Friday, 12 September 2014

Review: Shatterwing by Donna Maree Hanson

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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.

I received a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

This is a difficult review for me as I'm rather torn about this story and it's hard to say exactly why without dumping in a pile of spoilers but I will try.

Overall, for me this is a 3.5 star read meaning I rate it higher than "I like it" but some plot design choices kept me from saying "I loved it." That said, the author's website says the next instalment will be out as early as October so I hope all the loose ends will come together soon.

First, I'm a fan of dragons. All kinds; shifter dragons, pet dragons, smiling animated dragons and even the hungry, fire breathing, world dominating dragons in Shatterwing.

I liked the world Hanson built from the magic astronomy of the Skywatchers to the plain old down to earth gardening (I typed dragoning probably because of how dangerous it is growing grapes a hair's breadth away from a dragon colony. Then I had to correct it).

I also liked how magical learning is something that can be passed down and am intrigued by the folks who lived under the earth. So many unique components were put together in this story and caught my attention.

My challenge with Shatterwing lies in the fact that most of the story wasn't resolved. All the players are in place... and then the massive cliffhanger. I know if I wasn't enjoying the book so much, the cliffhanger wouldn't have had me yelp when I realized I was on the last page. I get it, I understand it, and wow, for a cliffhanger to sting me like that means I was into the book.

Did I mention the next instalment next month? I'll be there.

One point I would have loved to read more about in Shatterwing without waiting for Skywatcher is Salinda and Brill, setup in the teaser/blurb seem to disappear entirely half way through the book. I would have liked to see that part of the storyline carried a little further.

Overall, yes I liked Shatterwing and will move on to book 2.

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