Shattered Warrior is an affecting portrait of life during wartime occupation, a story of a young woman fighting the alien race who’ve stolen her world that demonstrates real emotional depth in life-and-death situations.
Colleen was the privileged daughter of a great estate until the aliens came. They destroyed the city and her home and killed her family (and stole her Bible! just kidding, Romancing the Stone fans). Now, she works a tiring, assembly-line job sorting minerals for the occupiers to feed herself, returning home to her abandoned, falling-down mansion at night.
As Colleen’s tale continues, we meet her long-lost niece, a rebellious member of a tribal gang, a sympathetic occupier who tries to protect her, and a band of resistance fighters. Colleen learns to look forward instead of back, to find a purpose beyond mere survival, to learn to love others in spite of the risk of loss. It’s inspiring. It’s also an incredibly empathetic portrait of what it might be like to live under occupation — to fear everyone around you and to cope with casual violence and the potential disappearance at any time of those you care about.
So many stories of this type are about rebellion and fighting back, but this one is just as much about daily survival. It’s those details that make the story so engrossing. The moments, the small scenes are true and affecting. Which makes Shattered Warrior surprisingly current as we learn more about the struggles faced by some of our world’s citizens.
Writer Sharon Shinn knows her audience, as she’s written a number of other science fiction/fantasy works, including some for young adults. I suspect her novelist background is why this story is so complex. She doesn’t underestimate her readers, instead challenging them with a variety of emotions and motivations.
Artist Molly Knox Ostertag (Strong Female Protagonist) builds a rich, believable world with expressive characters and all the necessary detail. Together, they have put out a powerful, timely read, romantic and exciting and suspenseful and dangerous. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)