I’ll cut to the chase. I didn’t connect with The Bone Shard Daughter. The question is whether you will.
The story is a mix of tales of rebellion, creepy Necromancy, and people chasing mysteries. There’s four major narrative arcs, three of which come together by the end of the book. There’s Lin, daughter of the Emperor, struggling with lost memories, learning bone shard magic, and her foster-brother Bayan. There’s Jovis, a smuggler going from island to island seeking his lost wife. There’s Phalue and Ranami, the governor’s daughter and her commoner lover, on an island in the Empire. And finally there’s Sand, on an island, not knowing quite who she is.
People who connect with it will, I think, connect on the clean prose, the numerous well-executed plot reveals, and Mephi. Mephi is the adorable, mysterious, horned-cat-otter-? that attaches himself to Jovis and is just very cute. Stewart writes a very strong action scene too. I’ve seen people compare her to Sanderson and I get it. I think a unique magic system – flesh golems powered by shards of bone on which command codes written – only improves the casefor the comparison.
The places where I didn’t connect with The Bone Shard Daughter was its start, which I found slow and hindered by all the PoV changes, and the ending. Stewart’s plot reveals are very good, but she opts to keep a lot of plot points under wraps for the next book. I ended the book somewhat nonplussed and with the enjoyment I’d had through the middle fading away.
The characters are a mixed bag. Jovis grows into an amiable, fun Han Solo-esque type. Lin starts a little bland but has the book’s best arc. Phalue and Ranami just annoyed me. I actually started thinking Phalue could have a fun arc but their dynamic seemed warped and unhealthy, and lacking the enjoyment factor of Jovis and Lin.
Maybe I just never fully invested after the start. Or maybe it was just not a book for me. Either way, I’m mildly tempted to see what happens in the next one, but suspect I’ll just read spoiler heavy reviews instead.