Until We Shatter

an epic, addictive and romantic heist fantasy

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Pub Date 17 Oct 2024 | Archive Date 17 Oct 2024

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Description

A desperate thief. An impossible heist. Survive . . . or shatter.

An action-packed, epic heist fantasy from the author of Mindwalker, perfect for fans of Six of Crows, Master of One and Bone Crier's Dawn.

No matter where she goes, Cemmy's life is under threat. The Church would see her killed for having any magic. The Council of Shades wants her dead for not having enough.

So when her mother falls ill, Cemmy has no choice but to turn thief. And when she's offered a job that could solve all their problems, it's impossible to resist.

The catch? Cemmy will have to work with Chase - beautiful, dangerous, and full of secrets - to steal a powerful relic the Church has hidden within a deadly realm of shadows.

If she succeeds, Cemmy will finally be safe. But if she's caught, she risks igniting a spark that could destroy the city - and everyone inside . . .

A desperate thief. An impossible heist. Survive . . . or shatter.

An action-packed, epic heist fantasy from the author of Mindwalker, perfect for fans of Six of Crows, Master of One and Bone Crier's...


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ISBN 9781399728768
PRICE £20.00 (GBP)
PAGES 336

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Average rating from 143 members


Featured Reviews

“I am the violence the world made of me.”

Phew. Kate Dylan never misses. I was so excited to read Until We Shatter after loving both Mindwalker and Mindbreaker, and now I’ve finished it I might just have to read it again?

Until We Shatter has anything but a slow start - you’re thrown straight into the action with Cemmy, our stubborn, quick-witted main character who has both a forbidden dilution of magic and a desperate need to save her mother’s life, as she tries to pull off a heist of her own. And that’s where things go pear shaped.

I adored the unique, intricate magic system where characters’ powers are based on their colours (known as Shades), from which the forbidden Hues (half-Shades) have their own dilutions. The worldbuilding was really nicely layered into the storytelling! I also really enjoyed the similarities to the Mindwalker world, replacing sci-fi ‘mods’ with fantasy ‘glamours’.

One thing you can always rely on with Kate Dylan’s writing is that she will keep the stakes high, and it’s as brilliant as it is nail-bitingly terrifying. I was on the edge of my seat for basically the whole book.

Until We Shatter is a heist story but of course more than a heist story - it’s truth and lies and the complex webs we weave to protect the people we love. I loved it! Maybe the real heist was the friends we made along the way?

Thank you NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and Kate Dylan for the eARC!

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A desperate thief. An impossible heist. Survive…or shatter.
Six Of Crows meets Darker Shades Of Magic in this incredible new fantasy from your friendly neighbourhood writer.
Wild ride doesn’t even begin to cover this book. Kate Dylan is a genius.
Dylan has made a seamless genre transition segueing into fantasy as though she were born to write it. Her Sci-Fi books are phenomenal but Until We Shatter is on a whole other level.
Dylan is an autobuy author for me, and I have been anticipating this read since she first began hinting about it on social media, so I was beyond excited when I was approved for this ARC.
The premise was highly intriguing – half magic girl gets drawn in to mysterious magic heist? Yes please. If there’s anything I can’t resist in a book, it’s a heist.
If you’re after a gentle fantasy, this is not it. The first chapter was intense because Dylan has written a deeply intricate and complex magic system that takes some work getting your head around to start with. And, once you’re over the initial transition into a new world and magic system, you do not get a chance to breathe until the book is over. Twists, turns, tricks and treachery abound in this adventure.
The world in this was fantastic. I loved the political divide that is reminiscent of Dylan’s other books and was fascinated by the Gray and how it impacted Shades, Hues and Typics. There’s something both settling and discomforting about a fantasy world that mirrors ours in so many ways; especially when it drills the negatives of our society so fiercely.
In terms of characters, there are plenty for you to love and a good number for you to hate. Our main character, Cemmy, and her three friends are pretty much walking states of sarcasm and snide remarks and I love it. Add a pretty liar and a sweet red head to the mix and you have a perfect cast.
Novi was by far my favourite character. A mussed mohawk with silver vines tattooed in her scalp and a badass personality to match? It inspired the age old queer question; would I want to be her or be with her?
There was some great representation in this; we love a queer norm world but I was most impressed with the Deaf representation and the way the characters responded to Lyria’s arrival. I love how much time and page space was dedicated to the characters navigating her deafness and their lack of ability to communicate: “Lyria’s deafness isn’t the problem here, our inability to sign is.” We love disability rep done well!
The world building is amazing, the magic system is complex and fascinating but there is something about the character dynamics that is just so Kate Dylan and it really makes this book. She has a way of creating a band of misfits that anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t belong can feel seen in and wants to be a part of.
Thank you to NetGalley, Hodder and Stoughton and Kate Dylan for an advanced copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

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This book had me on my toes, it was a magical heist with the highest stakes. It was filled with betrayal, blackmail, found family and romance.

