Howdy, howdy! It’s the last Wednesday of July, so you should all know what that means. It’s time for another book review! This month, I felt like getting into something fantastical, maybe with dragons or something, so that’s what I looked for on NetGalley. They recommended the young adult novel Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells, which was released yesterday (July 30th). It sounded interesting, so I went ahead and requested it. I must thank NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for allowing me access to an ARC (advanced reader copy) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Now, let’s get to the review.
Shatter the Sky follows Maren who leaves her secluded home in the hopes of rescuing her girlfriend, Kaia, who is taken by the Aurati seers. Maren never actually wanted to leave her home and always believed she was average, especially next to Kaia who was obviously meant for greater things than the mountains could provide. But when Kaia is stolen, Maren decides she needs to reclaim a dragon from the Flame of the West (the warlord who loves nothing more than conquering lands) and rain down fire and destruction upon the Aurati. But how is an average girl like her supposed to do that? With a little help from friends, apparently. But is Sev, a guy she meets along the way, really a friend? And can his allies really help her rescue Kaia? Maren doesn’t have any idea what she’s doing or who to trust, but she does all she can to keep moving forward.
The plot is pretty standard fantasy fare. An underdog rises above her challenges in order to achieve her goals, discovering along the way that she’s actually super special. Not only must she face physical obstacles, but there’s also a budding romance with the new friend despite her devotion to her heartmate, which brings up shame and all that good stuff. And there’s an adorable little dragon that gets sucked into the adventures. It’s a little predictable at points, but still enjoyable.
It’s not the plot that pulled me in, but the characters. Of course, in the beginning, Kaia is the obvious choice for a heroine, but then she’s abducted and we only get to see snippets of her in Maren’s visions. By the end, she’s so completely changed that it makes me want to read the next book to find out what she really becomes. Maren is headstrong and a little flighty. She rarely has more than a vague notion of a plan, but that never stops her. However, her insistence that Kaia is somehow better than her does become annoying. Sev is an ambiguous character that could either be really good or he could go really bad, which is fun. He’s adamant that his cause is the only way to a better future, which most villains feel the same way. But if he keeps with Maren, and lets her influence shape him, he could become a hero in his own right. This book is leaning toward the latter for him, but it doesn’t mean he won’t veer off in the next book. Otherwise, I love the dragons and want more of them.
The writing itself was smooth and a made for nice read. A lot of the description was beautiful and the pacing pulled me along at a good clip. The dialogue occasionally felt stilted, but not enough to really distract from the story.
Ultimately, I enjoyed Shatter the Sky so much that I’m looking forward to book two and am a little sad that I have to wait for it.
Overall, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Like I said, it’s standard fantasy fare, but the characters made it worth reading for me. If you enjoy character development and can get past some predictableness, this is definitely worth reading.