Book Review: Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

“I was Lin. I was the Emperor’s daughter. And I would show him that even broken daughters could wield power.” (Lin)


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 recognize 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.

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My Thoughts:

I have been dying to get my hands on a copy of The Bone Shard Daughter. I had to wait a long time to get a copy from the library. It was worth the wait, while I enjoyed The Bone Share Daughter it was not exactly what I thought it was going to be about.

Overall, it is a solid 3.5-4 star read for me. For the first chunk of the book I struggled with the cast of characters, determining where they were on the map, and really what was happening. It was not until the last half of the book did I have a clear understanding of who each character was and what their place in the empire was. I feel as if the blurb did not fully explain The Bone Shard Daughter and defiantly did not hint at how many characters would be involved in the storytelling.

The story is told from five perspectives.

  1. Lin- the Emperor’s daughter
  2. Phalue- A governor’s daughter
  3. Ranami- Phalue’s lover
  4. Jovis- a smuggler and sailor
  5. Sand- worker on an island

I am not a fan of multiple perspectives. I never have been, and likely never will be. The Bone Shard Daughter is every reason why I do not like this form of storytelling. While I enjoyed what the characters had to offer, I think it would have been a more exciting read with fewer perspectives. I know this is not a popular opinion, but I think Lin could have discovered Sand through documents hidden by her father, and we could have met Phalue and Ranami through Jovis. OR the book needed to be much longer to develop Phalue/Ranami and Sand more. By far my favorite character and storyline was Jovis and his “pet” Mephi. I found myself looking forward to knowing what Mephi was doing, how he was growing, and what he might say. I also enjoyed the information learned from Lin’s chapters, but Mephi stole the show from the other characters. This is the hill I will die on.

‘When I was in the water,’ Mephi said, ‘I didn’t know where to go. I had to find someone to help me. I swam to you because I knew you would help me. I know who you are…You are the person who helps’

That being said, I enjoyed the magic system in The Bone Shard Daughter. Each person attends the tiding festival, at which they have a piece of bone from behind their right ear chipped out of their skull. These pieces are collected and given to the Emperor, who uses them for bone shard magic. When a person’s bone shard is in use, their life drains more quickly. I loved that there was a consequence for using the bone shard magic, even if the user did not fully understand, the reader knew. I absolutely loved the idea of the constructs, which are stitched-together flesh robots controlled by bone shards etched with code. They roam the world doing the Emperor’s bidding. I could not imagine how unsettling it would be to discover how the Emperor was making the constructs and having to interact with them…..

There were many things touched upon that I cannot wait to learn more about. For example, the fact the islands can MIGRATE and what exactly is Mephi. I do have my complaints, as any reader does, but overall enjoyed the story once I got through two cycles of each character.

So, Should You Read The Bone Shard Daughter?

The Bone Shard Daughter is a good debut NA novel. I cannot wait to see how the story develops and how Stewart grows as an author. There is a great magic system, interesting lore, and Mephi! If you are looking for your next fantasy YA consider The Bone Shard Daughter.

Have you read The Bone Shard Daughter? What were your thoughts?

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  1. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    I pretty much agree with everything you’ve written here! I am also not keen so many POVs and the length was a bit much for me, but I was intrigued by the magic and worldbuilding. I have not yet been motivated to pick up the sequel, however…


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