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* “Rebecca Kim Wells has crafted a top-notch dragon story. Her fantasy world-building is excellent, the plot anchored by a strong young woman who feels both nuanced and real...The story builds momentum until its breathtaking finish, concluding the episode while leaving larger issues unresolved and ready to be picked up in the second installment of this promised duology.” -- Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW
"Debut author Wells' beautiful prose and compelling protagonist will leave readers eager for the sequel." -- Kirkus Reviews
"A great addition to high school library collections, particularly those looking for LGBTQ romance." -- School Library Journal
"Wells’ satisfying and inclusive debut hits the fantasy trifecta: rich world building, nuanced characters, and deeply impressive dragons. A new author—and new series—to watch." -- Booklist
"A thrilling fantasy adventure." -- Publishers Weekly
"This is a compelling, inclusive, deftly written debut fantasy, and I am very much looking forward to the sequel." -- Tor.com
"In Shatter the Sky, Rebecca Kim Wells has created a fierce, brave, stalwart protagonist and a full-realized fantasy world reminiscent of writers like Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley, all infused with intersectionality, feminism, and, of course, dragons. This is a fairytale for people who have never seen themselves in fairytales before. Anne McCaffrey for the next generation, and I absolutely devoured it." -- Mackenzi Lee, bestselling author of THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE
"Rebecca Kim Wells' debut combines epic storytelling and inclusive worldbuilding to create a novel that feels both timeless and timely. Come for the dragons; stay for the exhilarating ending that will have you eagerly awaiting the sequel." -- Melissa Bashardoust, author of GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
Breathe. My lungs burned as I pushed myself to go faster up the mountain trail, keeping my eyes fixed on the girl who ran just a few steps ahead of me. Twigs snapped beneath my feet, and my bag thumped against my back with every stride. The scent of pine hung in the air around us, and the muscles in my legs strained as the path steepened. Kaia pulled farther ahead, and I could imagine her laughing at me. She had always been the faster one. Breathe. I lifted my gaze just enough to see the crest of the hill, the promise of sky ahead—but instead of following Kaia up and over, I darted off to the left. Navigating through the underbrush, I coasted downhill toward the narrow beach and the water that lay beyond.
The lake of Ilvera was a crystalline blue body nestled into a dip in the side of the mountain that most downmountainers didn’t even know existed. As usual, the beach was empty. Most Verrans avoided this place, hating to see the ruins that loomed on the other side of the lake—a cruel reminder of all that had been lost when the tyrant conquered Ilvera. But Kaia and I never minded the solitude.
Giddy triumph caught in my chest as I reached the sand, my steps slowing. I dropped my bag and flopped down on the ground, breathing deeply. The race had seemed like a good idea at the time—something to take our minds off what was coming tonight. But I had dressed for the morning’s misty weather, not this unseasonably warm afternoon. I wiped away the sweat beading on my forehead and shaded my eyes as Kaia stumbled to a stop next to me. She bent over, hands on her knees. “No fair! You cheated!”
“So you missed the turn,” I said. “That’s not my fault.”
“You’re impossible,” she said.
“And what are you going to do about it?” I sat up, shrugging off my jacket.
She paused, considering. “Not a thing, Maren,” she said finally, letting her bag fall off her shoulders. She arched an eyebrow. “Not a single thing.”
Two boots hit the ground. A tunic and undershirt followed, and after that her trousers, and then she was laughing at me from the lake. I stripped off my clothes and splashed in after her, the frigid water raising gooseflesh on my arms and shocking the air from my lungs. I dove under and surfaced next to Kaia, gasping and laughing at the same time. The sky was clear and the sun bright, and in this instant I felt painfully small and larger than the entire mountain all at once.
Kaia’s skin was a deeper brown than mine, though I tanned over the summer months—a trait I’d inherited from my Zefedi father, along with black hair so straight even the wind couldn’t curl it. Her hair, on the other hand, was proper Verran: a tumbling mass of rich brown curls when dry. At present it was an unruly mess, streaming water down her back.
I reached out and tugged a curl playfully. Kaia pulled me close, framing my face with her hands. “I missed you,” she said.