I love how unique this story was, the magic sources and the different planes of existence that magic users could phase between. There’s so much detail to this book it’s so easy to immerse yourself into this world.

Cemmy was brash, well intentioned and desperate having to look after her mother due to council/church laws that have affected them both heavily. Other people in her close knit friendship group and civillians are also heavily impeached by the law, there’s a teetering balance within their city that is always on the verge of collapse or destruction. This book involves a lot of prejudice, persecution and fear, but it’s so well done and I couldnt put it down.

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Kate!! Dylan!! Take a bow 👏 👏 👏

This was wild. Being conscious of spoilers I'm going to try keep this review light and mostly VIBES...

The magic system in this book is like nothing I've read and I'll be honest, it took a few chapters for me to get my head around the specifics but what helped with this was the pace that Dylan sets for the plot.

We're thrown straight into the thick of it with sneaky thief Cemmy. Cemmy lives a chaotic half life as a' Hue', a half magic half norm. Did I mention her existence is literally illegal? Through every fault of her own she ends up embroiled in a heist plot, with a dubious creep and an infuriating (but kinda hot) guy called Chase. These were the viiiibes I was talking about. 😏

Heart palpitations and pain ensues!

Given the pace of this book the world building is lighter touch and not over described. I am a neuro diverse reader and I don't need pages to describe a room or place, which this book is more in the style of.

If you like messy relationships, a fast paced plot, quippy dialogue and unique magic systems, this book is for you. Get it on your reading lists!

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Kate Dylan has pulled off the genre switch with utter perfection. Sci-fi, she kicked it's butt and delivered not one but two brilliant books.
Fantasy, well consider the 'boss level' achievement unlocked, this fantasy novel will Shatter the competition and leave the reader nursing the best kind of book hangover!
⭐5 star read⭐

Even with the genre switch, the distinctive voice that is Kate Dylan is still there and working its magic.
I can not stress enough just how brilliant and clever an author she is, this book just emphasises her talents.
Phenomenal characters
Epically immersive world building
A superb magic system
Will have you gripped from the first to last page and keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. You don't get an easy ride with Dylan, you get a rollercoaster of pure adrenaline, anxiety and anguish.
This is a fast paced read and its high-stakes from the off. You will not put it down, or relax!
The Character work is flawless, all of them feel fully fleshed out, are diverse and have a realness that makes you care and become invested in them. Yes, yes I definitely get too attached to fictional characters but who doesn't 😂
The world building is so immersive you become absorbed and forget you are even reading, I mean it says something when you're reading about an incredibly flawed, dangerous place and you'd visit in a heartbeat.
Her intricate magic system felt fresh and added another level to the storytelling. I enjoyed the slow reveals into the history of the magic, their world and the people who live in it.

This book has everything:
Impossible Heists, Colour Magic and Morally Grey Characters.
Blackmail, Deception and Betrayals.
Found Families, Fatal Secrets and Zealous Fanatics.

With a sickening crack, clink, crunch, Dylan will Shatter your heart into a thousand pieces, leaving nothing behind but a jagged pile of shards and a deliciously devastating book hangover.
Will you Survive or Shatter?

Thank you Netgalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the eARC to review

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Loved it, loved it, loved it! What more can I say? I loved the world, I loved the characters and loved the plot twists.

I thought that Until We Shatter was a very well paced fantasy with a romance undertone (it’s part of the plot by not the main focus). Its magic system, with different colours (Shades and Hues) representing different powers, was really cool and innovative, and the overall heist plot with betrayal, secrets, truths and lies were well written. This is a book I would recommend to all fantasy lovers out there.

Summary: Cemmy faces peril from both the Church and the Council of Shades. To save her mother, she reluctantly teams up with Chase to steal a powerful relic.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC of this book, all thoughts are my own.

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Thank you to netgalley, the author and the publisher for the advance copy to read.

This follows Cemmy and her bunch of unlikely misfit hue friends as they try to tackle a heist to save the world of colour magic.

The writing was exquisite and beautiful. Dylan creates such a wonderful and imaginative world with really unique magic and concepts. I did find it slightly difficult in the first half as we learn about the magic, hues and shades. But as the story developed it all started to make more sense and connected the dots that I couldn't make sense of (completely my misgivings not the authors).

I truly believe this will be the next big fantasy book. It has everything you could want and need. Found family. Enemies to lovers. Magic. An impossible heist.

I 100% recommend this book and can't wait to buy a copy for my shelves.

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This cover is gorgeous. I’m surprised it isn’t being offered with a fancy sprayed-edge first edition.

The kindle version is broken so leaving 5 stars. I didn’t actually get to read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodderscape for the ARC.

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This was a wild ride of a read, high stakes magical heist, blackmail, found family, romance. I had a great time reading it, it also broke my heart once or twice but I couldn’t put it down.

