By Cynthia Bujnicki
Maren has only ever wanted a quiet life with her girlfriend. However, when the Aurati come into her village and take Kaia, Maren will stop at nothing to get her back and save her from a corrupted Empire. Her plan: to steal a dragon and storm the Aurati stronghold. Maren must move quickly in her plan if she is to succeed, but when secret plans threaten to derail her, Maren must learn to adapt and keep her plan in motion if she has any hope of bonding with a dragon.
Shatter the Sky is an incredible novel that follows one Maren, a quiet girl with no delusions of grandeur as she embarks on an adventure to save her girlfriend from the corrupted grasp of the empire. It is a fast-paced story that builds and builds upon itself as it moves forward. This knitting pattern of storytelling allows the structure of the overall story to hold to together artfully and in the way the story stacks upon itself, mirrors the journey of the character. The setting and world-building structure blends the realism into the story, taking the fantasy and wrapping it in a world of realism. The mechanics of this world are easy to understand and engage the reader, allowing the reader to fully grasp how dragons and magic fit into this world seamlessly. The added political tension adds dimension and works to keep the story grounded and captivating for the reader.
The other part of the novel that makes it so compelling is Maren. She begins as such a soft-spoken character, but her evolution, the challenges she faces, the push against her and she pushes against them and past them to continue her quest. However, her journey and character development are not her most substantial assets, but rather, her identity is. Maren is a not only a QPOC (Queer Person of Color); she is also a biracial character. While Maren faces no outright racism, she has never felt as though she properly fit in with her small village. Her journey from her mountain top allows her to not only grow as a character, but it also allows her to grow more comfortable in her skin, sending a powerful message to readers.
The inclusion and representation do not stop with the depiction and texture of her skin, hair, and eyes, but also expands to her sexuality. Wells uses Maren and the world she has built to showcase the LGBTQ community in such a beautiful way. Her sexuality is never once frowned upon, questioned or demeaned but instead treated with the acceptance and normalcy it deserves in real life.
Shatter the Sky is a thrilling story that sucks the readers in with the dragons and representation that fills the pages with enthralling believability. (★★★★★)