Read-along: The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart (week 4)

The Bone Shard Daughter: A Wyrd and Wonder Read-Along

Wow! I’ve never been so frustrated at the conclusion of a book! Cliffhangers are a killer (which is why backlist reading is sooo appealing, I hate to wait), and Stewart has left us (or maybe just me?) with more questions than answers. Which is handy, in one sense, as I’m providing this week’s prompts, but, phew, it’s made answering them difficult!

So without further ado, let’s talk about the end of The Bone Shard’s Daughter.





Chapters 36 to end

Lin’s a construct, Bayan’s a construct, the people on Maila Isle are constructs … Let’s talk about constructs! We now know far more, but still not enough. What are your thoughts and feelings on the nature of constructs?

Ummm … they’re kind of blowing me away, right now. They started off sounding simple(ish) hybrid creatures made and controlled by the Emperor to run the Empire, but as the story’s progressed the image I had in my mind of fairly straightforward automatons has morphed into one of complex artificial intelligences capable of breaking their programming and achieving self-awareness. That’s pretty cool. And it muddies the waters wonderfully so that I really do need the next book to answer a lot of questions!


Hot on the heels of the revelation that she was not born but made, Lin has learned why she was made *shudder*. Reaction shots, please.

Ewww! No, daddy, no!!

(My second reaction was a nod of acknowledgement in imyril’s direction for seeing this coming!)


The Emperor is dead. (Hurray!) Phalue has successfully usurped her father as governor. (Yay?) Change is on the wind and those Alanga paintings have opened their eyes… Care to make any predictions for what’s coming? Do you think the Alanga are really a threat?

OK, I included Phalue in this prompt for those who want to talk about her, but I don’t so I’m going to skip straight on to the second part:

I feel that Stewart has been keeping the Alanga back throughout the book, a card she’s not planning to play just yet. Possibly a red herring. So I was just sort of ignoring them, happy to believe that the Emperor probably made them up or exaggerated the threat they posed to shore up his own power. But I’ll admit to the faintest niggle of concern now. The painting’s eyes opening was not exactly creepy, but … unsettling? Like maybe I should have been paying more attention?


We’ve also discovered the identity of Sand. Possibly. She has memories that suggest she is Nisong, but she is a construct just like Lin. What does it all mean?? (Not a rhetorical question – please tell me what it all means!)

Seriously – help me! Is Sand/Nisong a failed version of the Emperor’s dead wife? I was so sure Sand was going to be his wife, imprisoned for something she knew or for some power she had, but now I’m so confused! Memory-wise she appears to be Nisong, so was she perhaps intended as a memory-holder until the Emperor had made Lin? But that can’t be right, because he was disappointed when Lin didn’t remember the right things on her own, and it sounds like Sand/Nisong and the others on Maila Isle have been dumped there specifically because they can’t be got at, which is hardly where you’d put someone carrying valuable memories. I am tying myself in knots trying to work this out… I have to have missed something…

Argh! I no longer know what’s going on!! Somebody give me a theory to cling to until The Bone Shard Emperor is published!


Jovis and Mephi have arrived on Imperial Island and come face to face with Lin and Thrana. This is an Interesting Development. What are your theories on Mephi and Thrana? Also on the Emperor’s laboratory and what he was using Thrana for?

I do not know. I feel like there’s a giant hole between bone shard magic and the kind of magic Mephi seems to embody/channel. They feel like different types of magic, so I don’t understand how the Emperor could have been using Thrana. But then, I don’t understand how the memory machine was supposed to have worked, nor how the Emperor might have been growing people. If Lin has Emahla’s eyes *shudder* that suggests she’s been made up of bits of different people in the same way other constructs are made up of bits of different animals. That’s a different thing to growing whole people.

I’m excited to see another creature like Mephi, though (those curling horns! All the hearts!). And so so much angrier with the Emperor for abusing this creature (his death should have been so much more terrible than it was). I wonder what Thrana will be like? She is older than Mephi (by how much? Is she full grown, or still growing?) and has been captured and used in some sort of infernal experiment – will she be damaged? Broken? Angry? Dangerous?

And she and Lin seem to have immediately bonded in the way Mephi and Jovis are bonded. What will this mean for Lin?


And, of course, there’s so much more! What else is on your mind? Share!

More questions! I have nothing but questions!

Can Lin pull off being the Emperor? How’s she’s going to manage it with no friends or connections?

