Book Review: The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2), by Andrea Stewart

Fantasy | Pages: 416 | Publisher: Orbit | Publishing: 25th November 2021 | Netgalley eARC

The Emperor is dead. The Islands are drowning. And Lin’s rule is brittle.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

4.5 Stars

Synopsis: Lin Sukai had taken the throne, she wants to make the Empire a better place. But, threats are looming, she has no allies and her Empire is drowning. Lin has the throne but can she keep it?

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 : Book Review: The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) , by Andrea Stewart IN THE DROWNING EMPIRE SERIES.

Heyhey, BookNerds! So today I have a review for book 2 in The Drowning Empire series! As this is a sequel, my review will be shorter to avoid spoilers!

So, The Bone Shard Emperor picks up where book 1 ends; Lin has the throne, Jovis is Captain of her guard, the Alanga seem to be returning, Nisong is on her way, and islands are still drowning- so Lin has alot of work to do.

Firstly, as in book 1, this book is beautifully written and the world is so richly painted. Again, we get a multiple POV which works perfectly with the story, narrative and pacing, and give us more time with other characters such as Ranami, Phalue and Nisong. Of course, we still get a lot of chapters from Lin and Jovis perspective too, which is a lot of fun as they are now working together but each have their own secrets to keep! I really enjoyed each perspective in the story, they all worked incredibly well together and I loved how we got to see so much more of each of the characters through their own perspective and the perspective of others.

The plot of book 2 carries on from book one, but this time a lot of different strings are starting to be woven together. I was actually surprised at how much more we got to learn in this book! Stewart manages to give us a lot of reveals and answers to the questions that grew from book 1, and yet there is still enough mystery, secrets and answers to come in book 3 (There is one thing that I AM DESPERATE to know!!)

This book will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. We still get that stealth element, a lot of characters are still sneaking around and keeping secrets, and the potential for betrayals and fragile alliances is brilliantly high. But, this time we get to see more sides to the secrets, we have Jovis as Captain of the Guard but his allegiance to Lin is not what it appears, we have Lin as the Emperor but she has secrets surrounding her father’s antics, which is so fun to watch the two character’s navigate while they work together. I enjoyed the dynamic between these two characters over the course of the story, it was interesting to watch play out.

Aside from Lin and Jovis, we start to get more connections between characters appear. Lin starts to try and make alliances for the sake of the Empire and the threat of the islands drowning looms over every decision. I really enjoyed this plot arc, it was incredibly intriguing watching these new relationships form and watching them change over the course of the book. Of course, it’s not all diplomacy and bargains, we have some interesting twists and turns that occur! However, I really enjoyed watching Lin’s development through this part of the plot and how she is trying to come into the role of Emperor.

Of course, we also get more Ranami and Phalue! And ONE OF MY FAVOURITE TROPES STARTS TO FORM HERE! Though I won’t tell you what because spoilers 😉. However, I really really loved their chapters, Phalue and Ranami are now married and are Governing their people – but still have to deal with the Shardless Few. I love the dynamic between Ranami and Phalue, and I so enjoyed watching it develop now that they have more power but I liked how this was handled. The wives want to make things better, but just because they are in power doesn’t mean they can magically fix everything that is wrong, and Stewart does a great job at showing this without making their efforts seem pointless. I also loved one of the new characters introduced through these chapters and really hope we get to see a lot more of them in book 3!

We also get more from Nisong’s perspective, which was incredibly interesting and probably some of the more brutal chapters in the book. We learn of Nisong in book 1, the truth behind her, and this book carries on her story right where it dropped off. I would have liked a bit more of Nisong, but overall her chapters were great. They revealed some very interesting dynamics and introduced tension for Lin to grapple with – as well as raising some interesting questions for later on!

Now, we also get more about the Alanga, which was fascinating. I adored this part of the plot, and absolutely loved learning more about this. I also really liked the little extracts that were included throughout the book – I thought it added excellently to the plot, made it more realistic and authentic. We get a lot of reveals, some that really surprised me, and some that put together pieces already forming in book 1. And yet, there is still more to come in book 3 and I cannot wait to see what else we get to learn!

Another key part of the story is constructs. Lin has, of course, stopped using them because of the shard sickness but they are not absent from the story – which was great because they are so interesting to read about. Bone shard magic is still mentioned and comes into play in some interesting ways throughout this book.

Finally, I cannot finish my review without mentioning MEPHI!! Mephi is the real reason we read this series of course 😉 (and that it is a brilliant series). Anyway, Mephi is as adorable and mischievous as I remember, except he has a new habit in this book and it is so funny to watch! I love Mephi and had to just mention that here – and I still absolutely adore his bond with Jovis!! Of course we also get to see more about the species with Lin and her own sweet companion who also has my heart.

In this book we see all the characters we have come to know but we also get some very interesting new characters appear (some of which I loved, and some of which I wanted to slap xD – when you read this you will know! ). But each new character was incredibly well written and interesting to read about, especially as they interacted with the characters we already love.

Lastly, THE ENDING. The book reaches its climax, which was excellent by the way, but the way the book concluded was PAINNN. Excellent but PAIN (I need book 3 right now to fix it!). I am so excited for book 3 and cannot wait to see where all these secrets lead!

Overall, The Bone Shard Emperor, by Andrea Stewart has an amazing crew of MC’s, a brilliantly twist plot full of reveals and secrets. I cannot wait for book 3.

*I received an eARC via Netgalley from Orbitbooks in exchange for an honest review – Thank you!*



  1. […] Book Review: The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2). by Andrea Stewart – Netgalley eARC – ⭐⭐⭐⭐🌟 (4.5 Stars) – Asian-Inspired Fantasy, f/f pov characters, Disabled side character.- Lin Sukai has finally claimed the throne! But, her Empire is drowning, she has no allies and the threats of Nisong and the return of the Alanga looms. An excellent second installment to an amazing series full of impressive characters and gritty magic. We get so many reveals and twists in this book and still so many secrets remain! […]


  2. […] Book Review: The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2), by Andrea Stewart. Another second installmet to an intriguing fantasy series ! This book picks up where book 1 ends and takes us on a secret filled adventure. This book delivers more action, politics and answers while maintaining enough mystery for book 3. With Lin assuming the role of Emperor, we get a whole new dyamic to explore and it really pays off! […]


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