Fantasy, Science Fiction

Review: The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

A new SFF novel about bone shard magic, and a kingdom on the brink of revolution


Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.


Hello, hello! Before I start my review, how is everyone doing? How is life going for you?

Currently, I am in another lockdown in the UK. But this time, I’m a lot busier because universities and schools are still open. I didn’t think I would be able to get anything done except studying. However, I finally managed to find the time to pick up The Bone Shard Daughter, which I’ve been dying to read – and finish it!

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

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

by Andrea Stewart

Published August 8, 2020 by Orbit
Series: The Drowning Empire
ISBN: 0316541427

Data from Goodreads

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 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.

Rep: LGBTQIA+

My Review: A Very Immersive and Unique Fantasy

Wow wow wow! Where do I begin with this novel? Honestly, I wish I had read this sooner because I really enjoyed it – and I’m so grateful to the publisher, author, and Netgalley for this eARC!

The Pros: What worked for me

  • This book actually has multiple character perspectives, which really surprised me because there is no hint about that in the premise. I went into this novel thinking that it would only be about Lin, but we have 4 main characters here, each with their own story arch.
  • I liked pretty much all of the main characters. They each had a different voice and grew in their own ways as the story progressed.
  • The world-building here is fabulous! The sheer amount of detail makes this entire kingdom come to life. It had elements of Game of Thrones and City of Stairs to it, which I really enjoyed.
  • The plot was also very detailed and complex. As I mentioned, there are 4 main story arcs and each had so much depth to it. I did have my preferences but they were all really well done.
  • The way the author wrote this novel needs to be applauded. Juggling multiple POVs is no easy feat, and the author does it with so much precision that it seems effortless. There is some seriously good writing and talent being displayed here!
  • There are some very important themes like class privilege, revolution, and free will in this book; they are well-addressed and add depth to the story.
  • SAPPHIC ROMANCE FOR THE WIN!!!!!

The Cons: What I didn’t like

  • The pacing is slightly slow, and it may not appeal to readers who want a fast-paced novel. I personally loved it because there was a lot of worldbuilding going on but it may not be for everyone.
  • I wanted the magic system to be a bit more defined. While Lin’s development and discovery showed this, there was a lack of explanation when it came to other characters. I also wanted some more background on the mythology of the place… although I have a feeling we will find out more in the next book.
  • There were times when I felt that the connections between some characters were just not as fully realized as they could be; it was nearly there, but just … missing a little something.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It had so much to offer and delivered on so many fronts! I loved the different perspectives, the worldbuilding, and the writing style. I can’t believe I have to wait so long for the sequel – but you know I’m going to rush to grab it!

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it?

What SFF novel do you really want to read?

Vee Reading signature

4 thoughts on “Review: The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

  1. Excellent review, Vee! I hope you are well 🥰 The lockdown hasn’t affected me so much yet, as like you said universities are still open and I’m going into work just as often.

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I’m actually surprised that the lockdown has been a bit easier to manage this time around compared to last time. But maybe that’s because the restrictions don’t seem as severe, and there was more time to prepare for this. Hopefully, it doesn’t get extended!

  2. I looooved the worldbuilding and was really excited at the end to see the characters come together. It made me really excited for the sequel, although I admit the biggest excitement about the sequel is to find out more about Mephi. Sweet little Mephi!

    1. Yesss it was SOOOO good when the different plot lines began to converge! Mephi is definitely a favourite – and it seems like we might have another pet to fall in love with in the sequel… too bad it’s such a long wait!

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