The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.
Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.
Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.
Amazing. I barely have coherent words for how much or even why I loved this so let’s see if I can write a useful review for you all.
Well, firstly, when I read the blurb I thought this was really just about our bone shard daughter, Lin, but turns out this has more POVs than I was expecting and I ended up really enjoying that fact. A lot of fantasies do that but while many other books tend to over use POVs and leave you with cliff hangers every chapter, Stewart is weaving everything together in a much more cohesive and enjoyable manner to read.
I also had the problem where usually I take notes after each reading session but I did not have enough sessions of reading this to really write anything informational aside from ‘I LOVE IT, SO GOOD’ and that doesn’t help me much when it comes to writing lol.
The reader can guess the truths of certain things, but I don’t know that they’ll be able to see every twist coming though it’s fun not knowing if your guess is right or wrong until nearly the end of the book.
Lin has a foster brother, Baylan, they’re competitors to gain keys to the palace, literally keys to the kingdom here, and eventually Lin gets fed up with doing things the Emperor’s way and makes her own route.
While Lin is in the palace trying to figure out truths and how to become the true heir, all around the Empire others are working towards their own goals whether its rebels different factions no less, or empire loyal.
In a world where an emperor can construct any tool/ally needed, it can get a bit intense and not all constructs are as easy to spot as you would think.
The lore and history of the empire, the world-building, it was all…*chef’s kiss* seriously those things are so important to me in a novel and Stewart flawlessly executes it all.
I loved every POV and enjoyed seeing where each character was headed and though the people were great, my fave was Mephi. [There’s also the adorableness of cute and wise ‘animal’ companions, see Mephi. Guys. Seriously. SO CUTE.]
Once we get to the end, everyone’s storyline is practically just tossed into the air like a chaos salad and Stewart lures us in until she says ‘haha sucker, you have to wait until book 2’ but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a cliff hanger, maybe one POV is a ‘true’ cliff hanger, the rest is all setting the stage for the next novel.
This book showed so much promise from the first page, the chapters flew by with the excellent pacing Stewart set and I have no doubt in my mind this will be a favorite trilogy of mine, especially considering this has been one of my favorite reads of 2020.
5/5 huge cups of coffee from me, thank you so much to Orbit Books UK and Compulsive Readers for an ARC and a chance to be part of this tour in exchange for my honest opinion.
About the Author
Andrea Stewart is the Chinese American daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes.
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