Thank you to Netgalley and the Orbit team for approving me for an e-arc in exchange for review!
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart is the first book in a multi-POV fantasy series. It follows Lin, heir to the Emperor; Jovis, smuggler extraordinaire; and provides smaller POV parts to members of a revolutionary party, a local governor’s daughter, and a captive on a mysterious island.
I have mixed feelings about The Bone Shard Daughter. A lot of this has to do with where I found out about the book and how others were portraying it rather than how the book was marketed by the publishing team.
This book was recommended to me through instagram as being a sapphic book. And don’t get me wrong, there are two sapphic POV characters (who are in a relationship), but they are minor POV characters. As in they share 6 chapters between them; whereas Lin and Jovis each get 19 POV chapters. So it’s not exactly a sapphic focused story if that is what you are looking for.
I enjoyed Lin’s story arc the most. Her world is filled with horrific elements from amnesia to necromantic constructs watching her every move. The lingering sense of dread was almost palpable as secrets began to be uncovered. Lin had clear motivations and her actions had consequences.
On the other hand, I dreaded Jovis’ chapters. I wasn’t particularly interested in his character arc. He kept acting against his established motivations, and I just didn’t think he was a particularly engaging character. He calls himself a master smuggler, but he never comes across as particularly masterful in…well…anything and he is constantly being caught red-handed.
Something that really limited my enjoyment of the book was the age of the characters. This isn’t really an issue with The Bone Shard Daughter specifically, but a trend across contemporary SFF. Most of the POV characters were in their early to mid twenties, Jovis is the oldest and based on contextual clues within the story I believe he is 26. All of the bad, questionable, or evil characters were old. I just find that this approach really cliche and unnuanced. It feels really YA to me for something that is in an adult story.
While there wasn’t anything truly terrible about the book, I doubt that I will pick up the rest of the series because I wasn’t hooked by The Bone Shard Daughter.