“We were in the kitchens all day, we barely saw each other!”
I laughed, but I couldn’t help kissing her. There were a lot of things I couldn’t help when it came to Kaia. For a moment we treaded water, close enough to trade breaths in between kisses. Finally I forced myself to move away, slow, like thickened honey.
“I’ll miss this next year,” she said dreamily.
Next year. I didn’t want to think of that, not now. So instead I ducked my head below the water and came up splashing. Kaia mock scowled and returned fire, which led to a brief battle that ended only when I was out of breath, my hands raised in capitulation.
“You surrender?” Her eyes were narrowed in suspicion, hands at the ready.
“I do, I do!”
“Then as the victor, I demand tribute.” She tossed her hair back. “A kiss.”
Her cheeks were flushed from exertion, her eyes bright and challenging. One thick curl snaked its way over her bare shoulder and dipped below the surface, and I couldn’t help my gaze lingering on where her skin met water. Kaia. She looked like a goddess, a legend, one of the dragon mistresses of old. It was times like these that I felt so keenly what everyone else in our village knew to be true: She was meant for greater things.
And for some reason, she had chosen me.
I smiled and swam to her, put my arms around her so one hand rested on the small of her back, so I could feel my heart beating against hers, and kissed her.
Not too long afterward we emerged from the lake and flung ourselves onto the sand. We lay side by side as the sun dried us, our faces turned up to the sky. I should have felt peaceful. The lake was our place—it had been this way since we were children. Instead, the dread that had woken me this morning reared its craggy head.
Ilvera had bustled with activity for close to a week in preparation for the Aurati seers’ pilgrimage. Most people from our neighboring villages had arrived days ago, and all hands had been put to work. But now there were no more ducks to be dressed, no more buns to be stuffed. Our ceremonial attire was laid out, and the long tables in the dragon hall had been arranged in lines spanning the length of the floor, the Zefedi way. There was nothing left to do but wait.
Most Aurati were Zefedi women who acted as the emperor’s watchful eyes, masquerading as administrators woven into the fabric of the empire. But the seers were different creatures, rarely seen outside the pilgrimage. Every seven years they descended from the north and toured the five kingdoms of the empire, doling out prophecies and counting up the emperor’s subjects. It was said to be a service, a sign of benevolence from the emperor of Zefed, the Flame of the West.
We in the dragon mountains knew better. Prophecies might help us weather hard winters, but the Aurati’s services were just the tyrant’s way of keeping control over his kingdoms while he cast his eye across the waters toward his next conquest.
“You’re quiet,” Kaia said, interrupting my thoughts.
I let out a sigh. “I’m . . . worried. About tonight.”
“What’s there to be worried about? You were there last time. We sit. Eat. Stand for a few minutes in front of some old Zefedi crone.”
“They’re not just some old Zefedi crones. They’re Aurati seers. What if they decide to—”
“How can you know that? Mother said it happened once to a girl she knew. Even your own mothers have told stories about when their cousin was taken.”
Kaia shook her head. “That was a long time ago.”
“But it did happen,” I said. “What’s to stop it from happening again?”
Kaia pushed herself up onto one elbow, her hair falling over her shoulder. “It won’t,” she said firmly. “I won’t let them. I swear. No one is getting taken by the seers tonight.”
She couldn’t know that. “But—”
“No more buts. Don’t you trust me?”
I did, but even Kaia—fierce, lionhearted Kaia—could not promise that. Still, there was some measure of comfort to be found in her surety. I nodded.
Her face relaxed, and she smiled. “Now, enough about the seers. Come here.”
It was an order I was happy to obey.
Sometime later, I was close to sleep as Kaia charted exploratory routes across my breasts and palmed my stomach, just below the indentation of my belly. The scents of damp sand and lake water were heavy in the air as I closed my eyes, awash in sensation.
“Here, that’s the mountain range of Anekta,” she murmured as her fingers brushed my hip bone. “We’ll cross that and be free and clear until the winter sets in, then we’ll turn south to the ocean.” Her hand wandered lower, drawing a sigh from my lips.
“Do we have to go?” The words slipped out without thought. If I were fully awake, I would never have allowed myself to say them.
