Title: The Bone Shard Daughter
(The Drowning Empire #1)

Author: Andrea Stewart
Genre: Fantasy, Magic
First published: September 8th 2020
Publisher: Orbit
Finished reading: April 5th 2021 
Pages: 496

“I was now the only keeper of these memories, and that was the truest sort of loneliness.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Orbit in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


I’ve been curious about this title ever since I first heard about it, and after reading Kelly’s review last year I knew I had no other option but to simply read it. The fact is that fantasy titles tend to slip between the cracks of my TBR mountain though, so I jumped at the chance to get an ARC as an actual deadline always means a guaranteed read. And I’m so glad I finally did read The Bone Shard Daughter, as I ended up having an excellent time with this high fantasy title! Definitely a worthy start of a new series I can highly recommend to fans of the genre.

Key in high fantasy reads is the wordbuilding, and The Bone Shard Daughter definitely doesn’t fall short when it comes to this. The different islands, the character background, the constructs, the magic, the history… There is so much dept in the building up of this world and it really made the story come alive for me. The descriptions of the different locations mentioned in this first The Drowning Empire book are thorough, vivid and definitely what I look for in a fantasy read. The magical element almost has a sci-fi/steampunk feel about it with the constructs and the bone shards, and I highly enjoyed slowly learning more about this part of the story. The same goes for Jovis and his special bond with Mephi.

Now that I mentioned Jovis, I have to make a confession. I have to say that while I understand why the story has a multiple POV structure, it took me some time to get used/understand the purpose of certain POVs and this slowed me down initially. I also had a noticable preference for Jovis’ POV, making me feel slightly disappointed whenever the focus was on a different character… Lin is fascinating as well of course, but it took me some time to warm up to the others (especially Sand). This is of course a personal reaction and by no means had the result of me not enjoying the story. In fact, especially the second half of the story had me fully in its claws and I simply couldn’t stop reading.

What I love is that this story is in fact very low on the romance. Sure, we have Phalue’s POV and her relationship with Ranami, but as their relationship wasn’t actually in the sappy romance stage I wasn’t bothered by it. And discovering a high fantasy story without an overdose of romance is always an excellent find! I also love that despite the fact that this is a series, The Bone Shard Daughter provides us with a proper ending instead of that well known painful cliffhanger. Sure, things are left wide open for the sequel, but the events of the first book are properly dealt with and you are left with a feeling of satisfaction instead of despair once you reach that final page. Always a bonus when the sequel hasn’t been published yet!

In short, The Bone Shard Daughter turned out to be an excellent high fantasy read with a vivid worldbuilding and fascinating magical element. I’ll be looking forward to the sequel already!

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