THR BONE SHARD EMPEROR
Written by Andrea Stewart
Published by Orbit, November 23, 2021
My star rating – 4 stars
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?
The first book in this series, The Bone Shard Daughter, was one of my favourite reads of 2020! I enjoyed it far more than I expected to, that’s for sure. It took similar themes and gave it something spicy! And… there was also Mephi! I decided that I would forever be in the Mephi fan club and I was so happy to be back in this world! I will say this book had a bit of the “curse of the sequel” and I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first, but it was still pretty good and set things up for a very interesting book 3!
I’m going to just start with the negatives and get them out of the way lol. The tone of this book was very different from book one. At times it just felt so “chaotic” and I struggled to see where the endgame was headed. Each and every character suddenly found themselves in positions of great power. Lin became Emperor, Jovis became Captain of the Guard to the Emperor, Phalue became Governor of an island, and Nisong became the leader of a rebellion. Normally, characters taking positions of power wouldn’t feel so chaotic BUT – none of them had settled into their own lives and personalities before they had to lead others. The tone felt scattered because we were following each person in their personal growth and their struggle to do the best for the people they lead simultaneously. It was interesting to see how they all handled the pressure and balance, but it made the direction of the book a little hard to follow sometimes. Also, the pace was much slower in comparison to the first book as well.
Whew! Now that the negatives are out of the way, let me tell you why I liked this book! First of all – the characters! I knew I loved them in the first book but this one brought them all closer to my heart! They’re all so flawed but trying to do the best they can. They had to face some tough choices and grew SO MUCH throughout this book. None were perfect. Not one made the best choices 100% of the time. But they were doing the best they could with what they had. And they all learned from mistakes and were open to change and understanding, even in the worst of situations. The character development in this book was seriously outstanding!
I also really loved the politics of this book! The Emperor before (Lin’s father) kept to his palace. He didn’t interact with the other islands and didn’t seem to welcome communication. In comes Lin, and no one knows who she was. All they knew was that her father was an awful person and they could only assume she was the same. Each side was trying to protect themselves and their people from yet another ruler from hell. All the while, Lin is nothing like her father, and struggles to prove it and get them to listen. The back and forth between sides as they learned to trust was really interesting!
Oops…. I forgot… there’s another negative…. I hated the romance! There. I said it. I like the two of them together (should I say who? Is that a spoiler? Yeah, probably. So I’ll continue saying they…) but I don’t like HOW they came together. Their personalities are complimentary and they could be a really freaking great couple. But there wasn’t much leading up to the romance. Maybe a few mentions of glances and touches lasting longer than they should, but that’s it. There wasn’t any tension and the kiss came out of left field. I get it. There’s political unrest so there isn’t much time to build a romantic environment. But it was still rushed and felt out of place.
Though it felt a little chaotic and the pacing was a little slow, I still really liked this book! There was a lot of building of characters and story lines that made me interested in what comes next. The ending was probably the best part! It was so well written and allowed for the story to grow into a million different possibilities! Now that everyone is settling into their leadership roles, I can’t wait to see how they grow personally as well! And the Mephi fan club is still growing strong! My heart warmed a little with that creature! There could be a contender in book 3 though. I’ll only say one word… SHARK!
Until next time, happy reading!