Thank you to Little Brown Book Group UK for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This did not change my opinion in anyway. I bought a physical copy and read that instead of the review copy however because the ebook wouldn’t work on my ereader.
Book: The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire 1) by Andrea Stewart
Release Date: April 8th 2021
Tags: Adult | High Fantasy | Multiple POV’s | Thief | Rebellion | Constructs | LGBTQ+ | F/F Relationship
Trigger/Content Warnings: Cutting into skin | Drowning | Violence
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 recognise 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 is one of those books that I heard a lot of buzz about before I picked it up. For the most part this book lived up to it.
The book is set in the empire. The emperor and his family have mastered bone shard magic. These bone shard power animal like constructs that help him rule. The downside? The bone shards are taken from young children and when in use drains life from them. It shortens their life. One can imagine this tickles the rebellion to act out, next to the bad ruling the emperor seems to be doing. And that is about where we start.
We follow a few different characters from different sides of life. There is Jovis, a thief who has lost his wife. Lin, the daughter to the emperor who has lost her memory. Phalue, daugther to the governor of one of the islands. Ranami who is in love with Phalue but also a part of the rebellion ready to overthrow the governor. And a mystery character, Sand. It creates quite a few different story lines that slowly start intertwining with one another.
There were mysteries, twists and turns. Some were pretty obvious. Others were an actual surprise. Overal I think the plot is interesting and because of the intertwining stories became one big one by the end of the book. One where we will find all the characters together at some point.
The focus lies with Jovis and Lin. They move the story forward with big sweeping stories. Jovis who stands outside of the society by being a haunted thief, just trying to find his wife by any means possible. It means he doesn’t have that much contact with other people. Lin on the other hand is mostly stuck in the palace, her only interaction being her father and a taken in boy outside of the animal constructs. She sees how her father mismanages the empire and how he has little interest for their people. She wants to change that.
Both are great to follow as characters. Lin wants to learn, wants to do better. She thinks the way to that is the bone shard magic but along the way she learns to evaluate that. Jovis on the other hand is more focused on himself and doesn’t want much to do with the empire’s problems. That changes when he meets the creature Mephi. He opens his heart to it a little and along the way he finds himself falling into helping his people too. I loved his relationship with Mephi <3.
Character wise I wasn’t quite as drawn to Phalue and Ranami. However their story was very important to tell next to Lin and Jovis. Because they gave the perspective of the society. How was it really in the rest of the empire? How is day to day life and how does the empire’s rule affect their lives? The relationship between Phalue and Ranami is also interesting. How does their social standings influence their relationship. Phalue being a governor’s daughter, has a very priviledged view on the world. Ranami tries to show her that. But it is not so easy when it is the one you love.
Overal I enjoyed The Bone Shard Daughter and there is so much great things to be found in his book. I hope that the next books dives deeper into these characters and this world.