Kaia stilled. “What do you mean, do we have to go?”
“I mean . . .” The question was out—I couldn’t take it back now. “Why must you always talk of leaving the mountain? What’s so bad about Ilvera?”
She sighed, exasperated, one hand still flat against my skin. “We’ve been over this. I’ve always wanted to leave. You know that.”
I looked past her, toward the ruins that stood on the opposite shore. Of course I knew—I’d even agreed to go with her next year. And yet . . . “Would you stay?” I whispered. “If I asked you, would you stay?”
“Oh, Maren,” she said, and I couldn’t bear the tone in her voice. “Don’t ask me that. Please.”
I tried to keep my expression neutral, even though my stomach suddenly felt queasy. I shouldn’t have asked, not when I’d always suspected this answer. There was nothing I could say that would change her mind. If I did not bend, I would lose her.
I swallowed past the lump in my throat. “What about after? Adventuring will grow tiresome eventually. We can come back when . . . when we’re ready to settle down.”
“Maren, haven’t you been paying attention? Why do you think the emperor never installed an Aurat here, when they’re falling over each other in other cities? He doesn’t care what happens in Ilvera, because soon enough there won’t be an Ilvera.”
My heart stumbled. Had this been true my whole life? Had I been the only fool who hadn’t noticed? My mind raced, tallying up the things I’d thought inconsequential. More homegrown foods, lesser-quality cloth, fewer visitors over the years. Young Verrans like my brother Tovin going downmountain. I’d known times were difficult, but bad enough to end us? If that was the case . . .
“Don’t you care?” I asked.
Her eyes shone. “I do care,” she said. “But I can’t change the tide. The best I can do is swim above it. With you.”
That had always been her plan. But how could we turn our backs on the mountain, the lake, our families?
Kaia nudged my shoulder. “Please don’t be angry with me.”
I pressed my lips together and closed my eyes, ignoring her. I wasn’t angry. I was terrified.
“Maren, look at me.”
I opened my eyes reluctantly and turned my head to meet her gaze. She placed one warm palm against my chest, right below my collarbone.
“I promise everything is going to be fine. Better than fine.” She moved closer, and I turned onto my side so that we faced each other, noses almost touching. “Shall I tell you about all the things we’ll do when we leave the mountain? All the adventures we’ll have in Zefed?” There was a world of enchantment tied up in that word—Zefed—as if the lake and our village and the mountain itself weren’t a part of the empire of Zefed to begin with.
She settled her head against the sand and matched her fingertips to mine without waiting for an answer. “It will be spring,” she said quietly, “just about this time of year, maybe a little earlier, and I know you’ll want to throw the whole village into your pack, but I won’t let you. We’ll go down the mountain and spend a night at the inn, and then we’ll go on to Deletev. From there we’ll travel to Gedarin and see the ocean and then go north until we find the ice bears and finally we’ll meet the Flame of the West himself and prove ourselves worthy of becoming Talons, and he’ll give us dragons of our own—”
I sighed. “He’ll give you a dragon, maybe. You’ll probably save his heir’s life or something, and he’ll be thrilled to admit you to the dragon guard. But he wouldn’t give a dragon to someone like me.”
“No interrupting! Besides, he would,” Kaia insisted. “If there’s any saving of heirs to be done, we’ll do it together.”
“Even so,” I said. “You’ll dazzle the entire capital while I applaud from the shadows. Then he’ll give you a grand title—Chief Explorer, maybe—and you’ll be off across the empire, and every once in a very long while you might write a note—Wish you were here—and send it back to me. And I’ll be hiding at the palace, faithfully awaiting your return. I could never do what you do, anyway.”
Kaia reached out and squeezed my hand. “You don’t really think that.” The longer I was under her gaze, the more I believed she saw straight through the words I’d said only half in jest. The look she gave me was challenging, daring me to reject her declaration of my worth.
“No,” I said, locking away the part of me that had let those words out in the first place. “Of course not.”
“Good,” she said. “Because you’ll be brilliant too. You just don’t know it yet.”
