Book Review: The Bone Shard War by Andrea Stewart

About the Book:

Title: The Bone Shard War

Author: Andrea Stewart

Series: The Drowning Empire

Page Length: 624

Publication Date: April 18, 2023

Publisher: Orbit Books

Synopsis: Lin Sukai has won her first victory as Emperor, but the future of the Phoenix Empire hangs in the balance – and Lin is dangerously short of allies. 

As her own governors plot treason, the Shardless Few renew hostilities. Worse still, Lin discovers her old nemesis Nisong has joined forces with the rogue Alanga, Ragan. Both seek her death.  

Yet hopes lies in history. Legend tells of seven mythic swords, forged in centuries past. If Lin can find them before her enemies, she may yet be able to turn the tide.  

If she fails, the Sukai dynasty – and the entire empire – will fall.  

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon 

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My Review:

Have you ever read a book that you knew you were going to love, but it still moved you in ways you didn’t expect? That’s exactly what happened when I read The Bone Shard War. Now, I binged this trilogy, and based on how much I loved the first two books, I knew I’d love this one too. But I didn’t expect it to rip my heart out, leaving me broken and satisfied and happy all at the same time. It’s a brilliant conclusion to The Drowning Empire series, and I’m still thinking about all of the epic characters and that masterful ending!

There’s so much to say about this story, and yet I find writing a review for it difficult. Do I discuss the compelling characters and the growth each has undergone since the first book? Do I discuss the complex and immersive world-building and how captivating the magic, lore, land, and creatures are? I definitely want to talk about how I need my very own ossalen!!! They’re the best!!

Jovis’s arc broke my heart. He’s my favorite character, and what he went through was so devastating. But his relationship with Melphi is everything, and he has another friendship that developed in the story that I ended up loving. I admit, I cried more than once when reading about him and when reading about Lin.

Lin has gone from a naive woman to a sharp and astute leader, and she has developed some friendships that I adored. But Lin doesn’t have an easy journey, and she sacrifices a lot for what she believes in. It’s interesting because her enemies are working to oust Lin, yet Lin truly is selfless in her determination to do right by her kingdom and people. Other characters like Phalue, Ranami, and their daughter also went through a lot. Between kidnappings, war, and so many other obstacles, their lives, like Lin’s and Jovis’s, are in constant danger. There are also some brilliant full-circle moments with these characters that I loved.

Something that really surprised me is that there are characters that I detested in the other books that I grudgingly came to appreciate in this one. I’m always so impressed when an author can write a redemption arc that makes me sympathize with and forgive someone I previously hated. Of course, there are many villains in the story, and not all are redeemable, and I liked that there were different types of antagonists in the story. There were morally grey characters that did shady things for good reasons, redeemable villains, and truly power-hungry and evil enemies. I think having chapters from a bunch of points of view was really effective in giving the reader an in-depth look at different perspectives and journeys. It created dynamically developed characters with unique and strong voices.

On top of the world-building and characters, the plot is fantastic. It’s layered and complicated and engrossing, and I found it hard to put the book down. It’s definitely a great book to buddy read! I read it with Leah and Leslie, and I was so glad I had two friends to shout with because there were scenes that made my mind explode. And there were other scenes that moved me deeply like one scene about grief and loss. It might be a fantastical world with magic, but the way the characters feel about love, loss, friendship, and more is very relatable.

I don’t think I can say enough about how much I enjoyed The Bone Shard War. It’s exciting and emotional, well-paced and gripping, and the ending is everything I never knew I needed. It destroyed me and then put all the fragmented pieces of my heart back together.

Special thanks to Orbit Books for gifting me copies of the trilogy. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

Everything. I absolutely loved everything about this book and this trilogy.

Favorite Lines:

Maybe no one was a hero. Maybe I’d gotten it wrong from the beginning. Maybe there were only heroic moments and decisions and we all had to keep choosing those as best we could. When we could.

I didn’t know it was possible to build trust on a bed of lies.

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