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'One of the best fantasy novels I've read in a long time...This book is truly special' Sarah J. Maas
Magic. Revolution. Identity.
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 she 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.
The Bone Shard Daughter is an unmissable fantasy debut - a captivating tale of magic, revolution and mystery, where a young woman's sense of identity will make or break an empire.
'A bold, ambitious debut' M. R. Carey
'Epic fantasy at its most human and heartfelt . . . inventive, adventurous and wonderfully written' Alix E. Harrow
'Brilliant world-building, deep intrigue and incredible heart' Megan E. O'Keefe
'Action-packed, must-read epic fantasy . . . One of the best debut fantasy novels of the year' Buzzfeed
'This brilliant fantasy debut has announced Andrea Stewart as quite possibly the best newcomer of the year' Novel Notions
The Drowning Empire series
The Bone Shard Daughter
The Bone Shard Emperor
The Bone Shard War (coming Spring '23)
Stewart interweaves multiple perspectives on the failing reign of an emperor in this bleakly atmospheric but predictable epic fantasy debut, the first in the Drowning Empire series. The leader of the Phoenix Empire is more interested in carving magic symbols onto the skull shards of the dead to power Frankenstein-like "constructs" that do his bidding than he is in ruling his living people. His daughter, Lin, struggles to please her father, regain her memories, and master bone shard magic after her foster-brother, Bayan, infects her with an illness that might cost her the crown. Meanwhile, Phaule, the daughter of a governor, is drawn into a plot against her father by the Shardless Few, a resistance group. The Shardless Few also enlist scene-stealing smuggler Jovis, who accidentally becomes a folk hero while searching for his kidnapped wife. In between the dovetailing narratives, a woman known as Sand tries to discover why she's imprisoned on an island without her memories. The magic system is well thought-out, and the Asian-inspired setting is a welcome break from European-esque epics, but the simplistic plotting and predictable twists put a damper on the inventive premise. Fans of grimdark epics will be drawn in but hope for more complexity in Stewart's next offering.