Read-along: The Bone Shard Daughter – week three

The Bone Shard Daughter Read-along

Although Lin continues to impress her father with her simulated memories, her tentative friendship with Bayan is reset after her foster brother falls ill. Meanwhile Jovis finds himself thrust into the heart of the Shardless Few’s plans, but the more he sees of Gio, the more uneasy he grows…

Welcome back to the Wyrd and Wonder read-along, where we’re discussing The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart. We’re very deep in spoiler territory now, so proceed at your own risk! Lisa of Dear Geek Place is our host this week

Sand appears to be organising something of a rebellion herself – but against what? Any ideas about what might be happening to the people on Maila, and why? For that matter, do you have any theories about who Sand herself might be/where she came from?

The blue-sailed ship seems to be a clear link between Maila and Jovis, suggesting Sand (or one of her companions) might be his long-lost Emahla. Her flashes of memories of the Emperor and the palace on Imperial initially had me assuming this might be Lin’s fate if he decides she’s an irredeemable failure… but given what we now know, I have a horrible feeling that Lin and Bayan might just get reused for parts. I’m still leaning towards Sand’s memories being linked to the Emperor’s mysterious memory machine. Is the Emperor kidnapping citizens to experiment on them and then hiding the discards on Maila?

Ranami got something of a taste of her own confrontational medicine in another discussion with Phalue, this week. What do you think the future holds for these two? Are either of them really in the right here?

So this week’s opening chapter suggests I misunderstood Phalue being present when Gio laid out the plan to Jovis, and gives us the scene I felt was missing. It was surprisingly understated in the end, and I liked Phalue a little better for holding on to her temper when drawing the line with Ranami (and felt a little sorry for her as the emotional imbalance in the relationship became clear). While I agree with Ranami that change is desperately needed, I’m disappointed in her for not considering exactly what she’s asking of her lover: not just to betray her Governor, but her Dad. Come on, Ranami. There’s no ducking that this is as personal as it is political – and that’s a HUGE ask even if your lover’s politics were more closely aligned with yours. It will take a lot to sell me on a happy ever after for these two

Do you think Jovis’s power really is connected to Mephi somehow, or is something else going on?

Let me ask right back at you: does Jovis lose his powers because Mephi is too far away – or sick – or does Mephi get sick because Jovis is bitten by a construct? If not, then what is making Mephi sick? Is it something to do with the Alanga cave?

…although I guess all my questions are rooted in a fundamental assumption that yes, there’s a link between Jovis’s power and Mephi.

Regardless, Mephi better be okay or I will be in bits.

“I lived in a dollhouse of my father’s making, a living graveyard.” We get part of the truth about Lin (and Bayan!) revealed this week, following a rather harrowing massacre; how do you feel about this particular twist? And what do you think the Emperor’s goal here might be?

Unlike a number of my reading buddies, I hadn’t considered that Lin might be a construct. I’m loving this development, although I’m unclear whether they’re constructs – in the sense of being made from multiple people – or an exercise in inserting shard programming into an individual. Either way, the programming can clearly cause horrid side effects if it’s flawed – and just as clearly neither of them are actually the Emperor’s children.

So, my big theory is that Lin’s journal was written by the woman she thinks of as her mother, and – because I’m a Gothic romantic at heart – that the Emperor is trying to recreate his wife. I still have much dark suspicion about what happened to his wife; and I have no idea what the deal with the witstone mine on Imperial is, but I’m relishing all these new wrinkles in the plot.

I didn’t relish the fate of Numeen and his family. While I can see in retrospect that this was always the likely outcome of his supporting Lin, I am feeling rather battered by it. I was so pleased that she showed qualms about inscribing new shards this week and that she recognised at last how selfish she was being – for this to end in the family’s massacre hurt. The sudden and complete massacre also felt like a darker turn tonally – which I realise sounds a bit naive given we’re talking about a story which involves systematic oppression, forced trepanning of children and life-sucking necromantic magic. Nonetheless, it makes me worry about what else Andrea Stewart has in store for us…

Thoughts from around the Endless Sea

But wait, this is a read-along – what did everybody else have to say?

Links will be added once they go live.

Don’t see your blog here? I may have missed you are joining us – add your post to the Wyrd and Wonder master schedule and I’ll pick it up and include you here!

Reading Schedule

We’ll be reading to the end this coming week, with questions posed by Mayri @ BookForager.