The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart @AndreaGStewart @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Posted September 18, 2020 by midnightreview in Reviews / 1 Comment


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.

An unmissable fantasy debut for 2020 – a captivating tale of magic, revolution and mystery, where a young woman’s sense of identity will make or break an empire. Perfect for fans of CITY OF BRASS, THE POPPY WAR and EMPIRE OF SAND

My Review

The Bone Shard Daughter is one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it did not disappoint. This is a phenomenal debut novel; it has all the elements I love in a fantasy novel. Complex characters, brilliant World building, an interesting and unique magic system, all combined with politics, mystery and revolution.

World Building

The World that Andrea has created is unlike anything I have read about before. Everyone lives on floating islands that are collectively called the Monkeys Tail, surrounded by the Endless Sea. Some of these islands do not come into contact with one another for years at a time, others are just a days sail away.

All seem to have a purpose within the Empire, ruled by Governors under the Emperor. Revolution is a foot on some of these islands, change is coming and the Emperors rule is failing.

Monstrously grotesque beings called constructs run the Emperors affairs. They are created using bone shard magic, closely guarded by the Emperor himself. Using bones of the people of the islands collected when they are just children. Supposedly they are giving up their bone shard for the greater good. To protect the kingdom from an enemy long gone.

Some of these constructs are truly creepy, this magic is passed on from Emperor to son/daughter. What really is the true cost of this magic though?


As the story is told across several islands, it is also told from several perspectives. Lin the Emperor’s daughter, Jovis the smuggler, Phalue a Governors daughter and Sand, working on an island with no memory of who she was previously.

The changing perspectives is never jarring and flows beautifully. The point of view is swapped each chapter, sometimes leaving us with a ‘wait, what?!’ moment. Especially in the later half of the book. Wow there were a few unexpected turns of events.

Each voice is unique and gives us a good insight as to what is happening across the islands. As I’ve previously said the characters are wonderfully complex. All trying to survive in a world that seems to be rapidly changing.

I especially liked Jovis, torn as what to do for the best and finding himself in some very precarious situations. Along the way he picks up Mephi, a creature from the Endless Sea. Mephi is very special with a personality all of his own. There is something more going on there, that I really hope is explored in more depth in the future books.

I’d also love to know what other creatures lurk beneath the depths of the Endless Sea.

Final Thoughts

Andrea’s story telling is incredible, I was fully infested from the get go. For a big book it took me very little time to read. The chapters are short and the pacing is perfect. I did not want to put it down. I loved how real it all felt as well. This is a revolution after all, the death and destruction that comes with it are not shied away from. However, this is interspersed with some lovely quiet and tender moments.

A perfect fantasy novel from beginning to end. I cannot wait to see where the next in the series goes, I’m sure it won’t be what we expect.

Many thanks to Tracy for my invitation onto the tour and to Orbit for my copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Author Bio

Andrea Stewart is the Chinese American daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California.

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