ARC Review: The Bone Shard Daughter



SERIES: The Drowning Empire #1

REPRESENTATION: POC cast, established FF relationship

GENRES/ SUBJECTS: Science Fantasy



I went into THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER without knowing much about it. It wasn’t what I expecting, but I’m not sure what I was or what was different. It combines a lot of different things: a floating island empire, a rivalry of imperial heirs, hidden memories, rebellions, smugglers, and Frankenstein-like creations.

The magic system — the bone shards, tithing and constructs — was fascinating, and unlike anything I can remember reading recently. I loved the dark, grittiness of the magic and the way it felt really rooted in the violence, inequality and realism of the world rather than being a sparkly, airy type of magic. It had a much stronger Frankenstein and science fiction feel than the necromancy I was expecting, but it was probably all the better or it. Combined with the collapsing empire and sinking islands, Stewart has created a fascinating world here.

It was the f/f relationship that drew me to THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER but those POVs actually ended up being my least favourite in terms of the story. From the marketing and hype, I had thought one of the sapphic characters would be the main character but, on the otherhand, I wasn’t too disappointed as I thought Lin and Jovis were the two more compelling characters anyway (and it seems like they’ll be the focus moving forward).

Another slight POV issue was that I was expecting Lin to have the most scenes just because (like with another recent read, THE FIRST SISTER) you’d think the title character would, if not being the only POV, get the largest slice of the pie. Not that I minded — as I say, I really liked Jovis — but it did throw me a little at the start. While the multi-pov was interesting, I think I’d have preferred if it had spent some more time focused on Lin’s claustrophobic, controlled life in the palace.

With several POV characters, locations and a lot of supporting characters to get through, I did think the pacing was rather slow to begin with. THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER hit its stride by the end of the first act and was well-paced until the ending, which felt a little rushed and over-packed.

While I had a few issues with THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER, I thought it was unique and, for the most part, incredibly compelling. The characters were interesting as well as likeable and the world felt deep and complex. It’s a very promising start to the series.

The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1)

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.

A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.

4 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Bone Shard Daughter”

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