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First and foremost, what I primarily look for a fantasy is a unique magic system that instantly grasps my attention. Well! It's a prerequisite and let's be honest fantasies are a portal to another realm so I WANT AN INTRICATE MAGICAL WORLD, thank you very much!
Now, from the sound of it, The Bone Shard Daughter already had my vote because uhmmmm magic from bone shards??? Monster like creatures called constructs built from the shards of bones of citizens are deployed and programmed to obey the commands of the tyrannical Emperor Shiyen. The magic system that Bone Shard Daughter is built upon is not only unique in every sense but also puts your brain cells to work trying to fit the story out the multiple narrators into the plot!
Lin, the emperor's daughter who is in a quest to retrieve or rather trying to solve the mystery behind her lost memories finds herself in a cut-throat competition against her foster brother Bayan for the throne. Jovis, a smuggler who sets sail to find his longlost wife adorns the role our accidental hero quite dramatically and ohmygosh WE ARE HERE FOR IT! Oh and Mephi, Jovis's companion deserves a spinoff of his own!! Phalue, the daughter of one of the island's governor under the Emperor's rule and next in line to be the governor finds herself questioning her father's rule under the influence of her girlfriend Ranami. And now as the empire is in tatters with islands sinking and the Ancient Alanga civilisation returning the story takes a striking turn with secrets being bought to light , powers being revealed and alliances being formed.
Andrea makes it a compulsion for readers getting sweeped off their feet with the exhilarating drama packed in the story as it unwraps layer after layer. You would almost feel as if she is done with the twists only to be sucker punched by another ! *chef's kiss* And whatt this is only just the first part of the series? :")
This fantastic atmospheric debut definitely soared to my expectations and gave me some unforgettable characters to hold on to!
The Bone Shard Daughter shares with us an expansive world filled with magic and politics. There is a rebellion brewing in the air, a disgruntled princess, a smuggler, a governor’s heir and her love who grew up on the streets, a person with no memories of her past, and echoes of impending return of long gone empire. How all of these lives intertwined and worked as the roots of an enormous banyan tree that created the big picture was really interesting to see.
I really liked how every single character has a very distinct voice in this story. They are all very different and fun to read. Although, all of them do not get the same amount of space in the book, I found myself looking forward to each of POVs. I never felt like I was drudging through one POV to get to another character’s whose I liked more. I also like that there are no clear divides of good and evil when it comes to these characters. It is a complicated world and so are these characters as they live through it. I found myself completely engrossed in the stories of each of these characters.
The world of The Bone Shard Daughter is also extremely interesting because rather than having large swaths of land, it is covered in floating islands; some of which are being engulfed by the sea. I think, it added a very riveting element to the world in comparison to having continents or different countries because it presented certain challenges when it came to how an empire is sustained and governed.
It was very appealing to me, the way that different POVs in the book explore different aspects of human society and emotions. Lin is focused on her birthright and how that affects the lives of people in her empire, Jovis is drowning in grief and yet holding onto grief, Phalue and Ranami explore the distinctions of class, privilege and the ignorance that comes along with it, and Sand dissects the feelings of being lost in more ways than one and trying to find oneself.
To someone who sticks to YA because I find adult fantasies to be dense and have very flowery writing, this book was a swift ride with its beautiful writing that never feels suffocating or unnecessary. I also liked that rather than relying on exposition heavy chapters, the book disperses its very fascinating lore, history and magic all over the book.
However, the book does suffer from a slow pace, especially in the beginning. Although, I found those chapters to be beguiling, I was also consistently waiting for something to happen that would kick the entire book into gear rather than just certain characters. Apart from that, the book feels like a setup for the next installments of the series which left me wanting more explanations. I had seen many people call this a sapphic book (though it wasn’t the author or the publisher), it was kind of disappointing to find very less focus on the relationship between Phalue and Ranami; more so because I found their dynamic and conversations to be extremely compelling.
After finishing this book, I am certainly hungry for more. This book is a smashing adult fantasy debut that certainly filled my fantasy loving heart to the brim. I can’t wait to see more of these characters in the next book and ardently await its release. Would highly recommend this book if you are used to reading YA Fantasy and are intimidated by Adult ones. If you do not lie in that category, I would highly recommend it nonetheless.
