*Comes rushing in, clutching books and notebooks and spilling pencils* I’m here! I swear I am!
All right, fantasy nerds – it’s time to get my discussion hat on and dive into this year’s Wyrd and Wonder Read-along for Andrea Stewart’s The Bone Shard Daughter. In Part 1, we meet a very interesting cast of characters and begin to feel our way around Stewart’s world. It’s first impressions all the way down!
I am thoroughly excite. Let’s do this.
Welcome to Stewart’s glorious world! What are your initial impressions?
My initial impressions are deeply impressed, heh!
One thing that immediately struck me, and I love it when this happens, is that the descriptive talent Stewart shows really stands out. I love a good evocative image put forth in words, and it’s a skill that all my favourite writers have. So that bodes well! Right away I felt immersed in these places, and it went a long way to helping me connect with the characters who are so bound up in those places.
Also, I’m having a time trying to come up with very many novels, especially the first in a series, that more or less opens with a catastrophic event. It’s a bold move and I can’t wait to see how far those ripples, pun intended, go here.
What do you make of the magic system and the world-building?
World-building: again, very evocative and I love that. I think the politics have plenty of room to thicken the plot at this point, but I’m absolutely here for it. I like my first impressions to ease me into a new fantasy world rather than throwing me headfirst into its politics, and I feel like Stewart has done this. So I’m happily along for the ride from here.
The magic system: Also very impressed by this. It feels very dark, of course, but not so dark that it’s turning me off or making me too uneasy. It does do that, of course it does, but I’m still intrigued by how it works, and how this informs the characters who are most closely associated with it (Lin, Bayan, the Emperor). I also love that there’s immediately a sense of how this affects the people who have to “contribute”; the people upon whose backs the Emperor has built his power do matter here, and I can certainly appreciate that.
Is there a character you’re particularly drawn to so far?
MEPHI. I mean, come on. Seriously, if you’d led with “there’s an intelligent, adorable and very mysterious small animal involved” I would have been on this book like a rash far sooner.
MEPHI. Any guesses/wild theories about Jovis’s new furry friend?
Nope! Not a one. Or, I guess, too many to count, haha! I am honestly just happy to ride along and see what becomes of Mephi. Rare magical creature, common species out of their element, or forgotten god in disguise? Who knows! Any and all of it. Just give me more Mephi.
What do you make of Lin’s motivations? How much do you think she’s driven by a desire to save her Empire – or are her motivations more selfish?
I think’s a mix of both – I do believe she wants to make her Empire better and more secure, and maybe that’s a good thing and maybe it’s not. That depends on the kind of person she truly turns out to be, and she’s interesting because right now, I’m not entirely sure where she stands on that scale of right versus wrong. I don’t think her motivations are entirely selfish, but I do think there’s a selfish element there for sure. She wants to put a stop to the dangerous political agenda of a very possibly unstable old man (close to home much?), but it’s also clear she’s acting out of a desire to have her father notice her. Maybe it isn’t affection she wants, not exactly, but again – this is why she’s so interesting.
And I’m sure none of her decisions will be unwise and everything will go well from here. Now who’s got the popcorn?
That’s it for my first impressions, though I’m looking forward to a deeper dive in the next round! If you’d like to join in or just tag along and keep up with what the rest of our merry band thinks, imyril has you covered with the schedule and links over at There’s Always Room For One More!