Synopsis: 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 Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.
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.(Goodreads)
Publication Date: September 8th, 2020 (Orbit Books)
Genres: Adult Fantasy
Trigger Warnings: mentions of blood and death of loved ones, violence, gore, drowning, memory loss, cutting skin (though not self-harm).
The Bone Shard Daughter had me intrigued as soon as I had read the synopsis for it and seen the gorgeous cover. This Adult SFF was well executed in its plotline and and I loved the way the story came together. Its pacing did affect my reading but it left me happy in the end.
The story for Bone Shard Daughter is about the Emperor’s daughter Lin who does not remember any memories from before five years ago. It also has Jovis, who is a wanted smuggler who’s on the search for his missing lover. This book also has three other characters: Phalue, Ranami and Sand. Lin and Jovis had the most page time but all five of their pov’s were truly interesting to me. The synopsis does make it seem like the story is only about Lin but its a multiple pov book. These multiple POVs was a bit jarring in the start but after the first 10 or so chapters, I was pretty used to it. Honestly, this story was so unique and unexpected that I could never be truly sure which direction its headed in but the intriguing atmosphere of the book kept me invested.
I loved how the detailed the world was and the way it all came together was simple amazing. There were many secrets and twists to the story and some were partly predictable but others took me by surprise and made me go “OH” which is always a great feeling. This is why I say that this was a very well-executed book especially the storyline. This book gets dark and creepy also and it felt like a full package.
There were five characters in this book of which Lin and Jovis have the most page time. I loved reading about all of them. Lin’s story was not just interesting but also always brimming with a sense of intrigue. I loved reading about her and her resilience and perseverance was amazing. Jovis who is a smuggler was super fun to read about. He also has the most adorable animal companion Mephi and he goes from “I don’t want a pet” to “I’ll hurt you bad if anything happens to him” and it was everything. Jovis was a realistic character who is just constantly tired of people around and kept being pushed into situations.
The other three were not as central characters as the other two but were equally important to the story. Phalue and Ranami were fascinating to read about and their relationship was also sweet. I really wished we got to see more of that but I am sure in the second book we will get to see more of them given how it ended. Sand was an interesting character and her story was filled with secrets. Sand doesn’t remember anything about her life and the reader and Sand discover it together as it goes ahead and the way her story was told was awesome. Sand had the least chapters but I can’t wait to read more of her story.
All in all, this book had a set of amazing characters and all different than the other but their stories came together beautifully and smoothly and it was truly such a great experience.
The World building
The world building was my favourite part about the book. It was intricate and so smartly done. Even though it was a big book, there was never any part where I felt bored or confused. It was so well put together and the author does an excellent job of weaving the world, the story and the characters together. It was seamless and the transition was also well done. More than anything, what I loved about the book was that it was very unique. The magic system was of bone shards and I loved how well it was constructed (pun intended). It was the kind of book which left me a little awed with the world because I was so in love with how it was set up. It was atmospheric and you can feel it while reading it.
The Writing and Pacing
The writing was good, simple and effective. It worked well with the story and the author’s simple writing with the intriguing plot really works well. Now the pacing was my biggest and probably only concern with the book. It was slow. As I said earlier, I did not get bored at any point but the slow pace did make me impatient at times and I wished it would hurry up. But reading how it all comes together, I honestly don’t count it as a major problem anymore. It’s slow but intriguing enough that you do not get bored and can push through it. It’s a lot like building blocks where the it can be a slow but the process and end make it totally worth it.
This book also discusses classism and privilege and the economic problems faced by the lower class because of the ignorance of those in power. It has themes about revolution and it talks about how is important to sacrifice and be true to your beliefs to bring in some real change. This forms a good part of the story.
Overall, The Bone Shard Daughter was a solid debut with a well written storyline and stunning world building and a unique magic system. If you’re a fan of adult epic fantasy and atmospheric and intriguing books with multiple characters, lots of secrets, twists and sapphic goodness, you MUST READ The Bone Shard Daughter.
Thank you to the publisher and author for providing me with an eARC through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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