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.