ARC Review #22 | The Bone Shard Daughter & Book Review #20 | Ranger’s Oath.

Hey guys! I wanted to review books as soon as I read– so I don’t pile them up for later and forget them– hence I’m posting two reviews today.

I told myself that I’ll not be reading much this month, but what can I do when my most anticipated read ends up on my lap? 

I started reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue on Thursday and lovin’ it so far. I can’t wait to speak about this book but have a few others to read before I finish this, so that’s gonna wait. 

Okay, I’m going to stop rambling now, and let’s move on to the reviews for today.

About the Book

Title: The Bone Shard Daughter • By: Andrea Stewart

Published on:  8 Apr 2021 • By: Orbit (Little, Brown Book Group UK)

Pace: Slow • Pages: 496 • Age: 12 and above

Series: The Drowning Empire #1 • Genre: Fantasy Fiction/ SFF

Song: Foreign Hands by George Ogilvie

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.

I received a copy of this book from Orbit (Little, Brown Book Group UK) courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

Rep: East Asian characters, w/w relationship

The Phoenix Empire: This story is told from 5 different POV’s. Each story switches between different islands in the Phoenix Empire. The empire is run by a dictator who controls everyone with his constructs powered by bone shard magic. Everyone in the empire is forced to participate in the tithing festival, where they are supposed to give their bone shards to run the empire. It’s mandatory for everyone, and people are not happy about this. You can’t expect your people to respect you when you force them to give their bones to run your empire, can we?

As I said, bones are like the powerhouse for these constructs. The constructs are tied to the life of the owner of the shards. It’s a parasitic bond where the shard would drain the owner’s life to keep them alive and working. People are sick and die young because their energy and life are being sucked out of them by these constructs, yet the emperor says he’s doing all this for their good and a better future.

The constructs were like robots who were coded with commands on the shards inserted into them. It’s hard to believe that they could write long commands on these shards because how big can they be? These commands were small phrases or lines which could be re-written as there were loopholes that could be used to one’s advantage. Which was what Lin did, and it was so clever of her to change the commands of some of the main constructs that worked for her father.

Instead of people running the council, there were constructs instead of people running it for the emperor. The emperor might look harmless, but he was awful; and most of his works, to be precise, the experiments he conducted were appalling.

Characters: Lin, the Emperor’s daughter (Imperial Island); Sand (Malia Island); Jovi, smuggler and a legend (Deerhead, Nephilanu, Imperial Islands); Phalue, daughter of the governor (Nephilanu Island); Ranami, Phalue’s girlfriend and Rebel (Nephilanu Island); Shardless Few, the rebellion group; Mephi, Jovis’ pet. These are the main characters in the book.

Lin was trying to please her father from the beginning. She would get keys to doors with secrets for shard magic if she impressed him on a task. Though she wanted to run things differently, she didn’t take any steps to stop using bone shards.
Jovis was in search of his lost wife, who went missing 7 years ago. He has a reputation, and everyone would recognize him from the posters hanging around. Though he started the journey to get his wife back, his motive changed as the plot progressed. There is one twist in the end which just left me confused and curious.
Phalue was the governor’s daughter, and she had a sheltered life and couldn’t fathom the harsh reality of the people who were struggling to live. She has a commoner mother, but that never erased the fact that she was privileged, which rubbed in her face many times in the book.
I was questioning most of Ranami’s motives. She says that she loves Phalue, but she took advantage of her feelings. She supported the Shardless Few, but she realizes that not everything is black and white when it comes to people who claim to do good things.
Of all the characters, I liked Mephisolou a lot. He was a mystery till the end. He is described to be a cat-like, webbed foot animal, who can speak, and has his own magic. Without him, Jovis wouldn’t have crossed across the Endless Sea. He was the only character that I was very intrigued to read.

• I liked the plot for what it was. It was a combination of mystery, magic, and quest. I might have to take my time with this book because it had a promising plot, and the build-up was done neatly.

The Bone Shard Daughter is terrific, haunting, and staggering. It was great to see these characters dreaming and working separately yet were together with their sole aim to destroy the emperor’s rule. I couldn’t connect much with the characters but liked the story told by them. The last few chapters were great. There were so many twists in the end that left me gaping at my phone. I will try to reread this book someday because it has a great premise, and I’d like to see what happens next.

