The Bone Shard War (The Drowning Empire #3)

Source: DRC via NetGalley (Orbit Books, Orbit) in exchange for an honest review
Publication Date: April 18, 2023
Synopsis: Goodreads
Purchase Link: Amazon

Other books in the series: The Bone Shard Daughter (#1), The Bone Shard Emperor (#2)

Why did I choose to read this book?

I didn’t have a choice. After the cliffhanger of The Bone Shard Emperor, Andrea Stewart basically forced me to read this book. To be clear, I didn’t mind, but reading this book was an imperative not a choice.

What is this book about?

This book is about starting over. The Empire, the islands, the Alanga, relationships, expectations of ourselves and each other – all of it. Hit the goddamn restart button because honey, this is a wild hot MESS and whatever all these people are doing is NOT working. If anything it’s making everything WAY worse. Some of the characters are actively trying to burn everything down so there isn’t even anything to restart! Oh no!

Be warned though, that starting over can have consequences that, um…aren’t so great.

What is notable about this story?

There are very real dangers in the conclusion to this trilogy. Ragan, the monk turned Alanga, has not only figured out what the white-bladed swords do but has actually started using them for that purpose and, as Mephi would say, that is a very bad. Third books often lack tension because you know things are usually going to work out, but in this trilogy failure is an option, and Stewart will keep you guessing until the very end.

The reveal(s) about ossalen was(were) spectacular. You will cry. Prepare yourself.

THE ENDING: it was perfect, and it’s rare for me to say that. It was just as good as the ending for Naomi Novik’s Scholomance trilogy, which blew me away.

Was anything not so great?

In the acknowledgements the author states that this final book was more of a struggle than the previous two, and I could really tell. A great example of this was the repetitiveness of Ranami’s storyline. She was a street urchin, we get it. The number of times I had to read “grew up on the streets” was too many times. If Stewart wanted to give us a deeper connection to Ranami’s past and her trauma, we needed flashbacks or like, a “point 5” novella or something (re: Sightwitch in Susan Dennard’s Witchlands series). It’s already been established that Ranami (and their adopted daughter Ayesh) are street urchins with traumatic pasts. Trust the reader to carry that knowledge with them, especially into the third book in a series where this character has featured prominently.

The good news is that while this overly repetitive pattern finds its way into most of the storylines of this book, it misses Jovis’s. He and Mephi weave in and out of all the others, and experience change and growth the entire way. I would even go so far as to say that this was Jovis’ story all along – Jovis is the shining star of all 3 books. A very good, as Mephi would say.

This wasn’t enough to cause me to not read the book, I’m only mentioning it here because it was so notable compared to the other two books in the trilogy. The ending is so amazing and makes all the drawn out plotlines feel worth it, so please just take this critique with a grain of salt and finish the trilogy.

What’s the verdict?

4 stars on Goodreads and a worthy conclusion to a fantastic trilogy. The imagination behind this world, this magic, this history, these characters, is an imagination to applaud. You’ve finished triumphantly, Andrea Stewart. Congratulations.

If you haven’t started this trilogy yet and you are a fantasy fan, you owe it to yourself to get started. Meet Mephi and Jovis and follow them through. You’ll be better for it.

Support Angry Angel Books!

Been an Angry Angel for a while? Enjoy my reviews? Show me some love!
Find me on the internet via LinkTree:

  1. Check out my Amazon Wish Lists:
    • Angry Angel Books wishlist (copies of books I’ve read and loved and want to own; language learning materials for my future travels)
    • Angry Angel Crafts wishlist (quilting supplies and guides)
    • Angry Angel Athletics wishlist (active clothes and exercise gear for summer get fit goals!)
    • Angry Angel Gaming wishlist (tools and decorations to enhance my live streaming; **note: these are higher ticket items, so if you want to contribute towards one of these, make a one-time donation via Ko-Fi and say which one you want me to commit that money to in the notes section**)
  2. Send a one-time gift via Ko-Fi or Paypal
  3. Become a Patron on Patreon or a Member on Ko-Fi (and check out my updated tier benefits!)
  4. Follow/Subscribe to my Twitch Channel (Angry Angel Book Club meets here on the ).

As always no gifts are required. I’m just happy you’re here. I will post a thank you summary for any gifts received, so if you want your name shared be sure to include a note!