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Shattered Warrior
by Sharon Shinn
Illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag
First Second; $17.99; 250pp
Published: May 2017

This is a graphic novel by the talented author Sharon Shinn and illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag. It’s a science-fiction tale of a world overtaken by some ogre/elvish-like aliens who need minerals on the world to fuel their ships and create bombs to take over other worlds. The aliens are Derichets. Among the humans are two gangs: the Chromatti and the Valenchi : rebel human groups determined to throw the Derichets off planet.

The story focuses on Colleen Cavenaugh whose family has been destroyed, save for one young niece, Lucy. Colleen works in an alien-controlled factory sorting out corzite utilized as fuel for the Derichets. But there is also another material---kallium—which is very explosive that the Derichets covet and hoard as it’s what they use to subjugate (blow-up) other world populations with.  Kallium is the crux of the matter in this story.

Collen goes to a factory every day to sort corzite and kallium bits. She is friendly with the people she works with in the factory and there is even one Derichet that likes her; even going so far to save her in an attack from another Derichet. Colleen lives alones alone in the ruins of her old home with Lucy and a woman who helps watch the seven-year-old child.

One night on her way home from work, Colleen is attacked by ruffians and saved by a fellow ruffian named Jann. She brings him home as he was injured fighting off her attackers. The two become friends and roommates, slowly but slowly. Colleen becomes aware the rebels are finally moving forward to take down the aliens. And the Chromatti and the Valenchi decide to combine forces and come up with a plan to destroy the Derichet. Jann and Colleen become romantically involved as they help develop the plan with their fellow humans.

There is plenty of drama and the ending is very satisfying!  I am not a big reader of graphic novels, but I have pretty much read everything Sharon Shinn has written. This is an interesting way for her to branch out. The illustrations are functional and graphic in a blunt forward style that suits the story very well. The colors are all beiges, ochers, burnt sienna, peach and dusty brick reds. Very earthy. Very little greens or blues.

The presentation works. So if you enjoy graphic novels, this is a nice addition. And from the ending, I suspect there will be more volumes. ~~ Sue Martin

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