From the blurb we’re told
“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.”
That sounded intriguing enough for me to want to read it as soon as it was released. Having now read the book, I think the blurb sums up what I’d want to say about Lin’s situation, and I enjoyed discovering the mysteries behind the closed doors with her. The blurb doesn’t touch on the fact that Jorvis has almost co-star status to Lin in this book. However, he doesn’t star alongside her so much as have his own story arc in a different part of the empire.
In yet another place, the reader meets a likeable set of very nearly starcrossed lovers in Phalue, a female soldier and future governor, and Ranami the pretty commoner who grew up as an orphan girl on the streets. With the number of key characters, we get introduced to you’d think that the story could get confusing, but it doesn’t. The strong characterisation and skilful plotting made it easy to follow the different story arcs to the satisfying conclusion. While it’s clear that things won’t be resolved fully until the next books in the series, the end is satisfying as it brings together various threads.
You get a sense that some of the organisations and people will be playing an even more significant role in the next book. It’s easy to imagine the people and the world in The Bone Shard Daughter, and I can fully understand why Andrea Stewart earned a six-figure deal for this trilogy if the next two books are as good as this first. Loyalty, oppression, rebellion, identity, and family are some of the main themes in this book, and Stewart executed these themes wonderfully.
Aside from the sometimes monstrous constructs, there is a mysterious creature that makes its appearance early on in the novel. I’d like you to discover more about it for yourself, but suffice to say it adds another element to the world-building as do the hints about an old threat to the Empire.
I consider this fantasy novel, a page-turner and a 5 star read; it has 448 pages, and I read it within two days.
If fantasy is one of your favourite genres, then I doubt you’ll find this debut novel lacking in its delivery.