I refrained from stating just how much I didn’t know anything of the sort, because it didn’t matter. Just as this talk of dragons didn’t really matter, for everyone knew the emperor of Zefed would never grant a dragon to a girl from Ilvera. As long as Kaia and I were together, we would be happy. It didn’t matter that she would leave without me if she had to, because I knew I could never leave her. We were going to be together. Even if it cost me the mountain and everything I’d ever known.
Kaia turned so that her back was to me and pulled my arm over her waist. I nuzzled my face against her neck, inhaling the distinct salt-sweet honeyed scent of her skin. Under the summer sun, we fell asleep.
The sky was purpling when I woke. We were clearly late. I shook Kaia awake, and we brushed sand off our bodies as best we could before scrambling into our trousers and shirts. We shoved our feet into our boots and trotted briskly up the beach and down the trail that my grandmother had said was once a wide road of polished white stone.
“Do you think they’ve arrived?” I said.
“Not yet,” Kaia replied, ducking around a tangle of thistleweed. “We would have heard the horns for sure, and—”
A deep, somber note sounded in the distance, reverberating through my chest. Kaia and I looked at each other, the alarm in her eyes mirroring the fear that quickened my pulse. The Aurati seers were here.
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
About the Author
Rebecca Kim Wells grew up in California before moving east in search of crisp autumns and snowy winters. Her debut novel, Shatter the Sky, was a New England Book Award Finalist, an Indies Introduce selection, and a Kids’ Indie Next Pick. When not writing, she works at a fiercely independent bookstore in Massachusetts and spends too much time singing along to musicals. Learn more at RebeccaWellsWrites.com.
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
Amazon calculates a product’s star ratings using a machine learned model instead of a raw data average. The machine learned model takes into account factors including: the age of a review, helpfulness votes by customers and whether the reviews are from verified purchases.
4.0 out of 5 starsA unique take on the concept of 'dragon riders'
Reviewed in the United States on 31 July 2019
A teenage girl decides to steal a dragon as part of a quest to save her abducted girlfriend. Are you sold on Shatter the Sky yet? That was all it took to grab my interest, but this story has so much more to offer! Maren, the protagonist, confronts an oppressive regime (and yes, dragons) in the course of a journey that becomes as much about finding herself as finding her missing heartmate.
Maren's story held my attention throughout and I'm excited to see it continue in future books. The worldbuilding was ambitious, and I particularly enjoyed the way the author had humans interact with dragons via scented oils. I definitely recommend this novel, particularly to dragon-loving readers and those who like a quest-based storyline with minimal focus on romance.
5.0 out of 5 starsthe LGBTQ+ fantasy we've all been waiting for
Reviewed in the United States on 29 March 2020
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.
Not bad for a debut. Maren and Kaia are the two characters in the f/f relationship, but they are, unfortunately, the least interesting characters in the whole book. Thus, my reason for picking up the book in the first place ended in disappointment on that end. The side characters, however, are at least interesting enough to keep reading. The worldbuilding is decent, though not much different from other YA fantasies.
I feel like the summary for SHATTER THE SKY is somewhat misleading. I expected a kickbutt F/F fantasy with dragons, but what I actually read was quite different. I was tempted to put the book down after a few chapters. I was bored, the pace was slow, and I had no connection to the characters. I only kept reading because I had to wait on a repair guy to show up, which isn’t a ringing endorsement.
My first problem with this book is the relationship between Maren and Kaia. We’re shown so very little of how they interact as a couple, as Kaia is forcibly taken from their village very early on. For most of the rest of the book, Maren’s only goal is to rescue her girlfriend. Just telling me how much Maren loves Kaia, and that Kaia is a super girl, destined to do great things -- that didn’t hook me. I barely knew anything about them as a couple, and as much as I hate to say it, I just didn’t care.
My second problem is the passage of time. This is something that often sticks out to me in books. Here, it seemed like weeks went by at the fortress, and then all of a sudden Maren is on a timeline. Then more weeks would go by, and oh no, now Maren has only a few days, she’d better start some new harebrained attempt. There’s a lot of time spent traveling, too. The result being, for me, the book crawled at a glacial pace.
