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The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – Blog Tour Book Review


About the Book

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.

An unmissable fantasy debut for 2020 – a captivating tale of magic, revolution and mystery, where a young woman’s sense of identity will make or break an empire. Perfect for fans of CITY OF BRASS, THE POPPY WAR and EMPIRE OF SAND.


About the Author


Andrea Stewart is the Chinese American daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California.

What I Thought


First things first. Let us talk about that cover. Evocative. Classic. Beautiful. Breathtaking.


The first chapter pulls you straight in, introducing you to protagonist Lin, and immediately gives you a fistful of questions that you want the story to unfold.


What exactly is bone shard magic?

What are constructs?

What happened to Lin’s mother?

Will Lin get her memories back? (She’s 23 and cant remember anything earlier than five years ago).

Why did her father foster Bayan?

Why does Lin believe her father fears her?

What is driving the rebellion?

Who or what are the Alanga?

What does the key open?

And right at the end of the chapter the question every book reader asks – Why do book characters never realise they are holding their breath 🤦‍♀️

Other than this slightly cliched line the writing is sumptuous. Andrea Stewart knows how to paint a vivid picture with words. Her characters jump from the page into the reader’s heart too. Even the Blacksmith, mentioned briefly feels real enough to care what happens to him. With only a few words and actions you feel the weight of his backstory.

The lure of the locked doors puts one in mind of Bluebeard. But Lin isn’t the only rebellious woman set to smash down doors and the story is told from more than her point of view. It’s an excellently used ploy to keep you reading, with each character’s little cliff hanger making you wait tantalisingly for its pay off.

This book is the beginning of a trilogy in a world that is so richly imagined, the story weaves between the different character’s journeys as much as between the islands of the Phoenix Empire. Who will rise from the ashes of rebellion?

Thank you to Tracey at Compulsive Readers and the publisher for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. The book was also Goldsboro’s SFF pick of September and that copy came with the stunning stencilled edges you see on the picture at the top. It also came with a double sided postcard print with artwork by Andrea Stewart. Doubly talented.

Do check out the rest of the blog stops and order or pick up your copy now.

Angel Mage by Garth Nix – Blog Tour Book Review

Angel Mage, the new fantasy novel from Garth Nix, is a bit of an enigma. A cross between adult and young adult, a stand-alone but with potential for further works in the world. 
5 points of view from 5 seemingly late teenage characters. And the one we hear from most is the villain – Liliath. Usually we root for the one we spend most time with but can you do that when their ultimate goal – fuelled by love – may lead to destruction? 
An impressive new magic system with the ability to call on the power of angels and with magic comes with real cost for those using it. For a specific group of people, taking advantage of angelic healing will have a very extreme and opposite effect. 
Female musketeers in a female dominated world. And boy has the world been thought through. For me this is a book that needs reading more than once. A story where nuance is found in re-exploring the carefully crafted worldbuilding and one that challenges the reader to find the character they identify most with. 
This does lead to a more meandering plot which ramps up in velocity nearer the end of the book. 
One thing that took me out of the story was a continuity error in the first part of the book where the gender of an angel is discussed and then confused. Yes, I’m one of those pedants who notices things like that. I do see more and more errors slipping into to traditionally published books. I wonder if the pressure to publish more quickly to meet demand has an impact on the smaller details. 
There is much to like about Angel Mage but I do see reader opinion being divisive. For me this was a good story but I have to admit to preferring the Sabriel series with its sarcastic cat a little more.  You can check out the rest of the blog spots happening this month to see what others thought. 

Wonderland Blog Tour – Book Review

Good morning and welcome to my spot on the blog tour for this anthology of work inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 
I think most people are somewhat familiar with the original stories. My first introduction to Alice, I’m fairly sure, was via the Disney animated film, and to be honest I’m not convinced if I’ve even fully read the original stories. I really must rectify that soon (would love a MinaLima to design an edition btw). The genre bending children’s fantasy, has definite horrific aspects and many a joke has been made about what Carroll was on when he wrote these tales. They are a true classic, and have been a springboard for many a spin off or retelling both on film, and on the page. 
The majority of the works in this anthology are short stories although these are bookended by two poems by Jane Yolen. The second of which I preferred. Some of the tales may be better appreciated by people who are familiar with the originals but despite this most can stand alone. 
I was only familiar with 3 of the 20 names associated and so I had the pleasure of being introduced to other authors, some of whose other work I am now likely to seek out as a result. 
There is something for everyone in here, but as with most short story collections perhaps not everything will be for everyone. Stories that although are well written, don’t quite make that connection. There’s historical, contemporary and futuristic tales in fantasy, science fiction, horror, historical and more. Topics such as capitalism and child abuse are discovered. Not be shelved in the children’s section next to the original. And most of the characters from Hatter to Cheshire, The Jabberwock, and even the more obscure Walrus, appear in one form or another across these tales. For me there were many more hits than misses and I will mention a few of the hits next. 
First up is the author I was most familiar with – MR Carey with There Were No Birds to Fly. The tonal similarity with his other works was apparent. That apocalyptic creepiness. Oddly this was the least recognisable in terms of its connection to the original, until the very end. Carey shows that being inspired by something can still lead to a highly original story. 
Next was Genevieve Cogman. I was aware of her and have her Invisible Library series waiting on my TBR. Her tale The White Queen’s Pawn had a wry and dark humour, and a be careful what you wish for moral. I definitely plan to bump her tales up the list. 
And the stand out for me was Cavan Scott’s Dream Girl. I won’t mention the genre as that is sort of a spoiler in itself but it was perfection. It reminded me of  the Wizard of Oz/Wicked retelling and I would love to be able to read a longer work based on what this becomes at the end of the story. 
Thank you to Titan for the gifted review copy and to editors Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane for bringing this together. Do check out the rest of the blog tour stops to see which stories stood out to everyone else. 

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