Monday, May 15, 2017

Shattered Warrior

Shattered Warrior is a compelling piece of science fiction. Its plot may seem familiar: it's about the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth, where humans have been enslaved to work for their conquerors. Here, the bad guys are the Derichets, who desire to exploit and plunder the Earth's mineral resources. The main character is Colleen Cavanaugh, who still lives in the estate of her formerly very wealthy and well-to-do family, all of whom have been seemingly murdered.
No longer a patrician but reduced to being a lowly factory worker, Colleen has little to live for and trusts no one. However, she learns that her niece Lucy is still alive and needs her help, which sets a series of events in motion.
Eventually, Colleen gets involved with a rag-tag group of resisters, and she falls begrudgingly in love with a rebel named Jann. Together, they come up with a plot to take out the Derichets and reclaim Earth for humanity. Much of what I have described may seem cliched, but I feel that the characterization and plotting in this book make the whole enterprise very engaging and interesting. There was a lot of exposition in the beginning but it paid off in the later chapters, which I felt made for some very compelling reading.

This book is a collaboration between writer Sharon Shinn and artist Molly Knox Ostertag. Shinn is a journalist who also also writes novels, typically in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, or romance. She has several series in her credits. Ostertag is known for her excellent webcomic Strong Female Protagonist and has another graphic novel forthcoming, named The Witch Boy. Both creators chime in about their work on this book in this interview.

The reviews I have read of this book have been mostly positive. Kirkus Reviews commented that "The plot may be familiar, but the social customs of each group are defined so precisely that every detail feels strange and surprising." In a similar vein, Brigid Alverson wrote, "There’s a familiar feel to this tale of revolution against an oppressive society, but it’s well done despite some implausible turns." April Spisak called it a "powerful graphic novel" with "crossover appeal."

Shattered Warrior was published by First Second, and they have a preview and a lot more information about it here. There is a lot of sexual violence, mostly implied, and one steamy romantic scene that had brief nudity, as well as a couple of same-sex relationships featured, so this book is recommended for readers mature enough to handle those things.

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

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