Shattered Fates

by Rebecca Roland

reviewed by Adria Laycraft

If you are loving the renewed discussion on the importance of strong female leads thanks to the new Wonder Woman movie, you might want to consider reading Rebecca Roland's Shards of History books. Published by World Weaver Press, Shattered Fates is the conclusion of a three-book series, and has not one but two powerful female leaders as primary characters. Not only do we see this leadership in a matriarchal culture, where we expect it, we see it in an oppressive one too, and watch all the drama that comes with standing up and demanding change.

While one could wish the messages of decency and equality weren't so needed, unfortunately they are - perhaps more than ever today. Thank Goodness we have authors like Roland to bring us these themes through an engaging story, where current issues are expressed in strange lands by strange people.

"The dragons were listening." 

Dragons are always a perfect addition to any fantasy series, and I enjoy how they are a vital part of the story without being the entire story. I especially love the message that we are all one, all linked, and all deserving respect. The real message of Shattered Fates is how optimal it can be to work with others instead of trying to control them; of choosing communication over domination.

The basis of the story is a war between the patriarchal Maddion and the matriarchal society, the Taakwa. The Maddion are dragon-riding and bloodthirsty. But underneath, they are a society divided. Chanwa, wife of the Maddion leader, is plotting a coup to give Maddion women the place in society she thinks they deserve.

Laced with inventive world-building, lovable characters, quick-paced action, and incredible magic systems, Shattered Fates is a timely tale of the horrid sacrifices and effort often demanded both when you stand up for what's right, and when you are forced to protect your own.

Roland has an understanding of the issues victims of abuse face, and helps the reader understand how difficult it can be to make any changes at all. She portrays toxic behavior in a way that can bring vital understanding home to those who may not recognize it when they see it in the real world. The characters act out so many issues we face today, and they do it in a safe fantasy world to (hopefully) allow us to see it without bias. 

"You'll drown in him." 

The magic systems are amazingly unique and fascinating, especially because of the way the characters learn as they go how their magic works when joined with another's. Roland went the extra mile in developing her world's magic systems, inventing overlapping cultures each with their own special talents that were all necessary and important to the story's plot line.

Roland also does a wonderful job of using foreshadowing to bring us a few delightful plot twists that still resonated and made perfect sense. Shattered Fates is an engaging read, pulling us along through rising tension and increasing odds to a breathtaking ending. It's also nice to see a 'happily ever after' that doesn't feel cheesy at all, but instead warms the heart.

I highly recommend Shattered Fates and the two preceding books in the series (Shards of History Volumes I and II), especially for those seeking a fantastical view of what hope could look like for our world today.