My Review: I think Bone Shard Daughter is an incredible book that has some very interesting things that it has done with its structure, it's multiple POV narrative. The author does a wonderful job with it's POV, that the main 2 characters are in first person, so they are highlighted as more important. The other 2 perspectives in the story are in 3rd person, so we understand the events happening with them as something going on in the background.
I think this is something the author does beautifully, because the transitions are so seamless between the chapters that it never feels like stumbling or disjointed.
QUOTE- "When a shark offers up a pearl, be wary of it's teeth."
Another thing I'd like to point out is that one of the 1st person POV, of this character named Lin, is pretty heavy with fantasy elements. But the author keeps this fact in mind and makes the other storylines very light with the mystical elements and indulges more into the politics of the world. This helps the book from getting too dense, and makes it very easy to get through and enjoy.
These are some things I that I feel would be very great for a book club read, and very constructive towards learning the use of POV, world building, and when trying to inculcate aspects of different genres in a story.
CHARACTERS- The characters, especially Jovis, was one of my favourite parts of the story. There is also a very cute animal companion trope that was adorable 🥰!
Jovis is kind of a reluctant- hero, who is just someone who’s looking for his wife that went missing years ago and keeps stumbling into situations where he ends up saving a bunch of people; and now people are writing songs about him. It’s very entertaining and he’s so, so precious.
There’s also a character named Lin, who is the daughter of the King, but for some reason she’s has lost her memories and now her father is forcing her to somehow get them back. He isn’t telling her a lot of things; he’s being very cryptic, and if she doesn’t get her memories very soon he’ll give the throne to her foster brother instead.
QUOTE- "Listening is an art. It's not so much sometimes in letting the other person speak as in asking them the right questions. " Then there is a third and fourth POV, which are together, and are a little father away from the main kingdom. This way the author really masterfully encompasses the whole area with these selective perspectives and we get to see all these different sides of a revolution.
There is also these little tidbits of a fifth POV of this girl on an island, and it’s very strange and very bizarre. Most of the time you’re like, “What the heck is going on!?” and it’s a little confusing. But it’s very fun to piece it together like puzzle pieces.
WRITING- I think the writing might be something of a tipping point for readers when picking up this book, because unlike some fantasy stories, it chooses to deliver all itself information organically. Which kinda means that you don’t get a lot of info dumps or explanations. In the very beginning the author holds back some information and chooses reveal them only as start to become relevant to the character. It might be a little frustrating for some people, but I personally actually prefer the world-building and the magic delivered to m that way, just because it keeps things authentic and I don’t mind being in the dark for a little bit if the pay-off’s gonna be great.
Some of the twists and turns, and reveals that come along actually threw me off a little, because for a second you think you’ve guessed what’s gonna happen next, but then something completely different happens. They we’re really well- executed and unpredictable.
I can’t wait for the sequel, Bone Shard Emperor to come out! If you haven’t picked this book uo already, I highly recommend that you do!
Some first novels are worthy. Some are clever. Few are so beautifully written that they could be sold as literary novels and yet still have a gripping narrative and utterly absorbing characters. Lin, the Emperor’s Bone Shard Daughter is an utterly charming primary character, but Jovis, and Mephi provide an action-focused counterfoil. The magic feels smooth and real and beautifully ancient. I loved this. I’m really looking forward to the next one.
Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for honest review. An intriguing start to what looks to be an interesting high-fantasy series, with a good set ofcharacters and a great premise: shards of bone used to magically power monstrous constructs (think Frankenstein) and the people from whom these shards were taken, used as living batteries. All to keep control of an empire that is slowly but surely crumbling (in more ways than one) and where revolution is brewing, so the story really examines how a person's worth is decided. Late in the story revelations both pull the rug out from under you (I don't want to spoil anything, but, again, think Frankenstein) and leave you wondering about developments in the next book.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC of this book. Well, that was an enjoyable ride and loved every moment. I really what my own Mephy. I don't normally enjoy books that multiple POV's but with this story, it worked well. If you have not started this series yet, then I highly recommend that you do. I cannot wait to see what comes next in this exciting new fantasy world.
Well written. Not formulaic. I enjoyed the way the central ideas were developed - some new to me, within the realms of fantasy novels. Also found the characters believable and I found the protagonists engaging. Looking forward to the next in this series!
This has been the first book in ages that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Great character building and plot. Thank you for creating such a fresh new fantasy world without the usual repetitive cliches and storyline.