I really liked the magic system was new and innovative with the shades and hues, so I’m looking forward to being able to dive into the world more as the trilogy continues as it absolutely has to continue after that ending, if I didn’t value my kindle quite so highly I would’ve thrown it. I liked how all the little breadcrumbs throughout the book were brought together as I read through but in a manner so that I felt like I was able to just about come to the conclusion myself - when in reality I really didn’t - but not having them thrown in my face.

Highly recommend for those who like fantasy heist books and books with a sub-plot that includes romance. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me an eARC of this book.

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This book was more than a sci-fi romance, it was an emotional ride. The setting was amazing and romance just as fantastic, if not more. Seriously, I couldn’t help but root for them, the whole time I was reading this book.

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The concept of Until We Shatter really drew me in and I’ve loved Kate Dylan’s sci-fi books. Overall, it didn’t disappoint. The concept of colour magic was fun, but in the beginning I did struggle to remember what the difference between a Hue and a Shade was, and what every respective colour did. I think this would be clearer with a glossary at the back of the book.

However, Dylan’s writing really brought the world to life and about 25% through I had most of the terms nailed down and I was whipped up in the high-stakes story. Cemmy and her friends must complete a heist like no other. They make many discoveries about their own magic and the world they live in. There’s intrigue and double crossing, people barely trust anyone.

It’s an action packed YA fantasy and I would recommend it.

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I am so so glad I got approved for this one. I started drafting this review thinking I’d give the book a solid 4 at the 50% mark, but now I’ve spent an entire day reading this, seemingly unable to stop. Oh, if only this would never end…

Until We Shatter is a wild ride from start to finish. Kate Dylan’s writing is absolutely beautiful, and extremely readable. Hard to put down, the book is fast-paced and full of thrills. Despite that, the romance and the heist preparation are entirely slow burn, reading like a rollercoaster of successes and failures. The author’s storytelling ability has easily placed her among my favorites. I absolutely ADORE this plot. There’s nothing shallow about it - brimming with themes of forgiveness, grief, and trust.

The magic system is fantastic. It’s kind of Wheel of Time-esque, maybe I’m just thinking that because of the colors though. It’s complex, well-thought-out, and unique. The book definitely demands your full attention for at least the first 100 pages. It’s easy to get lost in the magic details. I appreciate that the author is very obviously devoted to this world and these characters - fleshing out an entire system in so few pages is impressive. I was going to comment on my confusion about how the city was laid out because I guess it was hard for me to imagine, but it’s not even fundamental to the plot, and the world-building, characters, details, and pure effort outshine any of my potential complaints.

The characters are perfect in that they’re both likable and unlikable depending on the circumstances. I truly wanted all of them to succeed no matter what their differing motivations were. It’s refreshing to read fantasy with a FMC with explainable and plausible flaws that don’t make her unbearably annoying. All six core characters have distinct personalities and I’m just so happy that they don’t all blend together. The diversity is also incredibly impressive.

If you can’t tell, I love this book. I love how engaging it is and I just absolutely love when an author is dedicated to a story (which is so obvious here). This story needed its own world and I’m so glad that the author decided to build one.

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I've been a fan of Dylan's work since Mindwalker and was super excited to try her foray into fantasy. Until We Shatter continues the trend of her brilliant writing style, everything runs so fast paced it's like watching a film.

The main characters anxieties really set this apart for me as it's rare I read a book where a character has an established fear of using their ability and couple with the super expansive magic system this proved to be a really nice & unique read. The limitations on the powers of hues and the complexities behind that were really fascinating and it really sets this book apart.

A fantasy heist comparable to Six of Crows with a diverse & lovable bunch of characters was just the icing on the cake for me! Overall, a fantastic read!
Thanks to Netgalley + Hodder & Stoughton for the arc.

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I absolutely loved this book. The 1st pages [hard to say how many as it was ebook and page number doesn't show], felt bit like a info dump and it scared me for a moment, my brain is not made for that stuff ;P, but after that it was smooth ride. It kept me biting my nails from start to finish, the characters were well written, and each brough their own energy to the story. Apart from the initial info attack, the word building then was quite well written, so I don't feel like I am missing something. And I absolutely adored the magic system <3. I have not read any books by this author before, but I am definitely going to change that. If they even as half as good as this one I won't be disappointed <3

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I really loved Kate Dylan previous series, this is very different, but just as captivating.
I really love books with found family, and this had that. I really love Kaye Dylans ability to really bring her characters to life!

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Why do I let Kate Dylan keep doing this to me?! I honestly cannot take much more of these amazing stories with so much heartbreak but there is also so much fun too. On top of that we now have impossible heists, amazing queer and disability representation and found families with a group of misfits. It’s like Dylan is purposely drawing us in to break us and then rebuild us or should I say shatter? No I shouldn’t because I am still emotionally shaken from this book after four days of finishing it.

