My memory was lacking. But I knew who I was now. I was Lin. I was the Emperor’s daughter. And I would show him that even broken daughters could wield power.
I honestly have been so hyped for this book for so long that I couldn’t believe it when I made it onto the blog tour! An established f/f relationship, bone magic, travelling islands and a magical creature with personality? Sign me the hell up. I can’t wait to get my physical copy of this book after release date, because I think this might be even better on the reread.
Rating: 4.5 stars!
Thanks to Orbit Books for the review copy of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
Trigger Warnings: parental abuse, parental neglect, child death/murder, human and animal experimentation, violence, murder, coercion.
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.
What did I think?
The strangest thing about my The Bone Shard Daughter read was knowing even as I read it the first time that I was going to love it even more fiercely on the reread. I have a Goldsboro edition on its way to me this month and I can’t wait to reread as soon as it’s in my hands.
The Bone Shard Daughter was nothing like what I expected, but somehow much better. It had several POV characters, each on a different island in the very cool moving islands that make up the book’s setting, though they do eventually converge in unexpected ways. At first I struggled a little with having all those POVs to keep track of, but by the halfway mark I was so attached to all of them that I didn’t mind. The switches from POV to POV were never confusing and flowed really well, keeping me on my toes and eager for more. Please don’t let the multiple POV put you off, they’ve been pieced together perfectly to tell the story as it unravelled across the islands.
The bone shard magic was different to what I expected (yes, I’m quick to assume eerie necromancy) but that actually made it more interesting as it was a creative and new, at least to me, concept. The constructs sound as creepy as they do fascinating, and I would be all over this bone magic if it wasn’t for the horrible, horrible consequences – and I’m a real sucker for magic with horrible consequences. I admit I thought that Lin, daughter to the emperor and heir to the bone shards, would be the main character and I was initially a touch disappointed to realise Jovis was more focal. I say initially, because as soon as I met Mephi his perspective was all! I! card! about! Mephi is the cutest creature and I’m really excited to see if my Suspicions about him play out in later books in the series.
The established f/f relationship was, unsurprisingly, a draw to me and I really liked the way that it played out. The way class differences and complicity were tackled was incredibly interesting and I liked that the POV character was the privileged character as the process of examining biases and privilege isn’t one that I’ve seen personally in fiction very much. It made for an interesting dichotomy, where I was rooting for Phalue and Ranami while also fully not blaming Ranami for her anger.
Overall this was a brilliant read, with twists threaded throughout that unravelled slowly but steadily and kept me guessing. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series is headed and to, no doubt, find a few more of those gasp out loud reveals that got me so good in this one.
Add it on Goodreads here!