The world built by Andrea Stewart in the debut fantasy Bone Shard Daughter is beautiful, complex and enticing, and the narrative is driven by questions of identity, connections to community and finding one's place in the world, despite what one's predetermined position in it might be.
Lin doesn't remember anything from before five years ago, but she knows one thing for certain: she is the emperor's daughter and she will not fail, despite her father's refusal to recognize her as his heir or to educate her in the same way he is training his foster son, Bayan. Meanwhile, Sand doesn't know who she is or how she got to the island she lives on, but she knows she needs to remember more, and to pull others like her out of the fog. Phalue is the governor's daughter on Nephilanu Island, but is being drawn into the revolution by her lover, Ranami. And finally, Jovis just wants to find his lost wife, but the powers that be seem to have other plans for him and Mephi, a strange creature that has attached itself to him as they fled a sinking island. As these four individuals navigate their paths through the Empire, the world they know is changing, as signs that the mysterious Alanga might be returning.
Stewart's characters are complex and push toward one other in ways that draw readers in and keep them wanting more. If there is anything to criticize in this captivating fantasy, it is the cliffhanger ending with no expected publishing date for the sequel. --Michelle Anya Anjirbag, freelance reviewer