Needles to say I loved this book so much. The characters are perfect but also imperfect in the sense that they are very, very human. Cemmy is a dream and I loved her so much. I always seem to love Dylan’s heroines because they are so badass but also have moments of fragility and nearly always have imperfections that make them all that more likable. We don’t get the perfect chosen one trope with her heroes and this makes them perfect to me.

On top of a fantastic and memorable cast of characters and their amazing found family dynamics we have a magic system that I adored and a world that you can’t help but get hooked in. It was clear this world, story and the characters have been lovingly created and crafted to make the perfect tale.

As always with Dylan there’s a bit of heartache along the way but I think, after recovering from it, this makes the story all the better. You feel and realise how dire the world and situation is, how impossible the odds and how badass the characters for continuing on regardless of this. If you love heists, found family, magic and unforgettable characters this is for you.

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To simply say I LOVED this book is an understatement. It took over my world for the entire duration of time it took to read it, which ended up being very little and entirely not long enough. We were promised a magical heist, and boy, was it delivered. I want to be in-between the pages again!

Cemmy is a complex character, if a little daft at times. I did not mind following her though the story at all. She's a Hue, the illegal offspring of a Shade (magic user) and Typic (human) so she doesn't have the full capability and ease of magic that her mother would have had, as an Orange, whose power is to strengthen/fortify. Instead, Cemmy is classified as a Bronze. Her special power in the Grey is physicality so she can touch things in the magic side of the world. This makes her very special as a thief, and she would be a good one, if she wasn't terrified of the Grey after an incident that caused her friend to shatter. So when this fear compromises a solo lift, Cemmy and her friends get dragged into a bit of a predicament.

Overall the world building and magic system were well done. The Shades and Hues concept, the mass scope of color power, and how the Grey was powered by a state of in-between were thoughtful and consistent. We were presented with the big picture of powers and assisted in its potential uses along the way, I think this helped to not only clarify some particular uses of the broad powers, but also acknowledge how much potential each had. I appreciated the thought that went into just how a half bloods' power might manifest in more than just less of the same power overall, but how it very specifically got diminished and presented as something singular (physical speed, touch, etc).

The main plot is the heist itself, broken into tension cycles throughout the book and leading to the big reveal. In short, it is never a dull moment. You get the big picture over smaller missions and the whole picture came together quite fluidly in my opinion. There were a few moments where you may predict at what was going on, but I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and revelations that were presented. I had many an AHA! moment right along with Cemmy. For fear of spoilers, I will leave it at that.

This works amazing as a standalone, but I would be in a desperate state to get my hands on any other book following this world. Spinoff or otherwise.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton (Hodderscape) for access to the ARC. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Great story and characters.

The world building takes a bit to understand and can be quite confusing, but once you get to grips with the Shades and Hues etc, the story takes off.

The heist including the Grey was fun to read along with all the characters and what they could do. The romance was also great to read. I liked how the book ended too.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for an eARC copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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What a great book and what a great plot! I loved the idea of the protagonist being „forced“ into becoming a thief, because of her mothers illness.
I loved reading this book, feeling like I‘m a part of it and just enjoying.

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I haven't been the luckiest with my reads this year (especially with ARCs) so I always dive in expecting the worst, but this book absolutely slayed.

Until we shatter is a classic YA fantasy, with a heist main plot, extremely high stakes and a found family.

The writing style is very well executed, captivating and entertaining from the very first page. The magic system, with powers based on colours, is super unique, although the worldbuilding was a little dense, especially in the first 30%.
The plot was a little predictable, but with enough twists and turns to make reaching the end really satisfying. The ending, even if it felt a bit rushed, wraps up the story very nicely.

About some things I didn't like so much, in YA novels the characters somehow always end up giving the the ick, mainly because they all make extremely stupid decisions (that might be a me problem since I'm now 22, but even when I was the "right age" I always had issues with this so...). Anyway, besides the stupidity excused by young age (I hope), the main characters all have distinct personalities and satisfying story arcs.

Overall, I had so much fun reading this book and I'm looking into other books by the same author.

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Until We Shatter was so much fun to read! I love the pacing of the book and the writing was so dynamic, with characters that were easy to love. Looking forward to more from this author!

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Couple of editing issues chapter 24 and on page 304 it says "saym", just wanted to bring to your attention


Overall I really enjoyed this story, the magic system is new and exciting with twists to keep you on your toes. The main character Cemmy is sometimes so relatable it hurts with complex relationships that strain against one another.

At its core this book is about a hiest the crew is first and foremost blackmailed into, until they realise not going through with it will also kill them. The ending twists were carefully built up to with this crew stuck in between the warring bodies of the Church and the Council (full of Shades who have full magic).

