The Bone Shard Emperor

Orbit. (The Drowning Empire, Bk. 2). Nov. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780316541503. $28. FANTASY
In the sequel to Stewart’s fantasy debut (The Bone Shard Daughter), Lin Sukai is now empress of an Asian-inspired kingdom, following a vicious struggle. Leading the Empire is a challenge, and no one trusts Lin as she tries to form alliances fraught with tension and resistance. Islands in the northern part of the Empire are being conquered by a rebel force, led by one who knows far too much about Lin’s lineage. As islands continue to fall—some to the rebels; some by sinking into the ocean’s depths—Lin is faced with another threat: the return of the Alanga, the powerful magicians forced into obscurity by the Empire long ago. Lin needs the Alanga’s aid against the rebel army but can’t be sure that they’re as peaceful as they claim—might they have designs on the Empire? Relationships are created and torn apart and long-held secrets are revealed, narrated from multiple points of view, as plot lines broaden towards “The Drowning Empire” trilogy’s final book.
VERDICT Stewart expands the rich world of the Empire, where magic and political machinations are the keys to power.
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