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The Bone Shard Daughter

by Andrea Stewart

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The Bone Shard Daughter is a tale told from several different points of view. The first being from Lin, the daughter of the emperor. He is a master of bone magic. This is the ability to build animal like constructs to do his bidding and protect the city. Lin only wants the love of her father but he constantly tests her about memories she lost several years prior and she constantly fails him and thus fails to gain his love. Her rival, Banyan, is the emperor's foster, who threatens Lin's inheritance of the throne. Jovis is the other main character in this story. He is chasing after a mysterious blue sailed boat that captured his wife many years ago and he hopes to find her again someday. His random encounter with a strange creature whom decides to stay with him brings about changes in Jovis that he could have never imagined.
I really enjoyed the story, it seems to be set in a mythical land that has definite Asian influences in it. I am certainly looking forward to the next book in the series. I think fans of The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco would enjoy this book as much as I did. I highly recommend it. ( )
  Verkruissen | Sep 29, 2020 |
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart is a fascinating story about magic and power. Sure, magic and power are common storylines, but Ms. Stewart puts it together in a refreshing way. Moreover, for all the rather dark nature of most of the magic that occurs within the story, it is a hopeful plot. All of this makes a fantasy novel that rises to the top of a spectacular list of new releases this autumn.

Some series read like series. You know the first two novels are going to end on cliffhangers, and the first story either explains too much to establish the world or doesn’t explain enough. The Bone Shard Daughter is neither one nor the other. Nor does it end with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger.

Instead, it ends at what I would consider a natural break in the story. We meet all the main players in the action and learn their stories. In addition, we gain some basic knowledge about the world and receive hints about a greater problem that these characters will face. Lastly, we obtain the resolution of certain smaller plots which only serve to lead to the next conflict. In short, it is exactly what the first book in a series should be.

One of the best aspects of The Bone Shard Daughter is the balance between questions and answers Ms. Stewart maintains. She provides readers with the perfect number of answers that allow us to understand what is happening. At the same time, she allows the story to naturally raise more questions, keeping your interest.

This is true of every part of the book. It is as if The Bone Shard Daughter is just the tip of an iceberg, with the rest of the series being those portions of the ice still underwater. We know the characters are going to come together in some way but don’t know how or why just yet. The magic we see is not the only magic that exists in this world. Again, we know this but don’t know what it means or what form this other magic will take. Rather than detracting from the story, knowing that there is more to come for the characters and the world-building only enhances it because it is such a satisfying story.

Like most fantasy novels, the cast of characters is not small. There are four narrators who take us through the action, and they are all fabulous. Compassionate and complex, they are not afraid to admit their faults. Moreover, they all have such passion for their chosen path. They are all about righting wrongs, even as they realize their methods may not be the best to achieve that aim. There is a surprising amount of character growth as well, as these are characters who learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. I am excited to see what Ms. Stewart has in store for them all in future stories.

The Bone Shard Daughter is one of those novels that burrows its way under your skin. You find yourself constantly thinking about it, even when you would prefer to be asleep. The hopefulness of the characters bleeds into your everyday life, and suddenly the world looks like a place where you can make a difference. I want to put The Bone Shard Daughter into the hand of every fantasy lover because it is deserving of becoming a best seller. ( )
1 vote jmchshannon | Sep 18, 2020 |
Lin is the Emperor's daughter and only child, but her father believes her to be broken. An illness five years earlier has taken away her memories and, in her father's eyes, unfit to learn the bone shard magic that is the Empire's source of power. Her foster brother Bayan appears to be the one favored by her father. Only by regaining memories can she earn keys to unlock rooms that will teach her her birthright. Lin has a plan.

Jovis is on a mission to discover what happened to his wife. Seven years ago she disappeared and a coin was left on her bed for each year of her life. The only clue is a ship with blue sails headed East. Jovis has had few leads, but a new sighting of the ship inspires him to do whatever it takes to find her and rescue her. A new companion from the deep seas provides unexpected guidance and aid.

The other story arcs are told from the perspectives of Phalue & Ranami, lovers on different sides of a class struggle, and a woman named Sand on a distant island who, after an accident, becomes self-aware and realizes she may be a prisoner.

'The Bone Shard Daughter' is amazing. The magic system was intense. Every citizen of the Empire must be trepanned after turning 8 years old and their bone shard to be used in a construct at some point in their life. The use of their shard eventually makes them ill and shortens their life span - greatly or slightly citizens never know as different constructs use up the magic at different rates. I was hooked into the story from the beginning. I can't wait to read more from this author!

The Drowning Empire

Next: '?' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Sep 11, 2020 |
I won an early copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

The Bone Shard Daughter is one of the best books, fantasy or otherwise, that I have read this year--that's out of 90 books. It's an innovative fantasy set among far-flung islands, where the Emperor wields bone shard magic. Every person in the empire, as a child, is trepanned at a certain age to remove a small piece of bone from their skull. Some don't survive the operation. The Emperor keeps a vast catalog of these shards, and via magic taps into their life to empower grotesque, complex creations programmed to his whims. The people whose shards are used eventually grow sick and die.

Needless to say, there's a bit of rebellion brewing amid the islands.

The book hops across a number of unique, fascinating points of view, but the two major ones are Lin and Jovis. Lin is the Emperor's daughter, who has been disowned and scorned in favor of a foster brother ever since she lost a chunk of her memory due to illness. She's desperate to earn her father's love and respect again--but not at the cost of her inherent goodness. Jovis, meanwhile, is a smuggler on a search for his long-vanished childhood sweetheart. When he escapes an island that mysteriously and catastrophically sinks, he comes across a strange cat-like creature swimming and takes it in. This creature subsequently steals his heart (and that of anyone who reads this book, honestly).

I found this to be an incredibly fast, smooth read. There are loads of revelations revealed at a perfect pace. Some I predicted; others, I definitely did not. The climactic finish is awesome, and ties up the most urgent plot threads while leaving plenty dangling to be resolved in future books. I can't wait to see where this story will go next! ( )
  ladycato | Sep 5, 2020 |
The Bone Shard Daughter is the first book in The Drowning Empire series. The first chapter drew me in quickly and I was intrigued from the start. The writing is fluid and the magic system is so unique!

Now, the downfall. This book jumps between five different character POVs with each chapter. Usually, I love the depth and diversity this type of writing style can provide to a story, but unfortunately, I didn't get that with this story. I was easily distracted and highly disconnected from each character. I didn't feel like they weaved together as well as they could have early on and there was way too much going on, I honestly got confused.

I did only get 50% through the book before I gave up. I'm saddened I couldn't get into the story, that I wasn't gripped or invested in the characters, but it just missed the mark.

Overall, the concept is great and obviously I'm in the minority with my review. I'm so glad others can find enjoyment in this novel! Thank you NetGalley and Orbit for an advanced e-copy to read and honestly review. ( )
  Lea.Pearl | Aug 23, 2020 |
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For my sister, Kristen, who has read nearly everything I've ever written. I owe you.
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Father told me I'm broken.
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