Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Shatterwing (Dragon Wine 1) by Donna Maree Hanson | Science Fantasy Book Review

A moon shatters and a world is plunged into chaos as falling chunks of the moon destroy entire cities. Dragons appear. From where noone knows, but they are linked somehow to mankind's survival. Meanwhile a young vintner/prisoner/slave may hold the key to the planet's salvation -- but only if she learns how to use her powers in time.
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Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison's best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.

*Blurb source *Momentum

Shatterwing (Dragon Wine 1) by Donna Maree Hanson | Science Fantasy Book Review
Book Source: Author/Publisher

Science Fantasy Book Review by Mulluane

Shatterwing is a unique blend of secondary world with both magic and evidence of lost technology. Plus it has dragons. The mix reminds me a bit of Pern only these dragons are not the nice variety. On this world, humans are on their list of food sources...

♦ My Thoughts. This is also an apocalyptic world which is an unusual read for me. Note I said apocalyptic and not post-apocalyptic. The apocalypse on this world is still ongoing and I get the impression it is far from over.

Now there is a reason why I normally avoid dystopian books. They depress the heck out of me. Oddly, this one did not have the normal depressing effect. Not sure if it was because this is obviously not our world so it allowed me to keep my distance or because it has dragons. Personally, I'm leaning towards the dragon theory. Give me dragons and I can ignore a lot...

♦ What I Liked. There are several distinct storylines in this tale and they all intertwine. There is the story and backstory of Salinda and Brill. They start off together, but eventually their storylines will split. There is the mysterious story of Nils, who has awoken from a sleep which spanned generations only to discover that he is the last of his race. Eventually his storyline will merge with another's.

And that is only Part One. Part Two is even more interesting.

RT: Shatterwing is a unique blend of secondary world, magic and lost technology. Plus it has dragons! via @mulluane
In Part Two we meet the Skywatchers who hold powers that frankly caught me offguard.  Plus we meet another young lady whose fate may be just as important as Salinda's. Again storylines will split apart, merge back together or intertwine with previous storylines. Reminded me of the Spirograph I spent hours playing with as a child. Loops within loops and no end in sight.

My favorite part of all was the survivability of the characters. This is a harsh, cruel, apocalyptic world full of brutality, uncertainty and death. But the players in this drama are survivors, not victims. Do they suffer from self doubt and helplessness at times? Of course. Do they still pick themselves up, brush themselves off and forge ahead? Yes, yes they do. Giving up is easy. The mark of a true hero is getting back up after being beaten, broken and demoralized. This story does not lack in true heroes.

Science Fantasy Review of Shatterwing (Dragon Wine 1) by Donna Maree Hanson
♦ What I didn't like. This is definitely one of those books where you'll need the sequel on hand. It ends in a major cliffhanger. Several really. So far there are mysteries galore with barely a hint much less an answer. The writing could have been a bit tighter. There were too many repetitions of core information to suit me. Not a deal breaker but worth a star demotion. I hate it when my dogs look at me funny while I rant -- out loud -- "Hey! We know this already, lets get to the good stuff..."

Kind of like my readers do while reading my reviews...

There is also a huge amount of violence and a lot of it comes in the form of rape and torture. In this case, it did not bother me because the brutality fit the degradation of the world in general and the treatment of slaves in particular. This is not a pretty world and to pretend otherwise would be misleading.

In my opinion, the rape, torture, verbal and emotional abuse may be commonplace, but they are handled well. They are only as detailed as they need to be. They are not used for shock value. Instead abuse plays an active role only when it shapes the character in question. However, the abundance of rape and torture will bother some people. If you are someone who is easily offended by heavy doses of brutality, it will not take you long to DNF this book.

♦ Conclusion. This is a plot-driven story. The characters, while either admirable in their tenacity or horrible in their cruelty, are not the main focus. This book's greatest draw lies in its ability to make almost every aspect a deep mystery. With every page you turn you get another piece of the story but no answers. It is a giant puzzle and I loved almost every minute of it. Almost. I would have liked something, anything, conclusive, but since I have the sequel in hand, I'm not too worried. The answers I seek will be revealed in book two and I'm really looking forward to them.

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  • Author: Donna Maree Hanson
  • Genre: Science Fantasy / Epic Fantasy
  • Content: Magic, Extreme Violence, Dragons
  • Available in book form only as a POD
  • Publisher: Momentum (September 11, 2014)
  • Print Length: 231 pages
  • Parent Company: Pan Macmillan Australia
  • Rating: 4/5 Stars
Shatterwing (Dragon Wine, #1)

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Science Fantasy Review of Shatterwing (Dragon Wine 1) by Donna Maree Hanson
Reviewed by Mulluane on December 01 2014
Rating: 4 of 5

Mulluane is a 56-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her dreams. ♥ You can also find her on:

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