic is used to create constructs, which are created from the body parts of dead animals and reanimated to serve whoever creates them. The way they were utilized was really interesting, and was one of the reasons I found Lin’s perspective to be the most interesting. There were some revelations towards the end of the book regarding bone shard magic that was terrifying, and the I can’t wait to see what the repercussions of that discovery will have in the rest of this series.
I’m also very interested in seeing more of this world and how everything works. The idea of islands that migrate is something that I can’t remember ever seeing before, and I very much want to know more about how these islands can sink like we saw very early on in the book. I’m crossing my fingers that the finished copies will have maps in them, because I’m a sucker for maps. I’m also curious about the Alanga, as they are a threat that seems to be long extinct but remnants of their society still linger throughout this world.
As for the writing, this was very easy to read and while the beginning was off to a kind of slow start, I was quickly sucked in and became invested in these characters. The tension and emotions comes through very clearly and it wasn’t until I finished it that I realized that the perspectives of Lin and Jovis were written in first person, while the other three perspectives were in third person. This just illustrates how cleanly Andrea Stewarts writing is to make that transition between the characters so seamless and unnoticeable!
This was such a great start to a new fantasy trilogy, and I’m very excited to continue on (even though I need to wait a year for the sequel)! I highly recommend this to all fantasy lovers, and even those who are wanting to branch out into adult fantasy as it was very easy to read and fairly light on the magic.