Review: Elizabeth C Mock’s Shatter

Shatter (The Children of Man, #1)Shatter by Elizabeth C. Mock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Shatter is the first book in the trilogy, The Children of Man. When magic of Light was misused by the sorcerers, in order to safeguard it from being abused again, magic was split into different colours and each colour became championed by colleges and each college led by a Scion. Over the years, people have manifested various talents but some have become rarer than others. Now there is one that possess the power of a mind healer, but Faela is running away from more than just the past that haunts her, for she is at the heart of a prophecy that will change the world.
The book cover features a head and shoulders image of a young, red-headed woman, whom I assume to be Faela, and is well-drawn and finished in an attractive colour palette.
The book opens with a prologue that meanders for a few pages with some character building before hitting the reader with the prophecy. The first chapter then introduces the main character Faela, who then bumps into Kade and Jair, both of whom are also running away from their past. The prologue confused me in that we don’t learn or hear about the girl who made the prophecy until much later in the book. A few chapters later and the story shifts to another lady’s perspective, Sheridan. The characters are well-rounded and fleshed out with enough foibles and background to make them distinctive, but there are so many perspectives here that I struggled to work out who the main character was. It’s a mistake I’ve made with my first novel too, in retrospect. As a writer, it’s difficult to pick up on these things without the right feedback from proofreaders.
The plot and the story-telling aspires to that of David Eddings and Mercedes Lackey, but isn’t quite there yet. That said, its one of the best written self-published books I’ve read, and I’ve read a few. As mentioned above, characterisation is done well and some of the characters are very likeable. The one annoying thing about this book is the banter between characters. Mock attempts to achieve the jibing and ribbing that David Eddings makes look easy, but instead it gets annoying, in fact much of this could have been edited out to make the novel shorter and sharper. Also, there are elements of steampunk here, e.g. steam boats, trains and pistols, but these only make a very brief appearance. They didn’t really add much to the world-building and weren’t really missed later on, so why have them at all? But by the end of the book I found myself thinking that I wouldn’t mind reading more of Mock’s work. If you’re into Indi authors then Elizabeth C Mock is well-worth a look in.

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