Book review-The bone shard daughter by Andrea Stewart

Genre Fantasy series

The first book in an intriguing fantasy series with a diverse range of characters iand an atypical magic system. I can’t wait to read the next book especially if there is more of Jorvis, pirate turned accidental hero. Here’s why

The emperor has kept his people safe with a special form of magic- he can create constructs that follow his commands but this comes at a high cost acceptable only to him. The constructs are created from small shards of bone taken from children, in a special ceremony that can sometimes be fatal.

When a person’s bone shard is in use by the emperor, their life force slowly drains leading to a slow, painful death. Lin, the emperor’s daughter tries to master this magic behind her father’s back and in the process realises that the empire is failing and she needs to stop her father. But she isn’t the only one who feels this way, there is a revolution brewing across the empire.

The Good

I found myself immersed in a well-realised world with a magic system that felt fresh and new. The story is told through several points of view-my favourites were  Lin the emperor’s daughter, Jovis, a pirate and accidental hero of the people and Phalue, the governor’s daughter and reluctant rebel leader. The points of view are a mix of first person and third person which works really well and keeps the plot moving naturally.

The plot is fast paced with no lag, with plenty of action scenes and Jovis provides plenty of humour especially in his interactions with Memphi, a strange animal who adopts and his ongoing bewilderment when he finds himself becoming a hero by accident. The mystery surrounding Lin’s origins and the emperor’s experiments kept me hooked till the end.

The description of this world was vivid and I loved this wasn’t your typical European, medieval world that tends to dominate this genre with a diverse range of characters.

The ending was satisfying and unexpected and fit in well with the rest of the book (  with a nice twist but one that makes sense). Lin, Phalue and Jorvis are well rounded, fleshed out and with realistic motivations and if some unintended good comes out of their actions, that’s fine too.

The romance between Phalue and Ramani is sweet and is a nice counterbalance to Jorvis’s doomed love story.

The bad

Not much. I found Ramani’s and Sand viewpoints bland and boring although in Sand’s case this makes more sense as the story progresses- hopefully, in the next book she turns out to be a bit more interesting. I really hope this is the last we see of bland, condescending Ramani.

The ugly

There are descriptions of children dying which some readers may find a bit hard to read ( or that might be just me).

Any cliffhangers?

No, the main threads are resolved but there are several unresolved subplots and an overriding arch that spill into the next book.

Perfect for

Any fans of fantasy keen to read about a diverse range of characters. If I could compare this to any other fantasy series it would be The six of Crows and The crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.


Five stars– An amazing start to a new fantasy series and I can’t wait to read more!

4 thoughts on “Book review-The bone shard daughter by Andrea Stewart

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