Is Emahla really dead? I still think she may be on Maila Isle (I desperately want to believe she is), but then there was that rather nasty moment with the eyes, so … um, maybe not?

What are/were the Alanga? What kind of magic do/did they use? What was the Emperor’s secret weapon against them? Why were they a threat in the first place?

How do these various magics fit together? The Alanga had magic, but we know nothing about it. Bone shard magic is presumably different (and a very bad). The magic working between Mephi and Jovis appears to be different again. And then the Emperor was using a creature like Mephi in his memory machine – how do these things go together? Sometimes I can go with the flow, but I want this magic system explained, dagnabbit.

Where does witstone fit in all of this? Or is it really just magic coal after all?




  1. Yep, cliffhangers are a big reason why I wait until a series is finished now. I don’t have the patience for authors to act like asses anymore. and writing cliffhangers for big books qualifies as a real donkey thing to do.

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  2. So many questions!!! And I loved your prompts for this week, I really went off on multiple tangents, as you’ll see tomorrow 😅 I wrote my post a few days ago so I can’t remember exactly what I said but I think I presented some Sand/Nisong theories… I really want to know more
    about Thrana and Mephi!! Are there more of them? Imagine just being in a room full of them, it’d be like being surrounded by puppies

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    • A room filled with Mephi creatures? Heaven!! ❤
      Still have to catch up on everyone’s responses, but I look forward to yours. Especially any and all Sand/Nisong theories!

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  3. You’re not wrong about frustrating. I finished this and rather than waiting to post my own thoughts first, I rushed here to see if someone shared that frustration. Too much left unresolved here.

    Re The Alanga… I dunno. I feel too big a deal has been made for them to be nothing. But it feels like the direction Stewart is going for it to be nothing. But, well, I’m kinda thinking I’ve got to read another book to find out…

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  4. My murderboard – sorry, discussion post – goes up tomorrow with all my theories, but totally with you on EW SHIYEN NO and being in awe (if also squicked out) by the complexity of the constructs. Also – sorry Jovis – I no longer think Emahla is alive, except as part of Lin.

    I think the link between Mephi/Thrana and imperial magic is witstone. Both Mephi and Thrana come from places where witstone was mined; witstone is a power source (when you burn it it makes your ship go faster), while Mephi (and I’m assuming Thrana) are both a sort of power source for people (they heal people) AND Mephi’s breath can work like burning witstone on ships (and just as you use up your witstone by burning it, Mephi wears himself out – dangerously – when using his breath).

    So, uh, energy dragons? Witstone spirits? Cute sea balrogs?

    The legends have an Alanga fighting the sea serpent Mephisolou, so I’m uncertain that they are an Alanga ‘thing’ (why should everything be Alanga or Imperial, anyway) – vs a creature that hasn’t been seen since Alanga times.

    Regardless, I think Thrana was being used as part of the cloning process – breathing life into Bayan 3.0 (3.1? 10? XP? Who knows how many there have been, argh). Hopefully she will recover just fine now she’s not plugged in. Unless, of course, Lin decides to make her own Bayan… LIN NO.

    I have nothing but murderboards for Sand/Nisong – I’ll save that for my post tomorrow 😉

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    • *scratches beard* If they’re linked to the witstone, why do they hate it so much?

      Also… I’m not sold on them being Alanga, but some type of hereditary enemy tied to them who’ve been reawakened at the same time makes sense and I think Stewart is sorta pointing at that. Dunno if that’s a bluff or not.

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    • Witstone being the connection between the various magics makes me happier- that’s both plausible and pleasing. Thank you! *sighs with relief at a possible answer*

      Looking forward to reading your thoughts (I’ve got catching up to do).

      And good point, not all things need to be either Alanga or Imperial.


  5. I do have so many questions. But I’m kind of excited? It has definitely made this readalong a lot of fun. And I want the next book now… But I am wondering if Maila had anything to do with the Alanga and that maybe that’s part of putting the previous constructs there. Maybe they are an early warning system? I feel like my theories shift every hour now that I’ve finished the book.

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  6. I’ve got the same opinion of Sand/Nisong – at first I thought she was the Emperor’s wife, now I am not so certain… You’ve summed up lots of great questions at the end of this post! I enjoyed this book because it did read to me as a full, complete story without too many cliffhangers – but still enough tidbits scattered throughout to pique my interest and make me want to read the next book.

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