Book Review: “The Bone Shard Daughter” by Andrea Stewart

“I would drink a thousand lies just to see your face again.”

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 recognize 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.

I’ll be honest, I went into this book expecting a 4-star read at best. I’m not sure why. I just had that vibe. So tell me why this book has become one of my favorites of the year.

Well, I guess it’s actually my job to tell you. This is a review, after all. This novel is well-written with unforgettable characters, a thrilling plot, and inventive world-building. Every time I had to put the book down, I eagerly awaited the moment I could pick it up again. The Bone Shard Daughter is, in short, incredible.

The character motivations and development earn a chef’s kiss from me, especially when it comes to the two main protagonists Lin and Jovis. Lin starts as a princess with no memory and proves to be ambitious and resourceful. Jovis starts as a smuggler just trying to find his missing wife and proves to be more compassionate than he believes.

Then there’s Phalue and Ranami, a lesbian couple. Phalue is the governor’s daughter with a lot to learn and Ranami is a commoner with an idealistic heart. Watching them navigate their interpersonal conflict in conjunction with a budding rebellion really gives their relationship the gravitas is requires.

The last POV character is Sand, but I don’t want to say too much about her. Figuring out who and what she is is part of the appeal of her story. The reader doesn’t get to know Sand, Phalue, or Ranami quite as much as Lin and Jovis because they don’t have nearly as many POV chapters, but you still leave the story with a clear idea of who each of these characters are.

So, given all this, why is my favorite character Mephi? Who would’ve thought I’d love a dog-cat-otter-demon hybrid creature as much as I do? But he really brought this story to the next level. I’m always a sucker for an animal sidekick and Mephi is one of my all-time favorites.

In fact, I went into this book expecting to love the F/F relationship the most, but the relationship that actually struck me the deepest was the friendship between Jovis and Mephi. Not only is it the sweetest thing, but the two of them share some of the funniest moments in the entire book. I need more of them in my life.

As I mentioned earlier, this plot is exciting. If a book can be both character and plot-driven, then this one is. The action is stimulating and the twists are juicy. I was on the edge of my seat every chapter, never knowing what was going to happen next.

Though the world-building isn’t perfect, I thought it was really well done. I would’ve liked to know more about the Alanga, but I suspect that will come in the sequel. But honestly, it’s the magic system that really sticks out to me. Bone magic is my jam and Stewart takes that to a whole new level. It’s Gideon the Ninth by way of Daughter of Smoke and Bone in the most original way.

I could sing the praises of this incredible book all day, but I’ll wrap things up here. I recommend this book to absolutely everyone. Like fantasy? Read it. Like lesbians? Read it. Like adventure? Read it. Like rebellion? Read it. Like bone magic? Read it. Like animal sidekicks? Read it. You get the picture. I can’t believe I have to wait almost a year for the sequel. The Bone Shard Daughter has taken up residence in my heart and I’m never letting it leave.

OwnVoices Chinese-inspired world with exclusively Chinese analog characters & one mixed race character & 2 lesbians

Mentions of parental abuse (no children) & some mild body horror

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart? What are your thoughts? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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

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