The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart. Orbit Books, September 8, 2020. Cover by Sasha Vinogradova.
I love a good fantasy debut, and Andrea Stewart’s The Bone Shard Daughter, coming from Orbit next month, looks like a doozy. It’s the tale of Lin, the former heir to an empire controlled by bone shard magic, fighting to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne, and it’s the opening volume of an epic fantasy trilogy by an unknown author purchased for a six-figure advance. Library Journal called it a “richly told, emotional, action-laced debut” in a starred review. Here’s an excerpt from S.W. Sondheimer’s rave review at The Roarbots.
You know what I love? I love that we are getting a tsunami of fantasy based in cultures that aren’t medieval Western Europe. I love it a lot….
Roving island chains? Hybrid constructs powered by bone magic? A collapsing Empire akin to that of Imperial China? Newly and inexplicably minted elemental wizards with mysterious, talking familiars (who compromise me emotionally, excuse me, your honor, I love Jovis and Mephi and will die for them)?
Inexplicable ships and missing memories? Queer rep that is without it being a thing? Yes, thank you, I’ll take it all, and I’ll take as many entries in Andrea Stewart’s The Drowning Empire series as she’ll write… It all starts when Deerhead Island sinks without sign, without warning, and without mercy. Jovis, searching for his lost wife, finds himself rescuing a child from the same ceremony that killed his brother years before – the ceremony in which the empire harvests a small shard of bone from every child’s skull to be used to power the emperor’s constructs. These creatures, created from leftovers and remains to do the ruler’s bidding, are powered by the life tethered to the shard.
Lin, the emperor’s daughter, tries to salvage lost memories, desperate to please her father while Phalue and Ranami try to love each other through a rebellion. As the three stories converge, the truth of the emperor’s plans – and the depth of his grief-driven madness – are revealed.
I love a good creepy magic system, and there’s a lot to like about this one. The Bone-Shard Daughter will be released by Orbit Books on September 8, 2020. It is $28 in hardcover and $14.99 in digital formats. The cover art is by Sasha Vinogradova. Read a lengthy excerpt at Gizmodo., and see all our recent Future Treasures here.