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

FFO

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

2022

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
March
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
Apr
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
Jun
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
Jul  
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
August
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
December
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 Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) by Andrea Stewart

Bone

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