Title: The Bone Shard Daughter
Series: The Drowning Empire #1
Author: Andrea Stewart
Published: September 10th 2020
Length: 448 pages
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Rep: LGBT (Sapphic), east asian-coded cast
Source: e-ARC through Blog Tour
violence, missed loved one, death of loved one (off page), drowning
Thank you so much to Kate for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and to receive an ARC of this incredible book
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.
The Bone Shard Daughter is such a unique and intriguing start to a new fantasy series. And it managed to get me out of my reading slump with physical books.
This was one of the new releases this year that I just knew I would love. And I was not mistaken! I mean, the synopsis sounds already incredible, the emperors daughter determined and desperate to learn the magic her father refuses to teach her to save the empire.
But that’s not all! The Bone Shard Daughter is written with multiple POV, two written in first person and 3 others in third person. You’d think that would be jarring, but it all flowed together seamlessly. They are all very unique in tone and it’s easy to keep them all seperate.
The magic system and the world building in general are masterfully done. I loved exploring this world alongside the different characters, loved how each of them showed me a unique view of the people around them, lived in a different part of the empire.
The magic in this world works through bone shards. And every tithing ceremony the children of the empire have to give a bone shard to power the constructs, constructs that are dangerous and terrifying, but are needed to ward off the empires enemies. At least that’s what the emperor says.
But having your bone shard used can have some horrible consequences. I loved how dark and cruel this magic is, how it takes so much when used.
Through its main characters The Bone Shard Daughter explores themes of power and how far people are willing to go to obtain it. The side characters Phalue and Ranami we get to see corruption and revolution.
Only a few sentences in and I already fell in love with Lin. We immediately get to see her relationship with her father and why it’s so strained right now. She’s desperate and broken, but also so determined and I really liked her strong will and stubbornness. When no one wants to teach her what she needs to know, she’s just gonna do it herself.
I empathized so much with her, she’s alone and doesn’T even have the comfort of her past wit her memories all gone.
Jovis is the second character we follow in first person. I was really surprised when he first appeared as the synopsis didn’t sound like it would be multiple POV, but he immediately charmed his way into my heart. He might even be my favourite character off them all. He, too, is very determined. He’s searching all over for his lost wife and runs into a lot of trouble on the way. It’s been 7 years since she disappeared but he can’t let go.
I adored the way he coped with it all.
And a definite bonus of his chapters is Mephi! You’ll know when you read it and all I say now is: awwwww!!
Phalue & Ranami
We get to see scenes from both their perspectives and it’s perfectly done. They both love each other dearly but come from very different lifes. Phalue is the governor’s daughter, and while she is not as corrupt as he is, she hasn’t lived through the struggles most other people on her island have. She believes still that with enough work and determination everyone can work their way up. Ranami on the other hand is a bookseller and she wants Phalue to understand why the system cannot continue this way. I really appreciated how she refuses to simply tell Phalue what to do and instead is trying to get her to truly understand. Their storyline is really interesting, to see how their relationship grows and changes, how they grow and change.
And lastly, we have Sand. I was intrigued with her the moment I read her first chapter. She is living on an island and starts to question why she is where she is and does what she does. I’m really curious so see where the story leads her in the coming books.
Everyone! Everyone who is looking for an asian fantasy with a dark and unique magic system, great and complex characters on their own missions and with amazing character arcs and a magical animal companion (who can say no to that?!)
It’s not the most fast-paced fantasy but it’s rich in it’s descriptions and intrigues with well-written unique characters. Also, sapphic couple!
I really can’t wait to read more of this!
Andrea Stewart is the daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books.
When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes.
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