The magic system is fresh, the idea of Shades and Hues is very interesting and though it took a while to grasp what the different colours meant it was very compelling and made the plot all the more intresting.

I don't think I have ever enjoyed side characters so much since Six of Crows. I especially loved the representation of a deaf character. Each member of the crew are equally distinguishable from one another, with a different and intresting Hue ability that makes them incredibly engaging.

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At the beginning of the book, in a foreword, the author tells us she hopes we will forgive her, and for the life of me, I was sure I would never forgive her. But well, at the end turns out I don't hate her that much any more and forgiveness is growing in my heart. 

I absolutely loved this book, while the notion of the heist is not new, the magic system and the in between were interesting and original, and have me absolutely obsessed. The found family trope is one of my favourites and is perfectly done. The characters are real and flawed, their mistakes, lies and betrayals not only serve the plot, but make sense, they are realistic mistakes that match each personality and growth. 
The writing is fabulous, flows in a way that has you turning pages so fast you don't even realise, and there you are halfway through the book in blink. 
The world building is rich, well explained and not heavy. Things are easy to remember and understand.

The stakes are high in this book, the characters likeable and real, the world building and magic system fantastic, with found family, and LGBTQ+ main character. If you like books like six of crows and a tempest of tea, I am pretty sure you will love this one even more.

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I loved Mind Breaker and Mind Walker, so when I saw the author had a new book out I jumped at the chance to read it. I loved it!! This magic filled heist story is set in a sort of apocalyptic fictional historical setting, with a backdrop of rebellion against the corrupt Church and ineffectual Council of Shades. The world and magic system are well conceived, though it took me some time to completely grasp. The main characters are majorly flawed by their past and personal circumstances. Lots of humour in exchanges of banter. There are also a number of romance stories between the characters. Summing up - highly entertaining, as I’ve come to expect from Kate Dylan. Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton and NetGalley for the ARC. The views expressed are all mine, freely given.

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This was an amazing book!
The world and magic system Kate Dylan built was so unique! I have to confess that it took me a while to truly understand the gray and the in-betweens. But once I did, boy, I was in for a ride!
The writing flows, the characters hook you from the very beginning, and the heist, the betrayals, the secrets... it had me on my toes and I just couldn't wait to finish this book.
I loved it!

"But didn't anyone ever tell you? We're always in between something".

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YESSSSS!! what a BANGER!!

i don’t even know where to begin. i find writing reviews for books i liked really hard, but if you like the following then definitely get this book (when it comes out in october):

* heists
* enemies-to-lovers
* interesting magic systems
* found families
* betrayal
* high stakes

until we shatter has ALL of that and MORE! i am a fan - in case you couldn’t already tell. i wasn’t immediately sure about this, but i was really intrigued. there’s quite a lot of world-building and information about the magic system in the beginning, but i never didn’t want to pick this up. and the more i read, the less i wanted to put it down.

the character dynamics were great, the danger was imminent, and the magic was really cool. what more can i say? i love me some thieves on a heist mission.

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Wow! I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did, and from what I read, this is Kate Dylan’s first foray into the fantasy genre, and I can’t wait to read more of her fantasy books!

This book is quite reminiscent of Six of Crows, but with a much more intricate magic system and world. The magic system was an amazing concept! I liked how it was colour coded, and different abilities changed with the hues and Shades. I really love it when a fantasy takes a magic concept and completely makes it their own! The idea of The Grey was so interesting too!

Cemmy as a main character was great! I liked how bold and strong she was. But was also very troubled and had a much softer side that she didn’t want to share with the others. Her mismatched band of found family were so lovely too, and such like real life, the friendships don’t come without troubles either.

The story really picked up around the 50% mark and I sped through it without even realising I was reading - which is a great sign that I am engrossed in the book - the heist, the twists and turns in the story was just pure gold!

Thank you to Hodderscape, NetGalley and Kate Dylan for this Arc in exchange for an honest review. I can’t wait to read more from this author.

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This is an amazing work of fiction, I literally finished it in one sitting while I was sick in bed!
I love the main character and the dynamics with the rest of them! If you're a fan of found families you're gonna love this book!

I especially enjoyed the way the magic system was explained! It's so detailed but at the same time leaves you wondering and longing for more.

The action scenes are AMAZING! (I probably use this word way to much😂) It keeps you on the edge of your seat! I love the writing style and how clearly each character has a different voice, they definitely feel like different people (that speaks loudly of her talent).

I won't say much of the plot because you NEED to read it for yourself! I can't wait to buy the physical copy!

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Until We Shatter

4.75/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book!

Until We Shatter by Kate Dylan is a pretty standard YA fantasy. However, the magic system is so incredibly cool that I can’t stop thinking about in. The magical population in this story, known as “Shades” and “Hues”, have powers classified by different colors in their blood. These colors allow them to phase to and from intangible version of the physical realm into what they call “The Grey”. The way the characters utilize the two different worlds, along with the ways Dylan explores the history and boundaries of the powers, makes this book so interesting. I could honestly tell Dylan put so much time and thought into her world’s magic system. I can’t say too much without spoiling major plot points, but I think it really paid off.

