Book review: Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

Title: Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication date: 30 July 2019

Genre: Fantasy | Young adult

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Do you like dragons? Do you like bisexual heroines? Then this is the book for you! Shatter the Sky is a fun and unique new fantasy world with a fantastic magic system, cool as hell dragons and a bisexual MC.

Maren and Kaia are best friends and lovers, living in Ilvera under the rule of their Zefedi oppressors. Ilvera had been the birthplace of dragons, but the Zefedi conquerors had stole the dragons, now training them in captivity as war machines. When Kaia is violently kidnapped by the emperor’s Seers (the Aurati), Maren embarks on a journey to steal a dragon and rescue her.

I don’t think you can get more ‘me’ than bi girls + dragons, and this book definitely did not disappoint. I am in love with the dragons, and the magic system around them. The dragons can be controlled via a set of oils, some of which encourage the dragon to fight, others which make them go to sleep. I haven’t seen something quite like this before and it was so interesting! Maren manages to blag her way into the dragon training castle, and in her investigations ends up as the apprentice to Neve, who works in something called an Aromatory. There, Maren learns how to make the oils which control the dragons. The bonding process/training of the dragons is just so dark in a book that does have a lighter writing style. The dragons seem able to think and understand like humans, and can see into the minds of others. And yet they are reduced to nothing by use of these drugs to force them to behave in certain ways.

I also thought the Aurati were extremely interesting, and I wish we’d found out more about that organisation (hopefully this will come later in the series!) The Aurati seem so evil from Maren’s POV, and as the book progresses we do get some more info about how their seer powers work which I won’t describe as it would give a lot away, but it is SO COOL, and I really hope we find out more about them in the second book.

I absolutely love seeing bisexuality in fantasy – particularly when it’s the main character! It’s so rare and I love that it was just part of the story and not a big deal at all. In saying that, the romance between Kaia and Maren was actually my least favourite part of the story and the reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars. I really struggled with Kaia, who just doesn’t seem like a very nice person at all. Their relationship felt more like hero worship from Maren, with Kaia just enjoying that worship and thinking she deserved it – there didn’t seem to be much more depth. I struggled with the first 50 pages or so because of this, as I just couldn’t root for their relationship and wasn’t particularly interested in hearing Maren mope about Kaia.

However once Kaia is kidnapped and Maren embarks on her resuce mission, the story and characters really pick up. Maren really developed without the shadow of Kaia over her into a powerful and strong character, angry at the empire and willing to do whatever it takes to resuce Kaia and free the dragons. I really like her friendship with Sev, a guard at the dragon training castle who seems to be hiding as many secrets as Maren is. I like how Maren’s feelings develop for him, from thinking he is just a tool she can use to help her, to be willing to save his life. I’m interested to see how these relationships pan out in the second book. Maren has changed so much and it really lets her see Kaia in a different light. As much as I would have LOVED to see a f/f relationship at the core of this book because I want as many high fantasy f/f relationships as possible, I don’t want it to be with Kaia so I hope the relationship with Sev is developed more – Sev is willing to fight to change things, whilst Kaia just doesn’t seem to be (yet at least) and so I feel Sev and Maren are much more suited to each other. But I do oh so love that the book actually portrays bisexuality honestly.

There are also a few other secondary characters who I thought were really interesting and definitely hiding something. I really want to see more of Neve, the head of the aromatory. She seemed less than keen on the empire, and yet still worked to train the dragons. We don’t see how Maren’s actions affected her at the dragon training castle, so I’d love to see more of her. I also am really keen to see more of Rowena and Melchior – they both seem like super fierce (also 100% got queer vibes for them both!!) women and I hope they feature more in the second book.

This was a really exciting start to a new fantasy trilogy and I am so excited to see where it goes (especially after that cliffhanger!!) I adore the dragons and the magic system, and can’t wait to see the ‘lil baby dragon grows up! Maren grew so much across this book into a fierce and determined woman and I am really excited to see her set fire to the empire.

Paws out,
Rach + Draco

3 thoughts on “Book review: Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

  1. […] Shatter the Sky technically releases at the end of July but I was lucky enough to get a NetGalley review copy and hence I am counting it as my read book this week. This book contains dragons (both fierce and adorable), bisexual heroine and a mission to take down an evil regime – and it’s so good! You can read my full review of this title here! […]

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  2. […] Dragons & bisexuals, bisexuals & dragons – could a book need more? How about a kind of bi love triangle that actually shows BOTH sides of bisexuality?! That would be a yes yes yes. When Maren’s girlfriend Kaia is kidnapped by the evil oppressors who rule their country, Maren vows to rescue her. She sneaks into the dreaded Dragon training fortress, aiming to steal a dragon and rain fire to get Kaia back. On route, she mets Sev, a guard at the fortress who seems to be hiding a secret as well. I adored the magic system in this book, and the way the dragons could be controlled with different aromas. The dragons are both fearsome and adorable, and I’m so keen to read the sequel! A full review can be found here. […]

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  3. […] Bisexuals with dragons! Bisexuals with dragons! Bisexuals with dragons! Shatter the Sky is the first in a duology which concludes later this year, about a bisexual (obviously) who goes to rescue her girlfriend by stealing a dragon. The magic system around the dragons is so interesting and unique – aromatherapy magic anyone?! There are different scented oils which can work the dragons up into different states (such as put them to sleep, make them angry etc). There’s a very dark undertone to this fantasy, with the enslavement of these dragons who can think and have minds as clever as humans but are reduced to nothing by use of these drugs. Plus, we have a bisexual m/f/f love triangle which I love to see. Check out my full review here. […]

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