Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Bone Shard War (The Drowning Empire #3) by Andrea Stewart


“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Bone Shard War (The Drowning Empire #3) by Andrea Stewart.  I can’t wait to read this.


The Bone Shard Daughter was hailed as “one of the best debut fantasy novels of the year” (BuzzFeed News). Now, Andrea Stewart brings us the final book in this unmissable, action-packed, magic-laced epic fantasy trilogy, The Bone Shard War.

Lin Sukai has won her first victory as Emperor, but the future of the Phoenix Empire hangs in the balance – and Lin is dangerously short of allies.

As her own governors plot treason, the Shardless Few renew hostilities. Worse still, Lin discovers her old nemesis Nisong has joined forces with the rogue Alanga, Ragan. Both seek her death.

Yet hopes lies in history. Legend tells of seven mythic swords, forged in centuries past. If Lin can find them before her enemies, she may yet be able to turn the tide.

If she fails, the Sukai dynasty – and the entire empire – will fall.

Expected publication : April 2023


Friday Face Off : Brooding and dull like a cloudy sky – a cover that is grey


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.

I’ve added themes in below. For information, I’m trying out some new ideas so along with coming up with particular items for book covers I thought we could also look for certain elements contained within the book or that play a large part in the story – this really broadens things out because I have plenty of more ideas with this – I’ve gone for a few of the Tough Travel Themes (so a book with that theme – just choose any book – the theme isn’t necessarily on the cover, then compare covers), also, I’ve thrown in some genres and some colours.  Hopefully this will open things out a little and give us some more freedom to come up with new books.

This week’s theme:

Brooding and dull like a cloudy sky – a cover that is grey

I had quite a few grey covers for this week’s theme but I’ve gone for a relatively recent read that I was happy to discover had a couple of alternative covers to choose from.  The Bone Shard Daughter (No.1 of the Drowning Empire series) by Andrea Stewart:

Next Week  – Sealed with a kiss – lips, or the impression left by a kiss


Feb The month of romance
11th Sealed with a kiss – lips, or the impression left by a kiss
18th Tough Travel Tropes – Hate to Love
25th Made for each other – interpret this any way you please
4th Genre – Gadgets and airships – a book that is ’steampunk
11th The most recent book you’ve read that has covers to compare
18th – Somewhere over the rainbow – a very colourful book cover
25th – A book of few words – a one word title
1st Spring forward – compare the covers for two books you’re excited about
8th – Fresh and Green – a cover that is predominantly green
15th Genre – a book or series that is urban fantasy
22nd – Tough Travel Tropes – unknown magical ability
29th – Long/pointed ears
May the Month of Wyrd and Wonder
6th All about the women – kickass moms, daughters, grans, etc
13th A favourite book to film
20th Sunny and bright  – a cover that is predominantly yellow
27th Books with ‘You’ in the title
3rd  Under the Sea – anything you like
10th Sparkling like the sea – a cover that is turquoise
17th So pretty – exactly what it says
24th Daddy Dearest – a book with a strong father role
1st Genre – epic – any book that fits into the genre
8th Hazy and hot – a cover that is predominantly orange
15th Tough Travel Tropes – Snarky sidekick
22nd Off the TBR
29th Gigantic – monsters, giants, buildings,insects – anything at all
5th Tough Travel Tropes – out for summer – school or academic setting
12th Dark/sky/navy  – a cover that is blue
19th Scantily Dressed
26th Tough Travel Tropes – Vacation time – the quest
September RIP
2nd Fallen leaves – covers that are brown
9th Armour/Protection
16th Rage against the machine – anything, cogs, clockwork, AI
23rd Tough Travel Tropes – Coming of Age
30th Genre – horror
October – Horror/Dark
7th Guess who’s back?  – Vampires – popular again?
14th Witches vs warlocks
21st Tough Travel Tropes – Good vs evil
28th  Covers that are black
November – Scifi Month
4th Red skies at night – Covers that are red
11th Tough Travel Tropes – The gang
18th Genre – Swords and Sorcery
25th Genre – And they all lived happily ever after – fairy tales retold
2nd Tough Travel Tropes – Assassins
9th Tough Travel Tropes – Darklord
16th Genre – Grimdark (most recent/favourite, etc)
23rd Decadent and rich – a cover that is purple
30th Completions – a satisfying conclusion to a book or serie

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.