The story is from the first person POV of Cemmy, a Half-Shade who has turned to desperate means, specifically thieving, to provide for her sick mother. It’s with this thievery that things turn south for Cemmy and her crew, setting them on a mission to complete an alarmingly impossible heist.

Until We Shatter also stands out because of the stacked cast of complex characters. Cemmy is one of the most irrational, aggravating, worst decision makers I’ve truly ever read about. And although she had me wanting to pull my hair out just about every chapter of the book, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by her character. Which is saying something great about Dylan’s writing, because typically those exceedingly impulsive characters don’t slide with me. Cemmy, though, is not the only character who shines in this book. With a lovable found family dynamic, along with an arrogant, pretty boy newcomer who nobody takes to trusting to easily, the characters in this book are truthfully what made me want to keep reading.

I thought the representation in this book was also really nice. It was refreshing to see queer, POC, and disability rep in such a complex world.

My only complaints about this book was that it got confusing for me at times. I wouldn’t blame this entirely on Dylan’s writing, because there’s a good chance I just read a little too fast to understand. However, especially as the book was getting started, I had a difficult time figuring out what was going on with the magic system. There were also moments with the actual heist itself that I didn’t quite understand. Additionally, I was able to guess a lot of the important plot twists. However, these grievances ultimately didn’t hinder me too much, because I loved the book anyway.

If you’re a fan of heists, star-crossed love, betrayal, and themes of grief, trust, morality, I implore you to pick up this book. I know I surely won’t stop thinking about it for awhile.

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Ocean’s Colour Scene

The walled city of Isitar is home to those who have magic, and those who do not. Pretty much the only thing they can all agree on is that any children born of a mix of both are unstable and bad news.

The magic system in this world is very well realised and built around colours. The practitioners are known as Shades, and each shade of colour denotes a different kind of magic. Greens can heal, Blues can hasten, and so on. It feels somewhat like character classes in an TTRPG, and not in a bad way. It would not surprise me if Kate Dylan had worked out all the rules in enough detail that she could practically write one.

The subversive half-Shades are known as Hues, and their half-magic is a bit on the broken side - much like most of the Hues that we meet throughout the story.

There is the regular world, and a parallel world layered directly over it known as the Gray. Shades can happily phase in-between the two, but Hues not so much. If they spend too much time in the Gray, they will attract the attention of the shadows that live there, and end up literally shattered into pieces.

Cemmy is a thief, a Hue, and a frequent disaster. She steals to support her ill mother, and makes a string of bad decisions that end up with her trapped into pulling off the heist of a powerful relic. Worse, her friends get dragged into the plan too, including her ex-girlfriend-with-benefits.

The book is a pleasing mix of fantasy and heist tropes, with a healthy measure of smouldering bad boy on top. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that things don’t exactly go according to plan. In the months leading up to the release, Kate Dylan has warned readers about a given chapter in the book where things go off the rails. I misremembered the chapter number and thought it wasn’t actually too bad. Some poor decisions on the part of the main character, sure, but on the whole not too bad. And then I kept going and hit the actual chapter. Reader, I was not ready. But I forgave her, eventually.

I was already a fan of the author's excellent cyberpunk series, Mindwalker and Mindbreaker, but I think this is a step up. By the end of the book all the pieces of plot slide perfectly together with a very satisfying click, much like the locks that are picked along the way.

Recommended.

Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the review copy.

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Huge thanks to the author and publisher, for the chance to read this ARC, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Until We Shatter is an electric, intelligent, high stakes fantasy that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope there’s more from this series.

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The magic in this book is amazing! It does take a minute to really grasp all the players (hues, shades, etc - all seem the same to me!) but I was pleased once I started to understand it. The story is unique and I enjoyed the characters although some of the sun characters weren’t as deep as I would have liked to actually feel anything for them.

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"If there's one thing I've learned, it's how to ignore the impossible.
Because when you live in a constant state of desperation,
that's just what you do.
You find ways to bend it."

I actually requested this book because I am a huge fan of Six of Crows, and I'm always looking for a book that will give the same vibes.
I have to say, it's pretty close.
I enjoyed the magic system: the presence of shades of colors and different types of magic based on those was interesting, as was the concept of shattering. The fact that the magic system was fully explained in the beginning helped a lot in understanding what was going on later in the book. The found family and friendship between all the characters are amazing. The only thing I missed is the multiple POVs... I always love being able to see how all the characters react to certain events and learn about their pasts and ideas. Even though Cemilla gives us a glimpse of each of her friend's pasts, it still wasn't enough.
Apart from this very small detail, Chase and Cemmy's relationship made it impossible to put down the book.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

~ 4.5 ⭐️

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This was such a good read!! Action packed and kept me so engaged. Great found family and an amazing heist. It totally lived up to the hype I had for it and one of my favorite authors recommended. Will be recommending it to everyone and also adding to our library.

