Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn (review)
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Reviewed by
Shinn, Sharon Shattered Warrior; illus. by Molly Knox Ostertag. First Second, 2017 256p
Paper ed. ISBN 978-1-62672-089-3 $17.99         R Gr. 9-12

In this powerful graphic novel, Colleen was a child of privilege until the alien overlords arrived and took over the planet. Now as a young woman she travels into the factory from her ruined manor house, sneaking bits of explosive material out and knowing that if she's discovered, she'll be in the mines or dead within minutes. Colleen's determined to skim on the surface of life, loving no one because of the risk of loss, but when her niece reappears and a fiercely loyal man comes into her life, suddenly Colleen is swimming, perhaps drowning, in love. The risks she took before now feel different, both more unbearable and more important, as she becomes part of a rebel group that is trying to defeat the alien Derichets and make them leave. An intriguing relationship exists between Colleen and a Derichet who seems kinder and more considerate than the rest, coaxing Colleen into a hesitant sympathy until he proves that he is, at his core, still part of a violent alien race. There is an ideal balance of wordless panels and speech bubbles, allowing for the story to progress through both the illustrations and the text. The dialogue feels natural, and the grim shadows and dark, muted hues capture the constant emergency of living in a world where death could come after the tiniest mistake. This title has crossover appeal for dystopian buffs, sci-fi fans, for those who simply like the format, and for romance readers as well, since the love between Colleen and the man who finally thawed her frozen heart is gripping stuff.

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