The best of intentions could be subverted by greed.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
TW // Violence, Memory loss, Missing loved one, Drowning imagery, Cutting into skin (not by self), physical abuse.
About the Book

Title: Ranger’s Oath • By: Blake Arthur Peel

Published: February 28th 2020 • By: Aethon Books

Pace: Fast • Pages: 326 • Age: 13 and above

Series: Arc of Radiance/Fall of Radiance #1 • Genre: Epic Fantasy, YA Fantasy

Song: Paris by Else

The barrier between worlds is broken. Only he knows the truth…

Magic has protected Tarsynium for a thousand years, shielding its people from being ravaged by bloodthirsty demons. When a young ranger’s apprentice named Owyn Lund discovers that the Arc of Radiance has been breached, he tries to warn anybody who will listen.

But legends aren’t supposed to be real.

When a village is mysteriously destroyed, rangers, mages, and rebels all point the finger, blaming each other for the demons’ brutality. However, Zara Dennel, a mage’s ward, has heard Owyn’s tale—and she’s inclined to believe him.

Together, they must prove that friendship is greater than intolerance, unity is more important than division, and that even the most powerful magic can sometimes not be enough.

Failure means the end of all things. A second—and lasting—Doom.

Experience the beginning of a thrilling Epic Fantasy series suitable for all ages. It’s perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Sarah J. Maas, and Brandon Sanderson.

•This book had so much going on for the first book in a series. The story is told from two POV’s- Owyn and Zara. Owyn is a ranger’s apprentice. He was kind, thought twice before inflicting harm on others, and mostly reminded me of Elias in An Ember in the Ashes. He was a very skilled archer and found peace whenever he was with his bow and arrows. 

Zara was a mage initiate. Mages were primarily the people who protected the people in Tarsynium with their Magefyre and magic.She came off as a judgy person in the beginning. She looked down on the rangers and was prejudiced that rangers were uncivilized and rural. She does realize that rangers are “civilized ” as they are. She was a curious person and a scholar, like other mages. She mostly liked reading about Demonology, and that came in handy in the latter part of the story.

•We are thrown into the first chapter, where Owyn and his master Elias encounter a demon in the woods while they were hunting. Only Owyn has seen this demon and is laughed at when he recounts the tale to his master. One of the reasons why this is brushed off by his master is because the Arc protects Tarsynium from foreign invasion, including demons. It has been centuries since a demon attacked Tarsynium, so I get why they were hesitant and disbelieved the whole demon issue.

Tarsynium is ruled by King Aethelgar. The Conclave is the most powerful organization after the monarch’s rule. They are informed about some attacks and disturbances in Haven and send their Arch-Magister, other mages, and Zara to look into this matter.

They get along with the rangers to try and find if The Nightingales (free rebels who hate the king) were the ones causing this noise.

• I like novels when there are action scenes with archery. I was reminded of Game of Thrones a lot while reading this book. Like in GoT, it takes a lot to convince the mages that demons were breaching their impenetrable Arc.
This book was not that long. It was crisp, exceptionally written, and kept me turning the pages. I liked that Owyn and Zara combined their strength together and fought the demons.

For once in Fantasy, I’m happy to read a story where there was friendship and not a romance trope going on. Though there is a possibility of that happening in the next book, this one highlighted their friendship, which I think should be represented a lot in books. I loved the concept of the Arc of Radiance and how the radiance was the source of magic in the book. When I read about the darkhound, I was taken back to the City of Bones. I was a bit distracted a few times and found myself reading repititve passages but I kept reading it anyway.

Ranger’s Oath is utterly gripping. It wasn’t a complex story and was kept on point. It depicted how one doesn’t necessarily need to have magic with them to defeat darkness. Strengths combined are enough to fight the dark. I admire that this book focused on friendship instead of giving the readers a romance trope. So if you’re looking for an epic fantasy with many action-packed scenes and demons thrown into the mix, then this the book you should go for. The book ends with a reminder that this was just the beginning, and I can’t imagine what more is in store for me.

When the sun sets, we’re never completely in the dark. We can make our own light, and help others become lights as well, and continue to do that until the sun rises again in the morning.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
TW // Violence, Blood, Carnage, Graphic depiction of killing, Animal Killing.

That’s all for today, and hope you enjoyed reading this post.
Let me know if you’ve read this book or your thoughts on it in the comments. Happy Weekend!

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”

— Oscar Wilde

Paperbacktomes Gratitude Pic 2021

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