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The Bone Shard War (The Drowning Empire)

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We are just informed it happened and I believe some of the things would have a stronger emotional impact if we read it play out. Stewart imbued a nice touch of creativity into the Bone Shard magic of construct and commands introduced in the first installment. His struggle to come to terms with his actions and fight the magic was engaging and I ended up rooting for him the most.

Two years have passed since the end of The Bone Shard Emperor, and it did take me some time to adjust to this time skip decision. My issue with this series is that none of it feels believable, none of the characters act like real people, none of the political stakes feel like real stakes. She also had a very important encounter with Jovis sometimes during that period but we, readers, are robed of that scene. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. The magic system reminded of the world-building in Robert Jackson Bennetts’ Foundryside and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and the Alang creatures (Mephi, etc) reminded me of Appa from Avatar the Last Airbender.Anywho, it started off rough, with a really jarring two-year time jump that took a hot minute (and several jump scares) to settle into, but when it got rocking I was hooked. There were world-building and ending mysteries solved, realisations that shook the ground (aside from the Alanga ground shaking). I think the challenge of this trilogy is that the first book almost worked too well as a standalone. Like the ancient Alanga Dione and the Ioph Carn leader Kaphra, Ragan too wanted power, but for completely different reasons.

The book is fast-paced from the very first page as we pick up the story 2 years later as we find Lin and Jovis dealing with the aftermath. This especially applies to Jovis and Mephi whose chapters open up with them being hostages of Ioph Carn for two years and quite miserable. I would like to see an illustrator’s take on what an ossalen looks like… I never could quite work it out in my mind. This last book splits time quite evenly between the different protagonists, and even though the series began and ended with Lin, the other characters feel of nearly equal standing over the course of the series. I would still highly recommend the first book in this series, The Bone Shard Daughter, but I will admit I have mixed feelings towards the sequels.There is a fantastic cast of characters, a compelling plot, a unique magic system and a vividly written world. The Bone Shard War is the epic finale to the unmissable, action-packed and magic-laced Drowning Empire series. The idea of Bone Shard Magic remains a fascinating concept to me as well as the lore of the islands. More importantly, what I appreciate about this is how at the same time, Stewart also demonstrated the importance of our mindset as we proceed through life and struggles.

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