My third problem is the possible(?) love interest. I do like the world the author has created, where it’s normal to be any orientation and there’s no judgment or even raised eyebrows. Maren is hit on by a few characters, which irked me at first, but I think it was probably the author’s attempts to show that openness, so I set that irritation aside. But Sev, the boy character who becomes a big part of the story -- Maren seems to develop feelings for him. Nothing concrete, aside from a dream that some might consider emotional cheating, but I feel like it was an odd distraction to Maren’s quest to rescue Kaia.
The reason I gave SHATTER THE SKY two stars instead of one is the last ten pages finally grabbed my interest, and I *might* try the sequel.
A girl who loves girls going off on a mission to steal a dragon in order to save her girlfriend? YES.
I'm happy to say that this book mostly lived up to the hype. It had some problems, but not with the execution of the premise and more with nitpicky things that bothered me as a reader of the fantasy genre. And honestly? That's a good sign. Because if I liked the book enough to be able to focus on the more genre-specific errors, that means that it was a pretty darn good book.
A while back, I read GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE which was my first foray into F/F YA, and some people seemed to read that review and have their takeaway be that I didn't like F/F books (false), and not that I didn't like F/F books that were bad (true). SHATTER THE SKY is the good F/F book that I've been looking for. It's written in a delightfully retro way that reminds me of Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey novels, filled with strong women and medieval worlds where misogyny and homophobia aren't inherently built into societal structures.
Let me say that again for you people sitting in the back:
👏 LGBT+ 👏 and 👏 women 👏 aren't 👏 inherently 👏 suppressed 👏 in 👏 this 👏 society👏
I get that some people want to use fantasy as a vehicle for exploring institutional bigotry, but when it's the status quo in all fantasy novels, it gets exhausting. SHATTER THE SKY shatters that trope and has, from what I've read so far, LGBT+ people 100% accepted as normal by these societies, and women appear to be equal to men, except for the fact that the oracle-type characters take female tithes from villages (which some require as an honor or a curse, depending). But I'm okay with that.
The book begins with Maren and Kaia sharing a moment together before this big ceremony. Kaia wants to leave their village and Maren wants to stay, but their separation ends up being expedited by Kaia being taken away by the Aurati (seer-type people). Maren is devastated, but rather than sitting around and moping Bella Swan-style, she gets up and does something about it: she leaves the village and goes to the next city over where they raise dragons, planning on seizing a dragon and then laying waste to the people who stole her love from her in the first place (the Aurat).
The reason this book only gets three stars is because the world-building isn't as great as it could be. I was still confused about the smell magic and how it worked, and would have liked to see more scenes going into depth about it, like books like POISON STUDY and THE POISON MASTER did. I also wish there were more scenes with the dragons and those who bonded with and trained them, and what happened to the dragons that went mad in the oubliettes. The whole premise of this book kind of reminded me of a less successful version of Mercedes Lackey's JOUST, which is probably one of my favorite books about dragons ever. It is so good, and if you haven't read it, you really, really should.
That said, I think SHATTER THE SKY has a lot of potential and even if this series doesn't work out for me (I am curious to see where it goes from here, as it is sequel-baiting like crazy and you can't just end a book series like this without some sort of revolution), I would read more of this author's work as I really like her style and how it pays homage to the female greats of the 1990s. If you're a fan of Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey and are tired of misogynistic, heteronormative fantasy novels written with the straight male gaze in mind, you would do well to pick up this book!
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
I just feel like there was so much more potential for this book. Like it was rushed or cut down considerably. Like this is the movie version of a really great book. It started off promising with Maren setting off on her quest to retrieve her heartmate, but there just wasn't as much story when she got to the places she went. I just feel like this book moved way to quickly, like much of the story was cut out for the sake of keeping the book under 300 pages. I would love for Maren and Neve's relationship to have been more drawn out. For her time there in the castle to have been more drawn out.
Honestly, I feel like two books were crammed into one and had to be told in less than 300 pages. I feel like there wasn't enough struggle for the character, I mean everything just worked out too well. Travel time between destinations was practically magical in its quickness. Everything just fell into place for her so easily, unrealistically so. This story really did have some amazing potential, but it didn't quite get there. Or maybe it was there and it got diminished by too much editing.
