Book two of The Drowning Empire series, The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart is every bit as epic in scope and gory in detail as the first book. Lin is now emperor, committed to improving the lives of her people and solving the issues created by her father’s reign. At the same time, she discovers just how difficult it is to rule anything. After all, we can’t expect her to have an easy time of it.
Moreso than in the first book, The Bone Shard Emperor starts to dive deep into the issues facing Lin and all of the characters. Also, we start to see the characters as more multi-dimensional, with all of the nuances and foibles that make them realistic and personable. While the first book is most definitely an introduction to the Empire and the large cast of characters, this second book focuses on action and consequence, as it drives the series forward towards its conclusion.
The Drowning Empire is not a series I see getting a lot of love. At the same time, I love everything about it. I love the twists and turns of the plot, which never fail to surprise or shock me. In particular, I love the moral ambiguity of all of the characters and the fact that you never really know who is going to side with whom. The scope of the story is magnificent. Ms. Stewart makes it work so well. It is only until we start piecing together all of the hints and bits of information to start picturing the end game where you realize just how ambitious the scope of the novel truly is.
The Bone Shard Emperor and its predecessor, The Bone Shard Daughter, deserve all the attention. If you love epic fantasy novels involving girl power, Sapphic relationships, and magic, you must add these two novels to your list of books to read. For me, given the information we receive at the end of the novel, I will be eagerly anticipating the finale to see how Ms. Stewart brings it all together and would love to discuss the first two novels with you while we wait!