Read Along: The Bone Shard Daughter – Week One

It’s Wyrd & Wonder time, and that means readalong time. Andrea Stewart’s The Bone Shard Daughter is the book of choice, which is very convenient for me as it helps clear up a Netgalley obligation. The questions were posed by Imyril at One More (with a lot of help from Beth at the Fantasy Hive) and anyone who wants to join in can come do so on GR.

Let’s answer some questions!

Welcome to Stewart’s glorious world! What are your initial impressions? What do you make of the magic system and the world-building?

Not a whole lot to be honest.

Which surprises me. The bone constructs and programming-esque magic were things people touted loudly and now I’m reading them, they’re… there? The spider construct was creepy and touched a nerve but other than that, I just don’t feel like I’ve been immersed enough in the wonders of these things to be drawn to them. I can’t imagine this world at all – I imagine something vaguely Chinese influenced, but that’s it. I’m trying to work out why and I think the answer comes below…

Is there a character you’re particularly drawn to so far?

Nope.

And as someone who’s really drawn to characters and character arcs in terms of getting into books – it’s characters and voice for me, both tightly tangled together – this is a bit of an issue.

There’s something that I refer to as Pathofdaggeritis – where a book is so busy introducing and flitting between PoVs there’s nothing for me to get my teeth into – and this is what’s going on here. It’s what, five PoVs in the first 11 chapters? With only two of them in the same plot arc? I don’t always hate openings like that but I do often enough to have coined a term for it and, truth told, if I’d realised this was how the book started… well, okay, I’d probably have tried reading it anyway as I don’t want to be ruled by my weird readerly tics.

So maybe it’ll get better for me as I go through. But right now, the book’s doing a few things that frequently don’t work for me, and I think that’s playing into not particularly caring for the characters. More than that though, I don’t think we’ve seen any of them have to deal with something that really conflicts them and causes sacrifice, reveals some true colours, do something that makes me sit up and go “wow”.

What do you make of Lin’s motivations? How much do you think she’s driven by a desire to save her Empire – or are her motivations more selfish?

Lin is the character I’ve connected to least, so I don’t have an answer here.

Jovis tends to tell lies when faced with truths he doesn’t want to face. As a first person narrator, how reliable do you feel this makes him?

Jovis seems to be the character with the most potential at this point. Reliable? No more or no less than anyone else here. I don’t think Stewart’s got characters with memory issues because she wants a straight forwards plot.

MEPHI! Any guesses / wild theories about Jovis’s new furry friend?

Aha! Mephi is the best thing about this book. And yes, I do have a theory, a rather obvious one. Since the kid named him after a sea serpent and he has horns, Mephi’s probably a really baby sea serpent.

Come to think of it, I’m not really sure what the Alanga are, so I’ll guess on Mephi being related to them somehow too.

Well, those were a real fun set of answers to read weren’t they! Here’s hoping I get more of a connection to this story by next week. The best thing about the book so far is that the prose slips by rather quick (save it feels like Lin has a metaphor or simile for everything), so it keeps me turning pages. The rest of it? Not really my cup of tea so far.

18 thoughts on “Read Along: The Bone Shard Daughter – Week One

  1. Hallo, Hallo Peat,

    I’ve been following along the Week One’s Discussion posts since I released my own reactions and reasons why I discussed this novel isn’t my cuppa tea. It sadly was a DNF for me and I’m stepping out of the RAL moving forward – however, so far, we’re the two in the readalong I’ve found who had their own reasons for ‘not connecting’ to the plot and/or the central themes of the book. I had a more intense reaction to the book (ie. due to the dark magic behind the constructs) but I respect the fact you broached why the characters weren’t connecting with you because I’m a reader who loves character driven stories myself. I ache to make that emotional connection to characters in every genre I’m reading and when I fall short – I unfortunately find myself taking a left turn exit just as quickly as you!

    The multi-POVs are some of my favourites to read as well as dual-POV, however, one thing I was mentioning during the RAL discussion (whilst I visited with the other other bloggers) is that those can also easily take a reader out of the story. If the POVs you keep shifting too are not holding your eye the way they need to grip you and root you where you need to be – I find them distracting myself. In this novel, I think it would have been better for me as a dual-POV with just Lin and Jovis as those were the characters I felt more connected to what interested me in the drama behind the dark magic.

    Swing by my blog and see what my observations were — maybe we share some musings about the initial chapters. I didn’t make it through Chap 11 but I had quite a bit to share despite ducking out early. I hope the novel improves for you – if not, don’t worry, I was the first to bail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read your post and felt sad you had such a visceral reaction to the dark magic elements, particularly when it came to animals. I’ve not had that sort of physical response to a book very often but it’s rough when it happens.

      I’m hoping to see this one through come what may – I’m usually a big fan of DNFing, but I’ve had a lot of them recently so want to try seeing stuff through to change it up. But we’ll see.

      And I very much agree that a dual-PoV with just Lin-Jovis, focusing on that dark magic angle, would have probably been a better start. Fingers crossed I get into the meat of that mystery in the next section.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pathofdaggeritis is a new term for me and seems to fit this book well. I also had trouble connecting to all the narratives since so many were introduced at once. I think Jovis was easy to connect to, so he kind of saved the beginning for me. I also liked Lin’s chapters, but I agree that she’s not exactly a likeable character. There’s just a lot of interesting stuff that goes on from her POV.

    I like your theory about Mephi! Right now I’m actually wondering is Mephi is some sort of construct.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I coined it after struggling with The Fell Sword by Cameron and The Dragon’s Path by Abraham in short order and being reminded of the worst of the Wheel of Time. A few authors get it right for me but it goes wrong so often for me.

      Jovis is definitely the easiest for me to connect to, but since I was in a critical/jaded state of mind, he just felt like every other lovable rogue…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Alanga was my guess for the Mephi question as well, since we know so little about them (the Alanga). I can see what you mean re: too many POVs. I am really only invested in Jovis’ storyline at this point, though I am curious about the others.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you on the too many POVs train – I can run with Sand’s chapters being so light touch, but at the halfway point now the Phalue/Ranami POVs are still wasted on me: I either needed twice as many to actually build them as characters (rather than just having them react to each other / big plot points) or for them to have hit the cutting room floor…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So I’m catching up (finally) on everyone else’s posts for this and right now I’m slapping my head because … Mephi a sea-serpent?! It’s the one thing I haven’t considered! (My thought process here: sea-serpent = dragon; Mephi = long body, short legs, horns coming in = *gasp* oriental furry dragon!! YAY!) 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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