This month’s Short Review will be taking a look at Elizabeth Mock’s Shatter, the first book in her The Children of Man series. As debut novels go, Mock did an excellent job in Shatter, and once I got settled into her world and characters, I really enjoyed it. I felt that the plot got stronger and tighter as it progressed, and whether this was due to the story coming into better focus for Mock and the reader, or to Mock’s evolving craft, I don’t know; I suspect, however, that it is a combination of the two. I enjoyed her use of “color” magic, and the demarcation of abilities between her characters and the ordering of society around those colors. I especially liked her concept of “poppers” and “steppers”, which of course made Sheridan and Kade all the more interesting.
Shatter does take awhile to settle into, however, especially with the number of characters, place names and all the traveling the characters are doing, although I was reading an eBook version without the benefit of a map so I had to rely on Mock’s writing alone to give me a sense of perspective, direction and relationship between places. I love fantasy maps, and I use them to locate events and relativity, so in a way, I felt handicapped without a map since travel and destination were so integral to the plot in Shatter. However, once the cast all came together, this issue vanished; and once Mireya reentered the story, the cast and plot are well enough established that the story progresses very nicely, even though I never quite had the perspective of location soundly engrained. As an aside, I’d like to admit that I did not make the connection between the prologue and Mireya’s reintroduction to the story right away, although this is no fault of Mock’s.
Speaking of Mireya, I fell in love with her character immediately upon her reintroduction, and as the latter half of the story progressed, this only grew stronger. I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel so I can read more scenes with Mireya.
There was one thing that did take me awhile to realize in the story, and it perhaps occurred later than it should have. I had the impression that the characters were much older than they really were, and it did cause a disconnect between their dialog and action at times. Once I came to realize that much of the cast was younger than I’d initially thought, motivations and actions started making much more sense.
So to summarize, I think Mock has written an interesting debut novel in her The Children of Man series that will only get better with the next installment. Follow the link below to her Smashwords page and have a look for yourself. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Mock’s bibliography can be found here: Smashwords