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 received a copy of this book from the publisher Orbit. All thoughts are my own.
This review will contain spoilers for book 1, The Bone Shard Daughter. Read my 4* review here.
Another highly anticipated sequel, Bone Shard Emperor went well beyond my expectations. Between Lin’s character growth as she’s finally brought out of her sheltered world to govern her father’s empire, Jovis’s wavering loyalties between Lin and the Shardless Few, and the slowly unraveling mysteries of the Alanga, there’s so much in here to love.
Perhaps my favorite addition to this the POV of Nisong, a….magical clone? bone shard construct? of Lin’s mother (yes I know we had Sand in the last book but Nisong feels so different she’s almost a new character). Nisong’s vengeful determination to protect those who came from the island with her made paired with the fragmented memories of her time as the ambitious young wife of the emperor pairs to make a deadly and fascinating villain. I enjoyed that she embraced her villainous side, yet you could understand her and sympathize with her viewpoints.
I’m a masochist for drip-feed worldbuilding and Stewart wields that masterfully. Coming out of Daughter, I was most excited to learn more about what the hell is up with the Alanga and what role do they play with the more supernatural aspects of this world. And I got my wish! Kind of. In Emperor, it’s clear that the Alanga and their powers are slowly emerging again, but why? How? What is the history of the Alanga? Those secrets are slowly (partially) revealed through the course of this book and it just makes me want so so much more!
While overall this book is excellent, I did have a couple minor complaints. The main one being that I just did not buy the hinted budding romance between Jovis and Lin. I adore both characters individually but somehow the two just didn’t seem to have chemistry together. Granted, there are plot reasons for all of the above, but it still annoyed me. My other main complaint was that Phalue and Ranami (a pair I felt fairly lukewarm to in book 1) did nothing to relieve that annoyance. They’ve gotten together but they still don’t seem to have gotten past the, “you’re the daughter of the ex-governor and I was raised a gutter orphan and our viewpoints often clash as a result” conflicts of book 1.
Overall, I rate this book a 4/5. The character growth, especially of Lin and Jovis over the course of this book, the tantalizing mysteries of the mysterious Alanga slowly unveiling, and an extremely compelling villain all made this book a delight to read.
r/Fantasy 2021-22 Bingo Squares:
- Published in 2021
Publication Date: 23 November 2021
Format: eBook, ARC
Word Count: ~163,000
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