REVIEW: Shatterwing by Donna Maree Hanson

Posted on August 12, 2015



Dragonwine 1

Momentum Books


ISBN 9781760081768

I have an awful backlog of epubs that I am slowly making my way through and this is one of them. However I have to start with a couple of caveats.

First, the author and I are both members of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. As a general rule I do not review books by people I have some sort of relationship with, for the simple reason that if I do not like the book, I do not like writing a bad review of their work. But it is my rule so I can break it when I feel like it, although I still do not understand Donna’s fetish for hats.

Second, the title suggested a novel about dragons. And I have grown tired of dragons. Probably my biggest bugbear is that all too often the practical aspects of looking after an enormous, fire-breathing carnivore are conveniently overlooked by authors, having them something more like simple beasts like horses (although my equine-fancying friends will point out that that there is a lot more to looking after a horse than just turning them loose into a paddock and forgetting about them).

In Shatterwing, dragons are directly the focus although they do play an important part of the story and its back-story. Interestingly it is a dragon byproduct which plays the important role in producing the key product of interest to the people within the story. And the dragons themselves are in general wild, dangerous and somewhat unpredictable creatures which is more fitting to the nature of the beasts as generally presented.

Shatterwing is a fantasy but there are also aspects which are closer to science fiction. Combining fantasy and sci fi is always a risky business as the two seem to be rather contradictory in nature, despite sci fi being a subset of the overall genre of the fantastic. To Donna’s credit, she has achieved a good balance between the two, something that in my experience few authors manage to do when attempting such a combination.

At the heart of any good story are the characters, their journey, their motivations etc. And Shatterwing certainly fits that mould. Two quite different protagonists in different lives find themsleves drawn into circumstances that they most certainly did not want, a classic aspect of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey model of story telling.

As always, the acid test for me is do I want to read more and the answer most definitely is yes.




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