Book Review: Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart

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Title: Shattered Veil
Series: The Diatous Wars #1
Author: Tracy E. Banghart
Publication date: February 28th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

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Synopsis

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.

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Shattered VeilShattered Veil
The Diatous Wars #1
Tracy E. Banghart
Tracy E. Banghart, February 2014
ISBN 978-0-9890373-4-1
Trade Paperback

From the author—

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 don’t always immediately like the primary character(s) in a novel that engages me from the beginning and that’s the case with Shattered Veil. I had problems first with Calix and his patriarchal attitude towards Aris, his assumption that his decision was all that mattered and that Aris had nothing to say about it. I then had some difficulty with Aris’ decision to go to war disguised as a man. This isn’t the first time such a thing has happened both in fiction and in real life—there were women who did this in our Civil War—but I’ve always had some reluctance to see it as a fully positive thing.

In the case of Aris, I totally got her desire to be where Calix was but it was such an immature decision. She gave no real regard to the hurt she’d be causing her family all because her hormones were in overdrive and, OMG, she just couldn’t be parted from her true love! Then, she showed her complete lack of understanding reality when she was surprised, floored actually, that she had to undergo training before she could jump into the war. How dumb can a girl be?

Fortunately, my dismay with both Aris and Calix was shortlived although it would be resurrected later in spades regarding Calix. Aris began to show what she was really made of and my admiration for her started to grow. The plot of Shattered Veil is important, of course, but its main purpose for me was to act as a vehicle for Ms. Banghart’s very strong character development of a young girl. Aris was sheltered from birth, as were all females, but we get to see her grow up and resist the commonly-accepted practices of her time. It’s sort of a fast forward look at the struggle for equality women have been undergoing in real life for far too long.

The other thing about this book that struck me was the vivid characters besides Aris and Calix. Did I love them all? Of course not, how boring would that be? Even the less appealing people, though, really came to life and a few, likeable and not so much, in particular especially struck me, such as Galena, Dianthe and Major Vidar. Also, I mustn’t forget Ward Balias, one of the best evocations of an untrustworthy politicians I’ve come across.

I may be in a minority here but I did appreciate the third person style. I’m always more comfortable with that than with first person, especially when there is a lot of action and some dangerous things going on. It’s hard for me to believe a protagonist telling me what’s happening in real time when, say, bad guys are shooting at her. I’m also inordinately thankful that, despite Aris’ hormones, romance takes a second seat to the rest of the story.

I do think there were two weaknesses, the lack of worldbuilding and the ease with which the women were able to hide their true identities. With regards to the latter, people who go to war are a close-knit community and it was hard to believe that the truth wouldn’t come out much sooner and more frequently. As to the worldbuilding, well, there really wasn’t much and I hope Ms. Banghart will remedy that in future books. As it is, we can’t really say that this is dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic because we just don’t know enough.

That said, I did enjoy Shattered Veil  a lot and I hope to see Aris again soon.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2014.

About the Author

Tracy E. BanghartTracy E. Banghart is a cheesy movie–loving, fantasy football–playing (go Ravens!), globe-trotting Army wife who began “practicing” her craft at the age of five, when she wrote her first story. She loves visiting the international friends she met while pursuing her MA in Publishing and spends a portion of every summer at her family’s cabin in Canada, where she finds inspiration and lots of time to relax on the dock. She lives with her husband, son, two lazy dogs and one ornery cat. When not writing or spending time with her family, she is on a mission to bake the perfect cupcake.

LINKS:

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Shattered Veil by Tracy E. Banghart

  1. Third person is not an instant miss for me either it depends how it’s written. I’ve enjoyed a lot of books in third person. It’s just harder for me to connect to the characters often. I’m glad you liked this one though it sounds like an intense read!

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