I’m actually in the process of producing a dedicated video review of this book for my Youtube channel (Dead Good Book Reviews if you fancy a look) so forgive me if this is a little short and sweet – I don’t want to overlap too much!
I adored this book and I’m so excited that more people are going to have read it soon (I’m writing this review in June knowing it will be posted much later in the year so bear that in mind)!
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. TheBone 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.
The blurb on this book made me think it was going to all be from the perspective of the Emperor’s daughter Lin. I would not have been angry at that I thought Lin’s story was exceptionally cool and I loved her characterisation. I liked the mixture of power and self-doubt, she’s one of my favourite heroines of recent reads. But no, this is a multiple POV book and the characters and different perspectives are probably my favourite thing aside from the magic system. There’s something for everyone – the emperor’s daughter and her quiet subterfuge plot, the smuggler and the ‘unlikely hero’ plot, the queer couple who have to deal with coming to terms with privilege, and you have the mysterious POV about whom I will say no more to preserve the intrigue.
There wasn’t a single perspective that I didn’t enjoy – every different story was great.
The setting is also wonderful – the drowning empire is fascinating and terrifying in equal parts. From the government down to the environment it all comes together to make a place that captured my imagination. I can’t wait for later books in the series where we’ll hopefully get to see even more!
It’s the magic system that really sold me. Imagine combining bone magic (already cool) with…almost a fantasy programming language? Imagine then combining that AWESOME mixture with a macabre combining of animal parts to make weird hybrid constructs that obey your pre-written commands.
I mean IT’S JUST COOL.
I love a hard magic system and this is a great example of that. The implications of bone magic are horrific, and it’ll be interesting to see how later books tackle the fact that the coolest aspect of the book (in my opinion) is also the darkest.
There are also elements of magical animals in this story – in case you wanted another dose of ‘this book was basically written with me in mind get out of my head’.
I won’t pretend to have captured all the nuance of the story, as a white lady, but I thought that the discussion of power and privilege was really important in this book, and much appreciated. I liked that it came into play in a lot of different aspects of the story, not just one.
I’m so excited for more people to read this book – but it’s taking a spot as one of my favourite books of the year so far.
My rating:5/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
The Bone Shard Daughter is out September 10th!
What say you? Have I convinced you to pick this one up? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!