I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart
Series: The Diatous Wars #1
Published by Self published on February 28, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?
For Aris, a talented wingjet pilot, war means sacrificing everything: her home, her name, her face—and the one promise she swore she’d never break.
In the small village of Lux, everyone flies wingjets, but nobody flies them like Aris Haan. When she’s not dancing through the skies, she’s spending every minute with Calix, whom she’s loved since childhood. They plan to Promise, but instead he is sent to defend their dominion against a bloody invasion. Determined not to lose him, Aris follows, joining an underground network of women inside the male-only military. Using secret technology that allows her to pass as a man, she becomes “Aristos”, a Flyer in a search-and-rescue unit.
As Aris grows stronger on the battlefield and more comfortable in her guise as Aristos, her personal mission becomes less and less clear. When she and her enigmatic commander, Major Vidar, uncover an astonishing conspiracy that could destroy everything, she must make a choice that will determine not only the fate of her heart, but the future of her dominion.
I’ve always been drawn to dystopian novels – I can’t really even tell you the reason behind it. I remember pouring over The Giver in 7th grade, fascinated by each and every world. In 2010, my love was restored when I started the Hunger Games trilogy. Which led to a bit of an obsession with the genre. And here, four years later, a bit of weariness, because it is getting harder and harder to be impressed by a book in the genre.
And yet, the draw is still enough to pull me in to a new series. So, when I saw this book for review, my curiosity was of course piqued. This coupled with the fact that I’m a fan of the author, Tracy E. Banghart (LOVED By Blood – see my review) meant I was definitely going to give it a try.
Like most dystopian book worlds, this one is wrought with war and destruction, female inequality, and a power-hunger group lording over the lower classes. Sound familiar? Even so, this book manages to take something familiar, something popular and well-known and bring out a spark of magic. I was fully invested in the world Banghart created and came out feeling wholly refreshed from the monotony I’ve felt lately in this arena.
This book begins with our female protagonist, Aris, who loves to fly. Like Matched and others before it, she is going through a Selection and is to be paired with her boyfriend Calix. They are also selected for their job careers (like the Giver) and marked with a tattoo (like Pawn) to make their career path permanent. Aris and Calix’s lives are all but planned out when her boyfriend is unexpectedly sent to a far-off war-front in the military.
In this world, women have high expectations to use their bodies to repopulate the planet – and thus are not able to do things like join the military, fly, or anything else deemed too dangerous. However, a chance opportunity allows Aris to do just that. Being one of the best flyers in all of Lux affords her an opportunity to join an underground group of women who work within the military by going undercover as a man. She, of course, chooses to do this to get closer to her boyfriend. Honestly, her reasons annoyed me, but luckily those reasons grew and changed and morphed into something great as the book went on.
The mixture of science fiction and dystopian was phenomenal – this world is just something the reader can easily fall in love with, while loathe at the same time. It is fast-paced and wholly engaging. There are other sub-plots that weave seamlessly within the main one and kept me guessing throughout the entire story.
Overall, the book takes this girl who is in love and turns her into a bad ass heroine. She is the kind of character you want your daughter to become, heck YOU want to become. And romance is in the book, but it is by no means a front of the line story line.
Tracy has impeccable writing skills – her words are beautiful and draw you in, she has the ability to give you enough of the world and the characters that you are able to fully form their creations in your mind, and a wonderful, engaging plot. She has really stepped up her game with this book and I cannot wait to see where she takes it next. This book is why indie authors should keep writing – this is a hidden gem I am only fortunate enough to have stumbled upon.
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