Until We Shatter

an epic, addictive and romantic heist fantasy

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Pub Date Oct 17 2024 | Archive Date Oct 17 2024

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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)

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Average rating from 81 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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