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Book Review: The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2) (ARC)

Expected publication: November 23rd 2021

Author: Andrea Stewart

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 Bone Shard Daughter (#1) Review]

The Bone Shard Emperor is the second novel in The Drowned Kingdom trilogy. As it is a continuation of the story presented in the first installment, it is highly recommended to read the series in order to have a better understanding of the world and characters. Since the story takes place after The Bone Shard Daughter, this review will have some spoilers for that novel while attempting to avoid any spoilers for this one. Alliances and loyalties are tested throughout this novel after the events of the previous story.

Lin is now the ruling Emperor after her father was killed in the previous story. As she tries to find her footing as ruler, she tours the empire to try and gain loyalty from the governors. Jovis is now the captain of Lin’s imperial guard. Not only is his relationship with Lin growing as they spend time together, but he is a double agent for the Shardless Few who want him to find and report Lin’s weakness. He goes through a lot of internal conflicts because of his two loyalties which added great tension to the story. Lin and Jovis continue to be written in first person POV, while the other perspectives are kept in the third person. It was a nice continuity from the first installment and I continued to enjoy the mix. Since I am a fan of both types, I enjoyed having both together as it gave me, as a reader, some nice variety while reading. Sand’s true identity was revealed in the previous installment after recovering her memories. After finding out the truth, she is set on seeking out revenge on those responsible. While Ramani and Phalue are now married and rule an island within Lin’s empire. They are still secondary characters, I would have liked more from them.

While the first novel gave an in-depth introduction to the characters, this novel set out to add a deeper exploration of the world and magic. Together with the two novels perfectly set up the final novel where everything will come together to what I assume will be an epic conclusion (my expectations are high for the third novel after the first two books). The pacing of this novel is slower than I expected as there is world-building and a bigger exploration of the impending dangers waiting in the finale. While I love the vivid descriptions, at times, it felt a bit too much, especially for the second novel in a trilogy. This novel does end with a cliffhanger, so now I have to try and be patient until the final installment is available. Overall, this series continues to have multiple fantastic elements and I cannot wait to see how it all concludes in 2022!

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Orbit Books, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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