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I am a simple gal, I see an endorsement from Saara El-Arifi so I need to read the book and she was so right! I was not led astray with this phenomenal fantasy.

I adored this from start to finish! I was completely hooked on this fast-paced heist with a unique magic system. I had to give myself some time after completing this book to breathe again because it does not let up. “I am the violence the world made of me” is going to stick with me for such a long time,

This was a very character driven story with Kate Dylan promising messy bi girls and she absolutely delivered! I fell completely and utterly in love with Cemmy and Novi. Staying friends with ex’s and having to navigate the new dynamic whilst falling back into old habits was incredibly relatable. I love being able to get lost in a queer normative world!

I really liked all of the characters and the disability representation! This never felt like an afterthought and the author wove Lyria into the group in such an authentic way. Chase was a surprisingly welcome addition; he brought out a different side to Cemmy and the tension between them was delightful. I really enjoyed seeing his character arc and would have loved to have spent more time with him and Cemmy,

Love, love, love this so much and would highly recommend!

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*ARC received from Netgalley - all opinions are my own*

TLDR: An amazing read!! Until We Shatter hits so many good points; found family, high-stake heists, betrayals, danger, a unique magic system and more. One of my fav reads of 2024 so far and couldn’t recommend more.

Straight off the bat, I plan to get a physical copy as soon as it’s released and really hope there is a special edition as I devoured this book within the day!

I don’t want to say too much and give anything away but Kate Dylan did such a fantastic job. There’s a very unique magic system that may likely be a bit overwhelming for the first few chapters but it all comes together very quickly and would definitely recommend persevering.

Our main character is so flawed and human, one minute your heart is breaking for her and the next you’re shouting at her for her (justifiable) choices. She makes you feel a range of emotions and is what I love to see in a main character. She is flawed and not always likeable or making the best choices but she’s written so real and human that you have to root for her. I won’t give away much about the side characters but they’re written in the same way and I love them all, I only wish we had more time with them, however, Dylan does an excellent job at making you so invested in them despite the book only spanning a week.

To my knowledge, Until We Shatter is meant to be a standalone which is my biggest criticism. I think she’s created such a unique and interesting world that it feels like such a shame for it to be over with one book, but understand if it is. I’ll definitely be looking into her other books and will start following her future releases.

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ARC Book Review: Until We Shatter

Wow, literally such an amazing book, I am truly obsessed… Until we Shatter is a full action packed with an impossible epic heist. This is YA standalone fantasy filled with an amazing and unique magic system. We follow the FMC Cemmy whose existence is under threat as a Hue.

Cemmy and her group of misfit hues are coerced into completing an impossible heist of an object that is draining the magic from their world. The book has such amazing world building, with a world divided by full-blooded magic users the Shades and, Hue’s whose entire existence is illegal as a part-blooded magic user. The magic system takes place in an alternate dimension made of shadows, with each magic user having a different impact on the alternate dimension.

The story is filled with lies, deception and adventure, with relationships made and destroyed. I don’t want to give any more away as it will ruin the magic of this story! But this was a breath of fresh air in a very saturated fantasy genre!

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Key themes:
✨ Unique Magic system
⚔️ Epic heist
🤍 Found family
💫 Betrayal and blackmail

Thank you NetGalley for a ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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A magical heist with high stakes!.
I adored the magic system and how the characters were built throughout,

It's my favourite trope, slow burn enemies to lovers! & This did not disappoint!

Great diversity which is great to see!

5*

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This has been one of my favourite books of the year so far. I’m a fan of Kate Dylan anyway and was particularly excited to see that she was working on a fantasy novel. It did not disappoint.

It took her usual hallmarks of fast paced story telling, compelling characters and snappy dialogue with a really vibrant and well developed fantasy world. The magic system felt fresh and I loved the almost political power dynamics of the church v magical society.

All in all a fun read which packed an emotional punch in the right places. Hope we see more of this world and these characters.


Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing an e-ARC in exchange for a review.

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5 stars from me. So so good. I loved every single word of this book. So cool and entertaining. The characters were perfectly built and the storyline was immaculate.

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"A wise man will happily live in a house built with magic; a jealous one would rather light a match and burn it to the ground."

