I received an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. I have shouted from the top of my lungs that The Bone Shard Daughter was my favorite book released in 2020 and I am very pleased to say that The Bone Shard Emperor is even better! Everything introduced in book 1 is built upon and expanded in this vast Empire which is also drowning beneath the seas. Several mysteries will be revealed while new ones will keep popping up throughout the story with an ending that will have you begging the concluding volume. I need it like my first cup of coffee in the morning! The Drowning Empire is one of the best fantasy series you can read on the market today and a personal favorite of mine. This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching upon events from the first novel.
Lin, having killed her father after learning the terrible things he was doing beneath the palace, is now the ruling Emperor. Lin also discovered the creature her father was using for his experiments and has set her free with the name Thrana. They will develop a special bond as new powers will awaken in Lin similar to Jovis and Mephi, but Thrana will be forever haunted my her trauma. The constructs that Lin’s father controlled using Bone Shard Magic are either being destroyed or are running free in the Empire with no orders. Anyone can use these constructs to their advantage and Lin makes a direct order for all constructs to be destroyed throughout the Empire. Lin will travel to the several islands looking to secure alliances for her new rule but that is easier said than done. The governors are not so easily persuaded and the Alangi are returning to the world.
Jovis is now the captain of the imperial guard under Lin and will travel the islands with her. Little does Lin know that Jovis is a double agent working for the Shardless Few and he is given a mission to find her weakness in order to get Lin to abdicate the throne. Jovis will also be given a new mission to discover some long lost artifacts of the Alangi when he stumbles upon a long lost journal. This journal contains a life story of one such Alangi and what happened to them many years ago through translations done at the beginning of Jovis’ chapters. I loved this addition to the story and learning about the past while separate for the dialogue of our characters. Jovis will discover terrible secrets that will set up the rest of this story and the concluding volume with a bang!
Finally we have my favorite side character Sand, or as we have discovered at the end of Bone Shard Emperor is a construct of Nisong, the recent Emperor’s wife and Lin’s Mother. Sand has recovered the memories of her former self and is able to use Bone Shard magic herself. She wants vengeance on the Empire for doing this to herself and her friends she made on the island where they were running around doing the same monotonous task due to the mind bog. Sand is building a construct army and is coming for the capital with all her might. You will not want to miss this exciting and shocking buildup.
Similar to book 1, Andrea Stewart has written Lin and Jovis in the first person POV while the other side characters including Sand are written in the third person POV. Andrea is the only author I have read to try this type of format and it is done brilliantly! I also realize that this can be and probably is a huge challenge for authors to tackle, which is why we rarely see this in fantasy books. Plus all the twists Andrea has up her sleeve, this series can do no wrong. I remember vividly being shocked by twists in back to back chapters as if I was in a boxing match with one punch to the head and the other to the gut. I have come to expect this in Andrea’s writing but nothing will prepare you for it. The writing is smooth but emotional and will not let you up for breath anytime soon. I had to wake up in the middle of the night to finish this book because it wouldn’t let me sleep!
To sum up this long winded review, I loved this book! It has everything you could ever ask for in a fantasy sequel and will only build upon your expectation and love for the world. Andrea has said on social media that this was a difficult book for her to write, but the hard work paid off tenfold. I can’t wait to read the concluding volume when the time comes. Another 5 star book for me. Come and join the fun!