Reviews

The Bone Shard Daughter, by Andrea Stewart

yourbestamericangirl's review

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5.0

i have the BIGGEST crush on masc sword lesbian, phalue, one of the "tallest women [jovis]" has ever seen. miss phalue r u free on friday i am free on friday night u should come hang out w me on friday night where i am free

the bone shard daughter is set on a strand of fantasy islands based on imperial china but has a healthy mix of asian representation, perfect to fancast as a cdrama sort of deal. best of all: no white people :) and its super diverse!!

it's told in five povs: an amnesiac heir to the sukai empire desperate to prove herself, a sarcastic criminal filled w grief and searching for his missing wife, a sword lesbian governor's daughter and a south asian rebel lesbian couple, and a mysterious woman trapped on an island with no memories. all four are tied together with a fragile bond that you won't see coming until the end.

this fantasy novel is the best ive read since six of crows and gripped me from the very first line, "father told me i'm broken," to the very last, filled with twists and intrigue that makes you hold your breath for an unbelievable amount of time.

long story short: it made me feel like a 'gifted' child of the broken school system desperate to escape reality through wondrous fantasy. so few fantasy books ever made me feel like that

i am SO excited 4 the next book pls can it be released sooner :( i want it so bad this is definitely going onto one of my favorite books of all time shelf

rep: entirely asian cast, lesbian mcs

scrollsofdragons's review

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medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.5

sheepishlysarah's review

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4.0

This was such a unique and interesting world! I kept thinking I had grasped at the thread that was going to unravel this tricky book and then it would surprise me. I conjured a lot of theories in this book that kept getting debunked and I liked being kept on my toes. At the start of the book I vastly preferred Lin's chapters but the other's won me over fairly quickly, especially Jovis (he has Mephi, how could I not love those chapters??) I really enjoyed Phalue and Ranami's relationship. It was so great to read an already established relationship and watch them work through their problems and navigate their particularly tricky situation. I remain intrigued by the final POV Sand, that final chapter spells trouble and I'm nervous for the next book.

sianhopper's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

aphrael's review

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3.0

Pretty creepy stuff. I enjoyed Lin, she's very resourceful, but the way the emperor treats everyone was just so severe, you'd think he was a construct rather than a human. I had hoped that Jovis would find his lady (who I'm assuming is Sand) within this book, but I guess it's in the next. The bond Mephi and Jovis have is really cute. I did think it was lovely that Jovis was able to let go of his wife through learning to love a weirdass mystical creature. There's some tremendous setup in this book, even as the empire falls apart. I do want to learn more about what actually Mephi is, I thought it might have something to do with those ancient people who might return. I didn't care super a lot about Ranami and Phalue but their moral dilemma's around their privilege and being beholden to the resistance were very interesting.

ryzar's review

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adventurous funny mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

isabeltavares's review against another edition

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5.0

This arc was provided by Orbit, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

4.5

Emahla, for you. I would drink a thousand lies just to see your face again.


If I had to give a short review, I'd follow Mephi's example and say it's "a very good." Now you may be thinking, "Isabel, what is a Mephi?" and to that, I say: read the book. You won't regret it!

The Bone Shard Daughter is the first installment to a new fantasy trilogy and it was incredible. It follows five different characters in a world composed of various islands under the rule of the Emperor, who has bone shard magic.

Bone shard magic consists of taking out a shard of someone's skull and using it to create constructs to do your bidding. However, as the shard powers the construct it drains the life of the shard's owner. And, to have sufficient shards to use, it takes place yearly the Tithing Festival where the shards are taken from a child as soon as they turn 8. And the Emperor requires many since he is distrustful of people, so his armies and advisors are all constructs.

Needless to say, the magic system completely fascinates me and is unlike any I have ever read. There is so much inventiveness in the system, the world, and how everything works, I have no doubt Stewart will become a favorite author of mine.

Even though there are 5 different POVs, I never felt bored by them. I was always looking forward to the next chapter, the next perspective since many things are going on. The characters are well crafted, I never had an issue distinguishing their voices and their motivations. Truthfully, it was refreshing to read a novel where I was captivated by everyone and I was eager to flip the pages.

