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The Bone Shard Daughter - Review

The Bone Shard Daughter ♦ Andrea Stewart | Review

An Intriguing Puzzle with a Challenging Read

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart, the first novel in The Drowning Empire trilogy, offers a complex narrative that weaves together various perspectives in a world of magic and political intrigue. While this piece has its charms, it also has several flaws that may not appeal to every reader.

The Bone Shard DaughterThe Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
Series: The Drowning Empire #1
Published: 10. September 2020
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 438
Genre: High Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Magic
Audience: Adult
Shelve: Read 2023
Link to Goodreads

The Sukai Dynasty has ruled the Phoenix Empire for over a century, their mastery of bone shard magic powering the monstrous constructs that maintain law and order. But now the emperor's rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire's many islands.

Lin is the Emperor's daughter, but a mysterious illness has stolen her childhood memories and her status as heir to the empire. Trapped in a palace of locked doors and old secrets, Lin vows to reclaim her birthright by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

But the mysteries behind such power are dark and deep, and wielding her family's magic carries a great cost. When the revolution reaches the gates of the palace itself, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her throne - and save her people.

The Bone Shard Daughter is an unmissable fantasy debut for 2020 - a captivating tale of magic, revolution and mystery, where a young woman's sense of identity will make or break an empire.

Buy the Book: Amazon*

The Bone Shard Daughter ♦ Andrea Stewart


The Bone Shard Daughter has a complicated plot, in which multiple protagonists embark on challenges that finally interlock like puzzle pieces, is one of its most prominent features. Stewart’s expertise in building a unified narrative is demonstrated by the way their various storylines converge. With its bone shard magic system and strange islands, the world-building adds dimension to the plot, creating a complex and immersive atmosphere.

The writing style, however, proves to be frustrating for some readers, making it a difficult read. The text may be dense and intricate, necessitating a high level of focus to properly appreciate the story’s intricacies. This readability problem can detract from the overall enjoyment of the work, potentially discouraging readers from fully interacting with the characters and their arcs.

In terms of characters, The Bone Shard Daughter introduces four main characters, each with their own points of view and journeys. Unfortunately, the difficult writing style makes it impossible to sympathize with all of them equally. Jovis emerges as the most engaging character, with his travels in particular standing out. Lin and her quest are equally interesting, however the tie to her father’s love, the Emperor, feels a little thin, almost as if a plot twist was hinted at from the start.

On the other hand, Phalue comes across as the least sympathetic character, but she could find some redemption (by the reader) in the end, and Sand’s narrative, despite taking a surprising turn, feels somewhat short and underdeveloped, intentionally. These uneven characterizations contribute to a sense of imbalance in the overall narrative.



Lastly, The Bone Shard Daughter is an intriguing story puzzle that elegantly connects disparate paths. However, some readers may be put off by the difficult writing style and uneven characterization. Despite these flaws, the Andrea Stewart manages to create a captivating story that leaves room for anticipation as the trilogy progresses.

The Drowning Empire — The Series

The Bone Shard Daughter (#1)The Bone Shard Emperor (#2)
The Bone Shard War (#3)

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