Review | The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) by Andrea Stewart

Title: The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) by Andrea Stewart

Published: September 8, 2020

Genre(s): fantasy, adult, LGBT

Read as: audiobook and physical, owned

Rating: 4

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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. (Goodreads)

“I was Lin. I was the Emperor’s daughter. And I would show him that even broken daughters could wield power.”

Before we begin I would like to thank Judith from Dead Good Book Reviews for talking about this book so often and so positively that I finally gave in and read it. I should have gotten around to it sooner.

That being said, this was an excellent story and one I may not have picked up otherwise. I know what kind of reader I am, I am a devourer of fantasy romance and that is not what this book is. What it is is glorious. The Bone Shard Daughter is written from four different perspectives which, I admit, is not something I’m typically fond of. We’ve all ready one of those books where the multiple perspective become muddled and difficult to differentiate but this is not one of them. Each of the voices in the perspectives are clearly defined and so vastly different that you never get them mixed up in your head.

One perspective, and the one I feel that the overarching story truly revolves around, is Lin. Lin is the daughter of the aging emperor and she is competing with her adoptive brother for the right to inherit the throne. The problem? Lin’s memory is severely damaged and she has no memory of anything beyond five years ago. But, Lin is clever and goes beyond her father’s wishes in an attempt to gain power and knowledge. Along the way she finds out things about herself and her adoptive brother that she would have never dreamed along with the complicated bone shard magic that was previously kept from her.

But, let’s skip over to my favorite perspective, shall we? Jovis is a former military man turned smuggler as he searches for his wife that was stolen from their home seven years prior. He tends to get himself into some sticky situations and despite his attempts to stay focused on his goal his big heart sees him poking his nose in where he feels that it truly doesn’t belong. Our conflicted Jovis has a companion, Mephi. Mephi, well, we aren’t quite sure what Mephi is but Jovis scooped him from the sea to keep him from drowning. The furry creature has the power of speech, has nubby little horns, and loves him some fish. He is also, somehow, magical. Honestly, if you read this book just for Mephi it would be worth it.

Overall this was a wonderful read. All of our characters go about their own lives within the empire and have their own struggles, successes, and failures. As with all good multi-perspective books, as their stories progress you begin to see more and more how all of these characters are connected even if they don’t know it themselves. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series to see how the Drowning Empire continues to explore these connections and what comes of the floundering government and the political upheavals. I see betrayal in the future!

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