The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2) by Andrea Stewart

My Five Word TL:DR Review : A solid second in series


The Bone Shard Emperor is a very strong second instalment in The Drowning Empire series by Andrea Stewart.  This is such a unique concept with excellent world building, strong characters, plenty of twists and great writing.

Before I start this post.  Firstly, this review may contain spoilers for book 1 so if you haven’t started this series yet then keep that in mind before continuing.  Secondly, this is not a series that you can easily jump aboard half way through (imo).  The first book established a lot in terms of the history of the place and the central characters so if you dive straight in here then I think you will missing a lot of context.  Thirdly, I won’t be elaborating on the set up because I covered a lot of that in my review of the Bone Shard Daughter and I don’t want to repeat it here.

Instead, lets focus on events that take place in No.2, look at character arcs and hint at developments.

This instalment once again brings to us a number of povs so plenty here for everyone to enjoy (I think).  The story picks up almost immediately following the Bone Shard Daughter.  Lin is Emperor but her rule is fair from secure.  Rogue constructs roam the islands attacking people and causing chaos and Lin needs to travel around the empire to try and gain support for her rule from the Governors.  Lin and Jovis begin to form an attachment of sorts but this is also hampered by the number of secrets both are keeping. Primarily Lin, having a very personal secret that if it was discovered would have disastrous consequences, plus she’s also struggling to come to terms with all the hidden secrets in the palace and the lack of knowledge she actually has about ruling an empire. Jovis, no longer a smuggler but given control of Lin’s army also keeps secrets which could see him executed were they discovered.  What I really enjoyed about seeing these five different povs is the insight into the other character’s way of thinking.  Of course, sometimes, this can also be frustrating because you can sometimes see how much easier things would be if they simply opened up.   I really enjoyed Phalue and Ranami’s chapters this time around.  It felt like they really grew and in fact I found myself really looking forward to their storyline (much more than in book 1).  Again, I  think that the companion talking critters are undoubtedly show stealers here and I suspect will be absolute favorites.

There are a lot of twists and turns with this one.  Spies, construct armies, the return of the Alanga, the nature of Lin herself, strained relationships, politics between the islands, scheming and some pretty cool reveals.  In fact with this instalment I felt like I came away with a much better understanding of the place and the interactions between all the different factions.  There is, without doubt, a lot to unload but fortunately this episode gives enough time for all the aspects to unfold naturally and with enough attention to prevent confusion.  Also, did I mention sinking islands?

In terms of slight reservations.  There is a little bit of going back and forth in some respects.  Plus a feeling of slight frustration with Jovis with a number of his decisions, but, neither of these caused any issues for me and I found the pages turning with ease.  Also, there are a number of open threads at the conclusion of this one that have me jumping up and down for the next book (no pressure at all!)

Overall I have to say that I am really enjoying this series.  It’s very easy to get along with.  The writing is confident and the world is so wonderfully creative.  I can’t wait for more

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4.5 of 5 stars.


10 Responses to “The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2) by Andrea Stewart”

  1. evelynreads1

    Great review!
    This is going to be one of my next reads, i’m so excited!

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hope you love it. Can’t wait to see what you make of it.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Tammy

    I’m eager to start this! I just need more hours in the day, lol.

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Excellent review, this was a strong sequel though I think I still like the first book better (but just a bit!) Hope to get my review up soon as well, just been pushed back because of sci-fi month, lol

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was a really strong sequel and I loved the way the characters have developed. Plus the ending. Can’t wait for No.3
      Lynn 😀

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    I still have book 1 on my radar, so all I can say is that a 4.5 rating for the second book (which usually tends to be a difficult one) only inspires me to start this series as soon as possible! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      This is such great fantasy – I would love to read your thoughts.
      Lynn 😀

  5. bkfrgr

    Oooooo, I’m impatient to read this one!

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