The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart Book 1 of The Drowning Empire

This is Andrea Stewarts debut novel as she jumps into the deep ocean of epic fantasy. All I can say after reading this novel is quite simply WOW!!! This is the best novel I have read by far in 2020 and this book has instantly jumped into my top 5 favorite books of all time. This novel will sweep you off your feet and then drown you, the series title will suggest. Andrea Stewart has written a story unlike anything you will ever read and I can’t wait to tell everyone about it. This is a story about magic, lost memories, mysteries, and the rebellion.

First thing I would like to do it thank NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Bone Shard Daughter is one of the most original and creative stories you can find in epic fantasy. There were mysteries as well as mysterious creature around every turn that kept me up into the early morning seeking answers. The premise of the story is the emperor rules with an iron first, using bone shard magic to power the animal-like constructs around his kingdom. These powerful constructs maintain law and order, but a revolution is building in the empire’s many isles and the pot is about to boil over. Lin is the emperors daughter who seems to have suffered from amnesia in her early childhood. The emperor refuses to acknowledge Lin as the heir to the empire and Lin is force to master the forbidden bone shard magic and to traverse the palace for not only its secrets but also her hidden memories.

As you can probably tell, the characters are what shine the brightest in this story. Andrea Stewart does something very unique with her characters that you rarely see in fantasy. We have two main POV characters: Lin and Jovis. Jovis is a warranted criminal searching the empire for his childhood friend. His search eventually leads him to some questionable characters as they are looking to join the rebellion. Lin and Jovis are both presented to the reader in the first person and they are both written exceptionally well. We also follow several side POV’s that are all written in the third person. This was a little jarring at first as this is something I have never come across before, but the chapters are handled brilliantly and you will be able to pick it up very quickly. By far my favorite side character was Sand, a girl on a mysterious beach doing the same chores everyday until is realizes that she and her comrades have been brainwashed. I won’t go into anything further, but her story arc was amazing and reading her last chapters I had to pick up my mouth as it was touching the floor!

One more thing I should mention to all you readers who enjoy a good animal companion story, you are in for a treat. Jovis eventually comes across a mysterious fox like creature with magical powers and he will quickly become you new best friend. I can’t remember the last time I got struck by revelations and twists in 3 back-to-back-to-back chapters, especially the ending. Andrea Stewart was landing blow after blow on my fractured conscience and I just kept asking her for more like Oliver Twist. It has been almost four months since I have read this novel and it stills has my head spinning when thinking back on it.

Any lover of fantasy needs to pick this book up and I don’t use those words lightly. There is a storm coming for readers to jump on this bandwagon and you don’t want to get left behind. Besides John Gwynne, I can easily say that Andrea Stewart is my new favorite fantasy author writing today. Definitively worth the hype and praise, you don’t want to miss this! Congratulations Andrea, you have written a masterpiece.


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