Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells is a fantastic book for those on the younger side of the young adult spectrum. It provides completely diverse cast and a fresh take on dragons that really surprised me, which is saying a lot.
The world building was well done with each part that is visited. However, it is with character development and change over time that Wells really shines. From an excommunicated prince to rulers and most importantly the main character, Maren Wells’ willingness to not just develop but change them throughout the story is poignant.
Maren’s girlfriend, Kaia has a very strong and confident personality, while Maren is very much the opposite. Their relationship centers more around Maren’s awe of Kaia’s confidence and strength than actual love. Due to this, Maren never really can deal with and overcome her lack of self-esteem and confidence.
However, when Kaia is kidnapped and Maren becomes determined to rescue her, she begins to believe more in herself. As she must overcome many challenges along the way, Maren begins to learn what she is truly capable when she isn’t living in Kaia’s shadow. Additionally, she realizes that it isn’t just Kaia she that needs saving. It isn’t just Kaia she wants to save.
The dragons in this story are utterly priceless. How they are being treated is heartbreaking and enraging. They are a variety of ages and capabilities but enslaved through different oils that subdue them into submission until they are trained, if accepted by the dragon, through the open heart of their trainer.
Although this will save them from a life of sickness, living chained with no space, fighting in stadium-styled brawls. Entertaining the emperor at his and the palace’s whim, Maren knows that that there isn’t a piece of the system is right. Not for the dragons in the dungeons. Not for the dragons bonded to trainers.
“But the taming of the dragon- even this small first step- was a sight that rang inside me like a discordant note… These creatures would be nobility. But not free. Never free.”
Shatter the Sky moves through the rest of the story with Maren’s conquest to save Kaia while also trusting in her beliefs and trust in dragons. It is her developing core values in the dragons, the support systems she develops along the way and her own self-worth that steadies her step-by-step. It is the first book in a series that will have a loyal following as it develops into the next installment. With readers growing along with it.