I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart. This is the first book in The Drowning Empire series and was an excellent start and has left me eagerly waiting for the rest of the books. This is a fantasy book, but it is very accessible and would suit many readers.
My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book from Orbit Books. Before I get to carried away let me show you what The Bone Shard Daughter is about…
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.
I have been looking forward to reading this book for so long and I was not disappointed. This is the first book in The Drowning Empire and I am so excited to see where this series goes in the future.
As I started this book I was introduced to the main cast, I was aware of them having an Oriental feel to their names. When I got to the end of the book I discovered the author is of Chinese/ American heritage. I do like Eastern folklore, magic and legend and this book has the feel of some of those elements.
There are a few characters to get to know as I mentioned earlier. There is Lin, the Emperor’s daughter and in theory, should be the next Emperor when her father retires or does. But he doesn’t show much time for Lin or in showing her how to work the Bone Shard magic. He is such an odd character, a recluse who seems to be paranoid and is searching for something.
Then there is Jovi, he is the best smuggler ever and he has posters of him for his arrest. He is a character that I really liked, while he seems cold, he is actually more compassionate than I first realised. He’s a smuggler but one that has a moral sense of right, Iknow that sounds bizarre but it is true and his character works really well.
Then there is the Governors daughter, Phalue. She is aware of the suffering of the people and does what she can to help. But in the eyes of her girlfriend, it is not enough, that Phalue doesn’t truly understand the suffering. I did feel for this character as she struggled with the love she has for her father but also the love of her girlfriend.
Finally, there is Sand, I first thought this was a very strange character, but actually, as the story progresses, she becomes more prominent, and her true role is just starting to emerge.
Often with first books in a series I find they are slower to get going as characters, backstories and threads begin the process of being started and plotted for the adventures and stories that will follow. With this book, that process seemed to progress really quickly, yet I never felt it was rushed, and I quickly found myself drawn into a story that has an epic feel to it.
The chapters are quick and rotate between the various main characters, I think this really helped with adding backstories, brief snippets of history, some geography and also a little of the politics. There is a general feeling of unrest in the people of the various Islands. They are hungry, have to work long hours for little p[ay and live in awful conditions. Yet the residences of the EMperor and the Governor is that of opulence and ignorance.
I really adored this story and I thoroughly enjoyed being transported in this story of magic, moving islands, strange occurrences and meeting some wonderful characters. I am really excited about this series and I would definitely recommend it to readers of fantasy and also to readers who are looking for a new series to being.
About the Author…
Andrea Stewart is the Chinese American 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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