YOU GUYS. I have been waiting (im)patiently to post this book review, because it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time! But I wanted to wait until release day, which was on Tuesday. Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells is a must for anyone who likes fantasy, strong female characters, and LGBTQ+ representation.
Also, I’m borrowing an idea from Lydia of Noveltea for this review. She includes a section in all of her book reviews for why she chose the book, and I thought that was a really good idea, so I’m adopting it myself.
About the Book
Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold.
If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground…
With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?
- Goodreads | Amazon | 304 pages (I think my review copy was longer, but maybe the font changed?)
- Release date July 30, 2019
- I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Why I Chose This Book
I basically lost my composure when I saw the mention of a girl stealing a dragon to rescue her girlfriend. UM, SIGN ME UP, PLEASE. I put in that review request faster than you can say “Claire, I think you’re a little too obsessed with dragons,” and then I jumped through the ceiling when I got approved.
I feel like I’ve been looking for this book my entire life. It was a masterpiece. I can’t stress enough how fantastic it was. It’s Malinda Lo meets The Goose Girl with a little bit of Game of Thrones thrown in.
The world building was incredible. The history and geography of the world was super well planned, and I felt completely immersed. I would love to see a map. Maybe that will appear in the finished book.
That leads in to the main strength of the book, which is the diversity. As you can see from the cover, the main character is non-white. She appears Asian on the cover and that’s how she is described. Her love interest, Kaia, has dark curly hair and darker skin, as do most of the Zefedi. It’s so realistic to have different people in different parts of the world not look all alike. The culture was really well-developed, too. Maren has to figure out how to fit in.
Kaia and Maren. Ah, they really are the sweetest. I can’t describe how happy I am to have a prominent lesbian couple in a fantasy novel. It melts my heart into a puddle of gay butter. And Maren is bisexual! (Or pansexual.) The one thing I was not keen on is that there’s a bit of a love triangle, which I never enjoy. And bi people tend to be stereotyped as promiscuous or more likely to cheat, so the love triangle doesn’t do any wonders to help debunk that stereotype. That knocks half a star off.
The plot is all over the place, and I mean that in the best way – I didn’t predict a single thing. Maren’s goal at the beginning is to rescue Kaia, but it gets amended several times throughout. That’s because of the outstanding characterization. Maren grows SO MUCH throughout the book and I am SO PROUD of her. She goes from being a shadow of her girlfriend to being this amazing, independent, strong-willed, powerful character and it’s truly amazing to read about.
And, dragon bonding? I’m 100% here for it. The Aromatory is an absolutely fascinating concept and plot point, and I’m super impressed with Rebecca Kim Wells’ creativity.
Honestly, this is one of the best books I have read all year, and I can’t recommend it enough. Thank you so much to NetGalley for the ARC. It did not influence my review; I genuinely LOVED this book.
4.5 stars, rounded up to 5