REVIEW: The Ruptured Sky by Jessica A. McMinn

Last Updated on February 29, 2024

Filled with morally grey characters, rich yet mystifying lore, and thrilling action sequences, Jessica A. McMinn delivers everything you could ever wish for from a dark and gritty multi-POV epic fantasy in her brilliant debut The Ruptured Sky.

The Ruptured Sky

Runaway princess turned demon hunter Amikharlia has been hiding her mysterious magical powers for years, and all she wants in life is control over her own fate. Yet that wish quickly gets crushed when she somehow finds herself at the centre of a madman’s prophecy concerning the revival of a dead goddess and the looming threat of the ruptured sky above them. Now it’s up to Amika to decide if she’s willing to give up her fight against destiny’s chains in order to save all of civilization, even if that means potentially destroying the entire world in the process.

Now, while Amika was absolutely the kick-ass female lead of my dreams, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she was only one of the four utterly compelling POV characters that we follow in The Ruptured Sky. Every single one of these characters is just wonderfully realised and has an intriguingly mystifying backstory, which made all their different perspectives so compelling. Rei-Hai immediately captured my heart with his witty, cynical and darkly dry humour, and I desperately want to know more about him.

Slowly but surely, all of their separate storylines start to interweave in The Ruptured Sky, and I really loved seeing all kinds of complex interpersonal relationships develop and bloom along the way. Every single interaction among these characters just worked, and there were multiple scenes that hit me right in the feels because I had become so invested in these messy characters. Can someone just give all of them (but especially Kio) a hug, please?

Not only does McMinn deliver some stellar character work in The Ruptured Sky, but she simultaneously establishes an incredibly immersive world with rich and intriguing lore. The Ruptured Sky is set in a world of truly epic proportions, yet everything unfolds in the most organic way possible. It was so fun to explore these lands, the tense political landscape, and the magic system through the eyes of our diverse cast of characters, and I loved how the author very cleverly played around with in-world history and completely shattered characters’ worldviews to create some truly shocking twists and revelations.

It doesn’t take long for you to realise that this world is harsh, filled with morally ambiguous characters who are crumbling under their emotional baggage. While McMinn is absolutely not afraid to torture and traumatize her characters, I deeply appreciated that this grimdark story features zero sexual violence. Moreover, The Ruptured Sky is set in a casually queer-normative word, which allowed for some realistically messy yet beautifully authentic representations of queer love that I absolutely adored.

With this book, McMinn simply proves that a talented author doesn’t need a 500+ page chunker to tell an utterly compelling and immersive epic fantasy story. I’m not going to sit here and pretend that it’s the most groundbreaking epic fantasy out there, but it does exactly what it promises, and it does so absolutely brilliantly at that. There were admittedly a couple of plot beats that felt a bit rushed or predictable, but I was so immersed in the story that I could very easily forgive that.

In many ways, The Ruptured Sky reminded me of H.C. Newell’s Fallen Light series: both of these stories have that deliciously bingeable pacing and emotionally engaging character work that I personally often associate with YA/New Adult fantasy, yet they are extremely mature and adult in their themes. Everything about this story was just so perfectly balanced to me, and the constant looming sense of dread kept me glued to the page.

With this only being the start of an epic fantasy quartet, I am truly beyond excited to see where this series goes next. And if the insane quality of this debut novel is anything to go by, then I have a feeling McMinn is going to be an author to watch! If you’re looking for a character-driven grimdark epic fantasy with a diverse cast of morally grey yet loveable characters, rich world building, an inventive take on prophecy, and page-turning action and suspense, then The Ruptured Sky is the book for you

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Esmay Rosalyne

Esmay Rosalyne

Esmay Rosalyne is a self-proclaimed professional book devourer from The Netherlands. While (dark) fantasy will always have her heart, she is also a big indie/self-pub enthusiast and will probably read anything if the premise sounds intriguing enough. Or, you know, if it promises complete emotional destruction. When not reading books, she is probably reviewing books, talking about books, or watching videos of fellow bookworms talking about books.