Published: November 23, 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Series: The Drowning Empire #2
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Andrea Stewart returns with The Bone Shard Emperor, the second installment of this unmissable, action-packed, magic-laced fantasy epic.
The Emperor is Dead. Long live the Emperor.
Lin Sukai finally sits on the throne she won at so much cost, but her struggles are only just beginning. Her people don’t trust her. Her political alliances are weak. And in the north-east of the Empire, a rebel army of constructs is gathering, its leader determined to take the throne by force.
Yet an even greater threat is on the horizon, for the Alanga – the powerful magicians of legend – have returned to the Empire. They claim they come in peace, and Lin will need their help in order to defeat the rebels and restore peace.
But can she trust them?
I feel like I’ve been saying this so often lately, but The Bone Shard Emperor was another of my most anticipated releases/sequels of the year! It was a satisfying sequel, though I did find myself more excited to read about Ranami and Phalue than Lin and Jovis this time around. Lin and Jovis ended up having so many secrets that it made me nervous to switch to their POVs because of the inevitable and untimely reveal of said secrets. I’d literally get to a point where I thought things would start to go badly and have to put the book down for a little break. Authors really be out there traumatizing their readers page by page.
Onward to the meat of the story! The Bone Shard Emperor picks up right after the events of The Bone Shard Daughter, with Lin having just assumed the throne and appointed Jovis her Captain of the Imperial Guard. Little does she know, but Jovis is spying for the Shardless Few and sending them information so that they might depose Lin. However, the longer he spends with Lin the more he begins to both like and understand her and he struggles with his decision. There’s a lot going on in The Bone Shard Emperor, not counting the secrets of Lin and Jovis. There’s a construct army ravaging the islands that aren’t sinking, political upheaval, assassination attempts, and the feared Alanga seem to be appearing more and more.
I think its clear at this point that I very much enjoy these characters and the world Andrea Stewart has constructed to house their wonderful story. It’s full of love, betrayal, action, and you can absolutely feel the tension at times. All in all, it’s very well crafted. I do think this installment felt a little slower than the first, mainly due to the switch from Lin as a rebellious girl trying to overthrow her father to Lin as emperor. She’s much more involved in negotiations and politicking rather than running across the rooftops practicing bone shard magic in secret, so it’s definitely toned down a bit in that aspect.
Overall, The Bone Shard Emperor was a solid sequel that perfectly satisfied my need for more Mephi (and Thrana!). I’m thinking a Mephi POV chapter where he’s searching for tasty food would be a welcome bit of fun!! This didn’t suffer from middle book syndrome (or whatever you choose to call it) but it was definitely a set up for the third book. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next!!