Thank you to NetGalley & Hodderscape for having provided me with a digital ARC of this much awaited book, coming out this October.
I started reading "Until we shatter" by Kate Dylan expecting a heist fantasy targeted to a YA audience, with predictable exploits and already-seen relationships between the characters.
Boy was I wrong.
Narrated in first person, we follow the ordeals of Cem, a Half Shade - meaning she was born from a Full Shade and a typic, someone who bears no magic. In this universe, magic depends on color: seven shades, seven powers, and a lot of mixing up with atypical conformations when a Hue and a typic come together and have a child: something the Council, those who are responsible for the magic beares in a city where the Church goes to extreme lenghts in order to eradicate magic itself, is extremely against, since it's believed that Half Shades will drain the Gray - the source of magic - of its power and weaken all magic users.
Cem and her friends, a found family of Half Shades, will be caught against their will in something bigger than them: a power they have never encountered, all of them reunited in order to steal something from the Church, blackmailed by a Rogue Shade who has plans - evil plans - for whatever it is they're going to steal, and his assistant, a fascinating Gold who looks all to familiar to Cem.
Then come the revelations, the secrets, the twists and turns of friendships and love and trust, all written and described with extreme expertise: I never had the impression the these characters, all more or less in depth, were acting differently from what their age would expect them to act. They are irresponsible, they make mistakes, they hold grudges and forgive themselves: initially I was afraid the MC would be the usual girl who trips on her own feet and does everything wrong for the sake of cute clumsiness, but no. Cem is hiding something, but she also does everything she can, with some help from her friends, to overcome her trauma not only in order to heal herself, but mostly to become an useful asset for her friends as she once was, before everything went wrong.
The worldbuilding in this story is not that original: magic and colors have always come in pair, and the setting of outcasts fighting against bigotry and power is also something fantasy readers are all to familiar with.
BUT, and this is a big BUT, guess what? It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because the characters are imbued with the worldbuilding, the powers, their feelings against the authority, and their thoughts and consequent actions are what really make the story move forward with such a natural, pleasant, challenging pace that it doesn't really matter if the worldbuilding isn't something you've never read about (which, I mean, is it still possible in fantasy? To write something 100% new and fresh and original?). Cem is sometimes fun, sometimes insufferable, sometimes naive, as all of the others are, even the one character you believe to be unbreakable until the end.
The writing in first person shows a nice balance between inner monologue and action, never dwelling too much in Cem inner turmoil and doubts. The heist itself is fast paced but not rushed, I mean, what can I say: I think this book is almost perfect, and it will be a huge sensation when it comes out, I just can feel it.
The ONLY thing I couldn't quite wrap my head around was the magic system: I found it to be sometimes too convoluted, kinda hard to follow with the discourse around the Gray and its workings, the different abilities conveyed by the colors and their other atypical formations, but this might be because English is not my first language (I pride myself to have a good grasp of the idiom but hiccups can always occur) and also because I tend to read at night, and being tired is not a great state to be in if you to keep focused on the page.
Well done, Kate Dylan! I can't wait to catch up on your other works and for your pen to dip once again in the fantasy world!

"I was so afraid of losing them, I forgot that love isn't a blaze you feed only by kindling your strenghts. It demands your insecurities, too. It demands faith."

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I so wanted to read this one, but unfortunately it wouldn't load on my ereader (it freezes every time I get to the second page). Due to problems with my eyes, I can't give it the proper attention by reading it on my phone, but did manage at least the first chapter until a headache settled in, and that was highly enjoyable and super well written to me. I'll just have to buy the book once it comes out.

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Kate Dylan's Until We Shatter is a captivating fantasy adventure that weaves a thrilling tapestry of magic, danger, and forbidden love. Cemmy, a young woman living under the constant threat of both the Church and the Council of Shades, finds herself thrust into a desperate fight for survival. The story immediately grabs the reader's attention with its compelling premise: Cemmy, burdened by her ambiguous magical abilities, is forced to resort to theft to save her ailing mother. The stakes are high from the get-go, and Dylan masterfully builds tension with each turn of the plot. Cemmy's character is deeply relatable. She is a young woman navigating a world that feels stacked against her, constantly having to fight for a place where she can simply exist. Her struggles resonate with anyone who has ever felt misunderstood or trapped in a system that doesn't value them. The introduction of Chase, a mysterious and alluring figure with secrets of his own, adds another layer of complexity to the story. Their relationship is fraught with tension and attraction, creating a dynamic that keeps the reader guessing.
The world-building is both intricate and imaginative. Dylan crafts a believable society with well-defined factions, each with their own motives and agendas. The realms of shadows, with their inherent dangers, are described vividly, adding to the overall sense of wonder and suspense. While the plot is fast-paced and action-packed, Dylan also takes the time to explore the emotional depth of her characters. Cemmy's journey of self-discovery, her struggle to accept her powers, and her search for a place to belong are all compelling aspects of the story.
Overall, this is a highly enjoyable read that will appeal to fans of fantasy adventures with a touch of romance. Dylan's writing is vivid and engaging, and her characters are both complex and captivating. With a thrilling plot, a rich world, and a heroine who is both resourceful and courageous, this book is a must-read for anyone looking for an immersive fantasy experience.

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