Another issue I had was with her relationship with Kaia and her relationship with Sev. Kaia is your heart mate, your soul. You've known each other since you were young girls yet it takes you no time whatsoever to start having feelings for Sev? I mean with in a few days of meeting him you find yourself having to remind yourself you love Kaia. To me that whole relationship with Kaia and with Sev felt forced. I believed the Kaia/Maren connection up until she met Sev but then sometimes I didn't even get why she loved Kaia so much. She seemed to look at herself as inadequate because she thought Kaia was so great but then sometimes, I don't know, it's like she didn't really have a healthy relationship with Kaia. It may have even been suggested that Kaia just liked the adoration she was getting from Maren. It was Sev who made her see her own self worth. I kind of feel like the whole Maren/Kaia relationship was made just so this story could be all edgy and mold breaking by having a bi character, but the relation didn't feel that meaningful or authentic or.....something.
At the end of the day, I did like this story and I am glad I read it, I'm just disappointed by how unfilled it seems to me. As I said before, I feel like this book is like a movie in which quite a bit of good story was cut out to keep it a shorter read. Dare I say it got, "Game of Throned" or maybe more like it got "Tom Bombadilled".
I'm not one of those people where the relationship, regardless of what it is, draws me to a book so that wasn't necessarily an initial draw. What hooked me was the dragon stealing. However, once you get reading the story, the relationship in the very beginning of the book between Maren and Kaia is adorable so when Kaia is taken away and Maren decides that she is going to rescue her by stealing one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold. This is one heck of a task she sets for herself and when she finds herself learning secrets and rumors concerning rebellions, lost princes and more her life gets really complicated. I enjoyed this book a lot. It reads quickly and keeps your interest. It's a great debut story, one that can only go up from here. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. This one leaves you stuck on a cliffhanger at the end which is incredibly frustrating! I'm terrible at waiting but I will do so impatiently! I recommend this book.
“Shatter the Sky” is a fantasy in the YA category, which means it is a high intensity fast read with limited eroticism but significant social relevance. Maren, the narrator-protagonist, is devastated when her beloved Kaia is taken, presumably to be trained as an Aurati, one of the female minions of the Emperor of Zefed, who has conquered their mountain fastness of Ilvera and stolen and enslaved their beloved dragons. Rather than languish in grief and depression, Maren conceives the idea of setting forth on a quest to steal back a dragon and rescue Kaia.
The plot is satisfyingly intricate and the situations gripping. Some of the aspects may be a bit derivative (after all, as other aficionados of Anne McCaffrey agree, there will never be anything that comes close to Pern), the story is definitely “now” in terms of featuring lesbian characters in a situation where sexuality is a complete non-issue. The personalities are well developed, the descriptions vivid, and violence not overplayed, as I sometimes find it to be in other YA fiction. For fans of this type of story, quite enjoyable; this book is obviously designed to allow for sequels.
I couldn't finish this book. It simply didn't hold my attention in any way. The only definitive thing I have to say is that it puts the queerness of its main characters front and center, opening with a romantic scene between the two female leads. I wanted to like the story, but ultimately the writing wasn't a good fit for me.
This was a fantasy story and my primary take away was the depth of queer positivity. Not just the female/female love story in the beginning but Kaia's 2 mothers, etc. Also some non-traditional gender roles made this fresher than a lot of princess genre types of books. The book felt chopped up to me and didn't have great flow. The ending drops you off abruptly with the anticipation of a series afterwards. I'd likely not continue and wasn't engaged enough to follow up on the characters.
This was just okay for me. I feel like I've read this story before and I don't think the author did anything different with it That being said I did appreciate the diverse cast of characters and the way the author chose to include this diversity in her novel. I think it is important to have these types of books on the shelves and for that I am thankful to her. I just wish the story would have been stronger.
Maren and Kaia are in a relationship, but when Kaia is kidnapped, Maren decides to rescue her by stealing a dragon. And the adventures begin. This is a fun fantasy story, perfect for young teens and adults. The first book in a series, it has a nice take on dragons and how they might be trained. The F/F romance is a nice twist and Maren is a suitable heroine.