Review- The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Goodreads Synopsis: 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 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 recognize 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.

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, LGBT

Date of Publication: September 8th, 2020

Publisher: Orbit

Length: 438 pages

My rating: 4/5

Review: I saw this book on a list of top SFF books of 2020 and immediately added it to my TBR pile. It certainly was not over-hyped! The Bone Shard Daughter is a wild fantasy novel with a diverse cast of characters set in a wonderfully built world. The list of main characters is extensive, but easy to keep track of. We follow the path of Lin, who is trying desperately to prove her worth to her father the Emperor, while simultaneously sneaking around behind his back. Then there is Jovis, a smuggler looking for his lost love, and helping others along the way. We also have Phalue, the daughter of a Governor who wants nothing more than to live in peace with Ranami, her rebellious lover. But Ranami has other plans, and she wants Phalue to be a part of them. We also meet Sand, a mysterious woman who is slowly trying to figure out the truth about her past. Individually, these characters provide engaging storylines that slowly become intertwined as the story goes on. 

The chapters of this book bounce between these characters at random, which for me became frustrating. Just as I was getting really into what was happening to Lin, it would end on a mild cliffhanger and switch to someone else. Each chapter was like this! I’d get sucked in, and then just as something intense or exciting happened it would cut off and switch perspectives! Now what I’m essentially complaining about is the story being too engrossing, so it’s not the worst thing in the world. And really, how else would the author write a story with multiple perspectives without switching each chapter? 

With this many characters, the plot definitely had a lot of different elements going on. I enjoyed both the overarching storyline as well as the smaller side-plots. I feel that Andrea Stewart did a great job presenting the story in these cut-up pieces from all different sides, without making it overly complicated or confusing. As a whole, the individual storylines end up converging quite nicely, and nothing was left hanging or forgotten. The Bone Shard Daughter also presents some interesting new concepts in this fantasy world, like mysterious creatures, defeated godlike figures, magic made from human bone and Frankenstein-like creations.

The Bone Shard Daughter really delivered! It was thrilling to read, hard to put down, and left me excited for the next book. I recommend this book (and this series!) to any SFF lovers who are looking for a great new read. Book 2- The Bone Shard Emperor- has an expected release of November 11th, 2021! It’s already on my TBR list.

Have you read the Bone Shard Daughter? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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