The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart is a fascinating story about magic and power. Sure, magic and power are common storylines, but Ms. Stewart puts it together in a refreshing way. Moreover, for all the rather dark nature of most of the magic that occurs within the story, it is a hopeful plot. All of this makes a fantasy novel that rises to the top of a spectacular list of new releases this autumn.
Some series read like series. You know the first two novels are going to end on cliffhangers, and the first story either explains too much to establish the world or doesn’t explain enough. The Bone Shard Daughter is neither one nor the other. Nor does it end with a jaw-dropping cliffhanger.
Instead, it ends at what I would consider a natural break in the story. We meet all the main players in the action and learn their stories. In addition, we gain some basic knowledge about the world and receive hints about a greater problem that these characters will face. Lastly, we obtain the resolution of certain smaller plots which only serve to lead to the next conflict. In short, it is exactly what the first book in a series should be.
One of the best aspects of The Bone Shard Daughter is the balance between questions and answers Ms. Stewart maintains. She provides readers with the perfect number of answers that allow us to understand what is happening. At the same time, she allows the story to naturally raise more questions, keeping your interest.
This is true of every part of the book. It is as if The Bone Shard Daughter is just the tip of an iceberg, with the rest of the series being those portions of the ice still underwater. We know the characters are going to come together in some way but don’t know how or why just yet. The magic we see is not the only magic that exists in this world. Again, we know this but don’t know what it means or what form this other magic will take. Rather than detracting from the story, knowing that there is more to come for the characters and the world-building only enhances it because it is such a satisfying story.
Like most fantasy novels, the cast of characters is not small. There are four narrators who take us through the action, and they are all fabulous. Compassionate and complex, they are not afraid to admit their faults. Moreover, they all have such passion for their chosen path. They are all about righting wrongs, even as they realize their methods may not be the best to achieve that aim. There is a surprising amount of character growth as well, as these are characters who learn from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. I am excited to see what Ms. Stewart has in store for them all in future stories.
The Bone Shard Daughter is one of those novels that burrows its way under your skin. You find yourself constantly thinking about it, even when you would prefer to be asleep. The hopefulness of the characters bleeds into your everyday life, and suddenly the world looks like a place where you can make a difference. I want to put The Bone Shard Daughter into the hand of every fantasy lover because it is deserving of becoming a best seller.