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2) by Andrea Stewart

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is :  The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2) by Andrea Stewart.  I can’t wait for this.  Here’s my review for The Bone Shard Daughter and the description for this second in series:

BoneShardEmperorThe Bone Shard Emperor is the unmissable sequel to The Bone Shard Daughter, one of the biggest fantasy debuts of 2020 – a captivating tale of magic, revolution and mystery, where a young woman’s sense of identity will make or break an empire.

The Emperor is Dead. Long live the Emperor.

Lin Sukai finally sits on the throne she won at so much cost, but her struggles are only just beginning. Her people don’t trust her. Her political alliances are weak. And in the northeast of the Empire, a rebel army of constructs is gathering, its leader determined to take the throne by force.

Yet an even greater threat is on the horizon, for the Alanga – the powerful magicians of legend – have returned to the Empire. They claim they come in peace, and Lin needs their help to defeat the rebels and restore order.

But can she trust them?

Expected Publication: November 2021

NB – note that this is not the final cover – I just got carried away when I saw this book was due for release this year.

The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) by Andrea Stewart


My Five Word TL:DR Review : Even Better Than The Hype

I loved this. It’s a great start to series. It’s creative, has excellent world building, characters you can really get on board with and fantastic imagination and it hints at so much more yet to come.

Set in a world of floating islands the early chapters get off to a very dramatic start when one of the islands sinks killing thousands of people. This is where we first meet Jovis, a smuggler and one of five pov voices. I must say I loved Jovis and his animal companion Mephi. I think it’s fairly safe to say that Mephi is going to be a firm favourite with many readers.

A little bit of history about the Empire. The islands were previously ruled by the Alanga – powerful, magic wielding entities that were highly destructive. We don’t really learn much about them in this instalment other than they were defeated by the magic of the first Emperor. That magic is passed down to the heir and is used to maintain control. The fear of course is that the Alanga will one day return and the fact that some of the ancient artefacts seem to be behaving rather oddly (for example statues opening their eyes) certainly fuels this fear.

Magic is used to create ‘constructs’ that help the Emperor maintain control. Constructs are made up of all sorts of body/animal parts and the magic that fuels them comes from bone shards removed from the Emperor’s subjects at an early age during a ‘Tithing’ ceremony. The shards are placed within the constructs and are used almost like a computer chip, to give the construct its own code at the same time as using the person’s life force to fuel the construct. Of course, people are becoming resentful of this process. The tithing ceremony itself is dangerous and painful and the shards, once placed within the construct slowly drain the donor of energy and life. This resentment is in fact the force behind a mounting rebellion that is gaining popularity across the Empire.

The story is narrated through five different POVs that help to give an all round view.

Lin is the Emperor’s daughter. She lost her memory five years ago following illness and whenever she recalls something from the past the Emperor rewards her with a key to one of the many locked doors within the palace. Lin’s story helps us to gain information about the constructs and the way they work.

Jovis relentlessly searches for his missing wife – she was abducted seven years prior and he sails the seas in pursuit of his only clue – a boat with a blue sail that was seen departing the island at the time of her disappearance. He’s a wanted man, his smuggling having earned him something of a reputation and he unwittingly becomes almost a saviour to the people, gaining hero status when he rescues a number of children before they can have their shards removed.

Phalue and Ranami are a couple who share a stormy relationship. Phalue is the daughter of one of the island’s governors. Ranami is one of the islanders, her life and upbringing provide a sharp contrast to the lifestyle of the governor and in fact their relationship is used to highlight the difference in the class system – the downtrodden, underfed famers at one end of the scale, living in abject poverty and working long hours for very little reward and the overfed, over indulged Governor at the other with his opulent lifestyle and scant regard for the masses.

Finally we have a character known as Sand who lives on an island with others who all seem to suffer from some form of memory loss. This is an intriguing element to the story and I confess I completely went down the wrong track with this particular thread. I won’t discuss this element further only to say this promises to be an intriguing element of the next book.

In terms of plot. Well, I would say that this has an almost ‘set up’ style feel to it. Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t a negative remark – this has great pace and I couldn’t put it down – but by the conclusion I would say that what has really been established here is a feel for the people and place plus the promise of so much more yet to come.

Criticisms? I don’t really have any to be honest. I think, as with any book with multiple povs, there will be firm favourites and povs that readers are more keen to return to. I would also like to learn more about the world depicted here. I love the asian influences and the idea of the constructs and the magic used, plus there are a couple of twists that were very eye popping. Basically, I want more and I want it now – so not really a criticisms but a desperate desire to visit this fascinating world again.

Overall, this is a very impressive debut. The writing is polished and there’s a stunning amount of imagination and creativity at play here that certainly provides plenty of food for thought. I can’t wait to read the next instalment.

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