The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1)
By: Andrea Stewart
Format/Source: Advanced reading copy courtesy of Orbit Books (Netgalley)
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.
I first came across this book on NetGalley and the premise and the book cover grabbed my attention (look at that cover art!). I later found out that this book has quite a bit of hype ahead of its release, lol. I was approved an eARC of this book from the publishers. This book will be released on 08 September 2020.
Where to begin? The magic system and the world itself was very interesting, of bone shard magic and constructs that uphold and maintain the power and authority of the Emperor over his Empire. I thought what was really cool about the magic system is that in a way it resembles computer coding, learning phrases that Lin can use to override, rewrite, and take control of the emperor’s constructs. There is also magic beyond the constructs and the shards, to which the story does start teasing a bit about and that we will likely see in future novels.
The story is told through a few character POVs: Lin, the emperor’s daughter trying to prove herself as heir; Jovis, a smuggler searching for his love who disappeared seven years prior; Phalue, a governor’s daughter; and Sand, a mysterious figure stranded in a far-off island. At first their varying stories seemed like standalones but they do all eventually intertwine as their paths crosses and their trajectories and goals begin to intersect. They’re all very interesting characters with their own personalities, grievances, and priorities, and I think the author does a wonderful job in conveying all of this to the reader. Lin’s story was probably the most interesting to me because of her attempts to master bone shard magic, as well as her tenuous relationships with her distant and tyrannical father and her foster brother Banyan whom she has a competition with for their father’s favour.
There are some major twists and revelations in this novel, some which I sort of hand a hinting about, and some of which were surprising and quite impactful to the characters. I wonder how it’ll affect the characters moving forward in the series.
Overall I really enjoyed reading The Bone Shard Daughter, I think it’s worth the hype I’ve been hearing about and it’s really just a great tale populated with fully-realised characters, character drama, revolution, and magic. I highly recommend this book to fantasy readers.