I do wish that Ranami and Phalue had received more of a spotlight but it's a minor critic from me. Overall, I am smitten by this book and I will never shut up about it. Though I do admit that Mephi stole my heart. I want to adopt him so badly!

Do you love fantasy? Do you love intriguing stories, with secrets laced between each paragraph? Compelling characters? The Bone Shard Daughter is the right pick for you.

lisar83's review

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adventurous dark slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

kellysreads's review

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3.0

3.5

There was a lot in The Bone Shard’s Daughter that I really enjoyed - the mystery surrounding Lin’s lost memories, the Emperor’s eccentricities hinting at something nefarious, the mythology unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and the plots’ many layers that were meticulously built upon throughout the entire book to create an intricately woven story full of unexpected connections and plot twists.

I didn’t find myself overly invested in any of the characters, however, and there were parts of the wild-building that felt a bit glossed over or rushed. The passage of time was also a bit foggy, and I found myself disoriented a few times with how quickly a new skill was mastered - only to realize it had been weeks (or longer) in the making. There were also a lot of POVs, which took a while to come together holistically, so at times, I found my mind wandering, wondering why a certain POV was necessary.

By the end everything came together, with most if the major plot points addressed. I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel though, as there are still a lot of unanswered questions I’m hoping to see resolved!

adancewithbooks's review

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adventurous dark mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes

4.0

 Thank you to Little Brown Book Group UK for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This did not change my opinion in anyway. I bought a physical copy and read that instead of the review copy however because the ebook wouldn't work on my ereader.

The Bone Shard Daughter is one of those books that I heard a lot of buzz about before I picked it up. For the most part this book lived up to it.

The book is set in the empire. The emperor and his family have mastered bone shard magic. These bone shard power animal like constructs that help him rule. The downside? The bone shards are taken from young children and when in use drains life from them. It shortens their life. One can imagine this tickles the rebellion to act out, next to the bad ruling the emperor seems to be doing. And that is about where we start. 

We follow a few different characters from different sides of life. There is Jovis, a thief who has lost his wife. Lin, the daughter to the emperor who has lost her memory. Phalue, daugther to the governor of one of the islands. Ranami who is in love with Phalue but also a part of the rebellion ready to overthrow the governor. And a mystery character, Sand. It creates quite a few different story lines that slowly start intertwining with one another. 

There were mysteries, twists and turns. Some were pretty obvious. Others were an actual surprise. Overal I think the plot is interesting and because of the intertwining stories became one big one by the end of the book. One where we will find all the characters together at some point. 

The focus lies with Jovis and Lin. They move the story forward with big sweeping stories. Jovis who stands outside of the society by being a haunted thief, just trying to find his wife by any means possible. It means he doesn't have that much contact with other people. Lin on the other hand is mostly stuck in the palace, her only interaction being her father and a taken in boy outside of the animal constructs. She sees how her father mismanages the empire and how he has little interest for their people. She wants to change that. 

Both are great to follow as characters. Lin wants to learn, wants to do better. She thinks the way to that is the bone shard magic but along the way she learns to evaluate that. Jovis on the other hand is more focused on himself and doesn't want much to do with the empire's problems. That changes when he meets the creature Mephi. He opens his heart to it a little and along the way he finds himself falling into helping his people too. I loved his relationship with Mephi <3. 

Character wise I wasn't quite as drawn to Phalue and Ranami. However their story was very important to tell next to Lin and Jovis. Because they gave the perspective of the society. How was it really in the rest of the empire? How is day to day life and how does the empire's rule affect their lives? The relationship between Phalue and Ranami is also interesting. How does their social standings influence their relationship. Phalue being a governor's daughter, has a very priviledged view on the world. Ranami tries to show her that. But it is not so easy when it is the one you love. 

Overal I enjoyed The Bone Shard Daughter and there is so much great things to be found in his book. I hope that the next books dives deeper into these characters and this world. 

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