The Bone Shard Emperor is a good book two for the Drowning Empire series. If you enjoyed the magic system and the Alagan lore from the first book, the sequel will definitely fill some holes. While there was a lull in the middle where I found myself struggling to get through, the last act quickly picked up on the action and made me unable to put the book down.
Please note in an exchange for an honest review, I received an advance reader copy (ARC) from NetGalley.
My last post what the first of the Drowning Empire. While I heard nothing about the first book or what it even was about, this one I obviously had more of an idea of what to expect. I couldn't wait to be thrown back into the world of the Phoenix Empire, my mind excited to see how the characters were doing (Mephi especially) and what the deal with the Alagan was.
What I Loved
- This book made me do a complete 180 on my opinions of characters. Characters I disliked became my favorite and vice versa. It really is difficult for me to change my attitude towards a character and this book managed to achieve that.
- In this previous book one of my gripes was that the chapters would end in a cliffhanger but the book would not return to them for a while. Instead, it would jump into another character's point of view and by the time it got back to the character, I lost all excitement or I found myself skimming the chapters in between in hopes to get back to the action. In this book, I don't remember feeling like that at all which I think is a major improvement.
- Without spoiling it, I love it when I'm surprise. So in regards to some secrets or information, I definitely said out loud "oh, that makes sense!".
- World building. The expansion of the history of the alanga, the Sukai's family connection to it, and the magic system just made me so happy.
What I Disliked
- Pacing. There was an obvious lull at some point in the book. Things were happening but it seemed to be slow that I did struggle to keep on reading. For reference, at some point I just kept reading 3-5 chapters and stopped since I didn't feel like going. Not until the last 20~15 chapters did I find myself unable to stop reading.
- Romance. This is subjective. I don't read romances, at least, not yet because I am incredibly picky for them. I, personally, felt the romance here came out of nowhere and it suffered from the typical character miscommunication. Honestly, the romance made me feel like I was reading a Young Adult fiction. I'm actually unsure if that's what it was marketed as but unlike the first one, I definitely felt like it was more YA here.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I struggled to pick between 3 or 4 stars but the ending of the book really did it for me. While the book does suffer from pacing issues, the world building and nuggets of insights into the alanga and the magic system kept me interested
I look forward to reading the last book of the trilogy!
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
A quick little section:
My Favorite Character(s): Mephi and Thrana! But they shouldn't count :) Besides them, I love Phalue, Ayesh and Ranami (I know, surprising since I disliked her so much in the first one!). Jovis and Lin annoyed me so much with their romance and their lack of communication that I found myself eyerolling at their drama.
The Character I Hated: I would say, Ragan. I hate him. The moment it was revealed that he abused Lozhi, I saw red in my eyes. Also, Nisong because this woman's fury is in another level and I just felt betrayed in her almost ending the war.
- The revelation that the alanga artifacts awaken when their magic is used. I immediately then knew Gio was one.
- Gio walking in to be a badass and how easily he defeated Ragan. The way he called him Child made me cheer for him!
- I actually believed that Coral was able to convince Nisong to stop the war. The moment Nisong quickly changed her mind actually made me blink and reread the section since it happened so fast.
- The reveal that Gio is Dione. It makes sense now that I think about it but it never crossed my head!
- Ayesh and Shark!
- I really want to find out why the alanga are not depicted with their little furry friends. My theory is that each time they use the magic, they are actually reducing the life of their partner.
- The Ioph Carn just annoys me and I really don't like that story line since it bores me and it seems so random. I hope it doesn't take too much time in the third book. I just want Mephi back with Jovis and want to know what their leader knows about the alanga.
- Though I'm not in love with the villains of this book, Nisong is the better villain between her and Ragan. Ragan felt too cartoony for me. If you consider Gio a villain, he's definitely better out of all of them.