Shattered Veil (The Diatous Wars, #1)-Tracy E. Banghart
Release Date: February 28, 2014
*I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Tracy E. Banghart
Warmth rolled in slow, heavy waves from her cheeks down low into her belly. For a while, Aris didn’t think. She lived in the heated space between their bodies, in the slick warmth of Calix’s mouth. Every thought, fear, memory faded and the world was reduced to the wildness of the ocean throwing itself to the shore, the fathomless swish of rain against the sand. To the hardness of the rocks that enclosed them, the hardness of his body beneath her.
Galena fell to her knees, powerless to stop the flames from curling around his body, powerless to stop his writhing. The heat licked at her knees, at her hands and she was on fire too, screaming as it engulfed her, the demons of hell licking her cheeks, giggling and skittering in red-edged shadows before her eyes. Locked in torment forever, she burned.
Shattered Veil is one of those books that you want to read in one sitting and curse life for getting in the way; one of those books that leaves you breathless and wanting, savoring the wonderful escape from the world into one fueled by desire, danger, and political intrigue; Shattered Veil is one of those books that you need to recover from, to slowly wean yourself away from and come back to reality. The world stops, everything is suspended, and in that perfect moment when you read the final page, you won’t know whether to laugh or cry. The bittersweet, fantastic journey has left a whirlwind of emotional carnage behind and yet somehow, the world seems brighter, and that contented, satisfied feeling that only comes when finishing an amazing book will cocoon you in its warmth.
When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?
War has invaded Atalanta’s quiet villages and lush woodlands, igniting whispered worries in its glittering capitol. Far from the front lines, 18-year-old Aris Haan, a talented wingjet flyer, has little cause for concern. Until her beloved Calix is thrust into the fray, and a stranger makes her an impossible offer: the chance to join a secret army of women embedded within the all-male military.
Aris’s choice to follow Calix to war will do more than put her in physical danger; it will make her question everything she believes about herself. When she and her enigmatic commander uncover a deadly conspiracy, her expert flying may be the only hope for her dominion’s survival…and her own.
It’s Mulan meets Battlestar Galactica, with a heroine who is strong enough to save a nation…but only if she’s willing to sacrifice everything, even the one promise she swore she’d never break.
- The cover is beautiful. It’s thought-provoking, colorful, and each link in that bracelet features little pictures that are almost like a hidden objects game, waiting to be discovered and pieced together to create a bigger picture. The opalescence, the tagline, everything draws you into the mystery of the book.
- Aris is the bravest, fiercest protagonist. She’s a survivor through and through. Her self discovery is poignant, brilliantly written and full of raw, striking emotions and truths.
- Some scenes are almost whimsical, they’re poetic and romantic, while others are graphic, grotesque depictions of the horrors of war and torture. These are balanced by the alternating perspectives of Aris and Galena. Both are compelling, dominant female warriors in their own right, one in the military and the other as Ward of Ruslana. They overcome terrifying, sadistic obstacles and put everything on the line to protect the ones they love and gain their freedom as women. The sheer feminism is striking in that each woman is unique in her reasons for aiding the war cause, their conflicted feelings about how to function and keep their secret as men but still maintain their sense of self as women is complex and delves acutely into what exactly it means to be a woman in a masculine world like the military. I admired and was very impressed with the fact that although the female characters had to become men essentially to achieve their goals, they were never unaware or damning of their gender. They recognized what others perceived as their weakness as women and blatantly challenged that idea.
- Often in YA, physical beauty is a key component to how the female protagonist views herself and how others see her. Shattered Veil transcends that idea, physical beauty is not mulled over or focused on but attributes are highlight, what these women can accomplish is paramount to their character and their development as both women and people in general.
- Shattered Veil deals with very relevant political issues regarding gender inequality and resource allocation. Banghart depicts the underlying motivations and manipulations in a somewhat farfetched but real way.
- The dystopian world, dividing into 5 regions and different sectors is meticulous. Everything is detailed from the geographical attributes to the cultural characteristics of the people there. That the names of the regions are so close to what they are in reality adds another layer of foreboding and suspense to the story.
- Galena is such a heartbreaking, agonizing character. Her suffering is almost unbearable. The nostalgic, dream-like state that she collapses into in order to cope is a revelation of her heart. She’s a magnetic, driven woman with a broken heart and perseverance beyond anything imaginable. That she continues to fight in the face of her trauma is remarkable and inspiring, no matter how dismal and dark her situation, her strength sparks desperate hope for a happy ending.
- Romance is dealt with in an open, realistic way. That defeated, sad realization that people change and what we once thought was no longer works is so well written and easy to identify with.
- Dysis. I wish I could have seen more of her internal dialogue because this woman is a fire starter. She’s violent, opinionated, determined, and kind of crazy at times but has the biggest heart. Her love for her brother and the ends she’s willing to go to for him is out of this world. The battle within herself to keep up the charade and to uncover intel about her brother is brutal. You’ll want to hug her and restrain her at the same time. Her heart is so open to love but her past makes truly taking the risk almost impossible.
- The male characters are just fleeting glimpses apart from the protagonists’ respective love interests, whether it be filial or romantic.
- The story starts out a little slow and the gushing romantic sections may irk some but as Aris learns more about who she is as a person, it’s hard not to become enraptured with her yearning for flight, autonomy, and matters of the heart.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:
Pleasant reading, if you like dystopian or powerhouse female protagonists, pick this up!