Whenever I start slowing my reading pace and prioritizing other tasks over reading, I really should remind myself how truly great books make me feel. Picking up «The Bone Shard Daughter», while slumping through the other two books, felt like a breath of fresh air. I didn’t know what to expect from Andrea Stewart, but I can say that I was very pleasantly surprised by how quickly it drew me into the story and how incredible each Point of View was!
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. The Bone 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 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.
Thank you, NetGalley and Orbit, Little, Brown Book Group UK for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own and not influenced by the company or its affiliates in any way.
1 – More often than not, in books with multiple points of view, one stands out more than the other. But in «The Bone Shard Daughter» all four points of view, including Sand’s at Maila Isle, were equally interesting and engaging.
The story began with Lin’s pov. She is the daughter of the Emperor who has to fight for her place as the heir to the throne with Bayan, Emperor’s foster son. And the worst of all is that since Bayan’s arrival to the Imperial Island they both fell ill and after the recovery lost their memories. But while Bayan was able to recover some pieces of it, Lin’s past remained completely blank.
Then we jumped into Jovis’ chapter, a smuggler searching for his wife who was abducted from their own house seven years ago. His search brought him to Deerhead Island just during the time of the most tragic events. In the beginning, his chapters and his journey were the most action-packed and engaging, in my opinion.
After Jovis, we were thrown into the life of Phalue, the governor’s daughter, at Nephilanu Island, and her lover Ranami, who came from the very bottom of the social ladder.
2 – The magic system is unique! I’m not a fantasy expert but I did read a fair share of fantasy books in my life and when a new series has a magic system I’ve never seen before, it’s a massive plus. All children when they reach 8 years old must participate in a Festival created and controlled by the Empire. During the festival, the Imperial guards take one shard of bone from each child and store it in the vaults of the castle. Each shard can be used in the future to power constructs, which are amalgamations, a creation of the Emperor, who wields the bone magic.
Lin’s chapters were the only ones that gave us the idea of what that bone magic is all about. I just wished for it to be more of a challenge, as she seemed to get into it pretty quickly. Although, the events revealed at the very end might have explained a little bit her prowess with bone magic.
3 – There wasn’t a single moment when I felt bored or felt like the story dragged. In fact, it was quite the opposite. There were many times when we seemed to make a leap in time (little ones), but that gave me the feeling that the story was progressing too quickly, and I wouldn’t mind another 200 or 300 pages spread between these 4 points of view to glance into the more mundane events.
Andrea Stewart’s writing is beautiful, she uses a lot of metaphors, and it reads very quickly and easily. That writing, combined with a very action-packed story made for the most unputdownable book I’ve read in a while!
4 – Jovis’ chapters felt like a videogame! I mentioned earlier that all four main characters and their points of view were equally good, however, Jovis and his companion Mephi did win my heart (all credit goes to Mephi for that).
Jovis’ chapters were particularly interesting as he wasn’t static. He kept moving from island to island, showing more of this world, its people and customs while completing quests here and there that would get him closer to his main objective – to find his abducted wife.
If any game creators ever see this post, please take a closer look at «The Bone Shard Daughter» and Jovis’ adventure. *wink*
5 – Besides the unique magic system, the world was just as distinctive. First of all, there are moving islands that migrate all together! And secondly, the equality between genders in this world was such a treat to read about. Women and men had the same jobs, women could be rulers, women had the possibility to inherit their parents’ rights, divorce, and so much more. Women and men weren’t treated any differently due to their genders.
There were also a F/F romance and many remarks of how certain characters had one gender marriages, and even marriages with more than two partners! And none of these situations was looked at differently, or judged by the rest. No, it was all completely within the accepted normalcy.
6 – There is still so much to learn about the magic, world, and its people! Andrea Stewart gave us little crumbs of this word’s history, and I’m sure that the future books will explore the Alanga, their magic, maybe even their history, in more detail.
This story has so much potential for future political intrigues, major battles, unknown magic, and interesting lore!
I loved this book so much! But as you can see, I didn’t give it 5 stars. The same happened when I read «The Rage of Dragons» by Evan Winter. I loved it and still think about it all the time, but there were some very minor issues that didn’t let me give the book a higher rating. And also, I know that the next installment will be even better! 🙂
Are you interested in this new fantasy series? Let’s chat in the comments below!