Book Review: The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Title: The Bone Shard Daughter
Series: (The Drowning Empire #1)
Author: Andrea Stewart
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Rating: ★★★★

Thank you to Orbit for an advance finished copy of this book to review!


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.


The Bone Shard Daughter was a complex and expertly woven tale told from four POVs. Stewart does an amazing job of creating these characters and giving them each a distinct voice. I loved trying to figure out how their stories would entwine down the line. The world building was also extremely well done.

Lin and Jovis are considered the two central characters and are in first person while the other characters are told in third person. I’ve seen this done a few times before, but never so seamlessly. It doesn’t jar or take you out of the story.

Lin was my favorite character to follow. After losing her memories and being unable to recall how to work bone shard magic she’s just cast to the side, considered unworthy. I loved her determination to learn magic on her own and how she never wavered no matter what challenges she faced. She knew her place and was willing to fight for it.

Jovis was this prickly, highly trained smuggler working to undermine the kingdom and find his wife. I adored his magical animal companion Mephi and how instrumental he was to Jovis and not only his journey but his development as a person.

World-building is something I find extremely important and Stewart delivers. I felt like I was stepping into the story, everything was described so well without being overtly descriptive. There is also this sense of mystery about the kingdom though that creates this sense of urgency; like your missing a piece of the puzzle and need to figure it out fast. 

Honestly I could keep going on and on about this book but if I do it’ll be a never ending review! There is so much I’ve left out, but this book just has so much happening in it. It never feels overwhelming though and if I hadn’t gone into it knowing this was a debut novel I would have never put it in that category. If you’re looking for a complex, well written fantasy with a unique magical twist and ton of well rounded characters I could not recommend this one enough. 

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

  1. Katie @ Melting Pages Avatar

    I loved this one so much after reading the e-ARC that I bought a physical copy!

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