Blog Tour Review: Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Title: Shattered Warrior
Author: Sharon Shinn
Illustrator: Molly Knox Ostertag
Genre: post-apocalyptic
Series: Untitled #1
Pages: 256
Published: May 16 2017
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: 3.75/5

Bestselling fantasy author Sharon Shinn delivers a gripping science fiction adventure with a sweeping romance at its heart.

It is ten years after Colleen Cavanaugh's home world was invaded by the Derichets, a tyrannical alien race bent on exploiting the planet's mineral resources.

Most of her family died in the war, and she now lives alone in the city. Aside from her acquaintances at the factory where she toils for the Derichets, Colleen makes a single friend in Jann, a member of the violent group of rebels known as the Chromatti. One day Colleen receives shocking news: her niece Lucy is alive and in need of her help. Together, Colleen, Jann, and Lucy create their own tenuous family.

But Colleen must decide if it's worth risking all of their survival to join a growing underground revolution against the Derichets.

It's strange to consider that just about a year ago I had never read a Sharon Shinn novel and now I seek out anything she's worked on. Graphic novels are somewhat of a new media for me, but Shinn's lively tale of aliens and rebellion paired with Molly Knox Ostertag's unique and sharp art for a quick, entertaining read.

This is the first such graphic novel from an established and prolific author. Though Shinn's experimenting with a new genre, staples and trademarks of her fantasy and romance past are evident in Shattered Warrior's pages. The classic flair for worldbuilding and imagination I expect from this author is evident, though simplified and condensed to fit. I do think her style is a bit hampered by the necessary brevity for dialogue and character development in this type of storytelling. There's just not enough time and/or pages to fully develop the side characters' various personalities or the Derichet antagonists into more than one-note villains. The novel itself is 256 pages and because of that, the plot can skip along easily from plot point to plot point for lack of time to develop it further.

Shattered Warrior is centered around the character of Colleen Cavenaugh, a former heiress who lost much more than her wealth and influence when society fell to alien invaders and war. The loss of her family, friends, and even country has left her a shadow of the person she was before. But her story is a study in character evolution; she is far from static. Colleen grows and changes, makes mistakes through her success and failures. She feels like a real person. And though she may start out shattered, piece by piece Colleen begins fix herself. First she finds her drive to life, then her anger and her bravery return to her. Shattered Warrior is about Colleen fighting for her found family and her world, but first she has to fight her own self-doubt and depression. Her battles over the course of the series' first graphic novel are mental and emotional as well as physical.

Despite the fact I wanted a little more meat to the plot-bone, Shattered Warrior is the first in a series sure to engage and entertain readers. Though the general storyline may not be the most original for scifi, it succeeds on the multiple other strengths present in its pages. Colleen shines the most as the main character, but others in the cast are sure to sink their claws in, emotionally speaking. Shattered Warrior is a quick, clever, enjoyable, and suitably dark look at an Earth invaded and controlled by an alien cat-like species. Molly Knox Ostertag's illustations are bright and interesting - her version of the future is uniquely her own and fun to look at. It's easy and fast to get caught up in the story being told by both Shinn and Ostertag in their first effort together.

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