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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good beginning
I'm a fantasy lover, and I downloaded this book because it was tagged fantasy, and it was a freebie. When I do that, I don't have many expectations, as sometimes I couln't ever finish some books.
This time, however, I've been lucky and I find a little gem. "Fantasy" means that the author avoids the limits and boundaries of the real world, having the more difficult...
Published on October 7, 2010 by simona b

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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware the cliff-hanger ending
Let me say this would have gotten 4 stars if it hadn't had a cliff-hanger ending that is totally unsatisfying. The story just stops. With that said -- yes she needed an editor but since I wouldn't know what a comma was if it bit me -- I was able to read past most of the problems. Yes, the characters were quirky and in some cases not fully formed (Eve rang completely...
Published on November 19, 2010 by Amazon Customer


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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good beginning, October 7, 2010
By 
simona b (Italy, Europe) - See all my reviews
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I'm a fantasy lover, and I downloaded this book because it was tagged fantasy, and it was a freebie. When I do that, I don't have many expectations, as sometimes I couln't ever finish some books.
This time, however, I've been lucky and I find a little gem. "Fantasy" means that the author avoids the limits and boundaries of the real world, having the more difficult task to build an environment that actually makes sense, plus a good story and characters.
When it happens, I usually can't put down the book, and that's what happened with "Shatter". It's a very good first book, my only disappointment is that the second one isn't available yet. I'll be looking forward to it.
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118 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read!, June 2, 2010
This review is from: Shatter: The Children of Man: Book One (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book!
It has a lot of different threads, which draw together to form a tightly woven narrative with a rich mythology--leaving the author room to expand on in some prequels...
There is a complex magic system which is handled very well. This is one of the points I look for when reading fantasy (obviously...), because if it's done poorly the suspension of disbelief can fall through.
Moreover, it helps to take a look at the maps which come with the book, as the world is a key element, as this also has the elements of a travel narrative--akin to LOTR, as places are key to the story. The places here have distinct, well-constructed atmospheres. Plus, I LOVE pub names...
One of the things I particularly enjoyed is the dialogue. Each of her characters has a distinct voice which lends more credibility to the dialogue--I can hear their voices clearly, aided through the syntax and the diction.
All the technicalities aside, I was drawn in by the characters and really connected with them, particularly due to their interactions and relationships.
The book ends with desperation, with heartbreak, but it really fits with one of the major themes of the novel, which is brokenness. Each of the main characters, in some way, is broken, and I figure *crosses fingers* that the trilogy is about redemption.
Anyway, pick this up and enjoy!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book on its own, also a very promising launch for a trilogy, July 10, 2010
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This review is from: Shatter: The Children of Man: Book One (Paperback)
On its own, Shatter is a novel that introduces us to the personalities and struggles of some memorable characters. Faela is a character on a journey propelled by deep motivations that aren't immediately apparent. As you unravel the mystery surrounding her and discover what drives her you are treated to her practical yet charming personality. The other characters in this book are just as interesting, their struggles are just as compelling, you'll find yourself cheering for some and sneering at others.

The world, magic system and history behind this book are specific and well made. Unlike many fantasy and science fiction novels these days, you don't get the feeling that the whole universe is built to the direct benefit of the characters. Instead, Elizabeth Mock has built a setting that is anything but convenient or simple, adding depth and realism to their struggles.

This book does stand on its own, but I promise you'll be looking forward to the second part of the trilogy by the time you finish it.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too Good to Have So Many Problems, October 11, 2010
By 
Anne Wingate (Salt Lake City) - See all my reviews
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Shatter is a page-turner. I started reading it at night, and didn't put it down until I could no longer hold my eyes open, and I resumed it at 5:15 AM. To put this in context, you should know that normally I'm not sane until at least 9:00. Ms. Mock managed to create a new form of magic, which is a rarity indeed, and she involves her characters in all manner of difficulties, yet they are able to work together and get along most of the time. I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes and understands the fantasy genre.

This said, I must now enter a quibble. Apparently Ms. Mock decided her education was sufficient, along with a good spell check, that she didn't need to hire a professional editor. This decision led to severe comma problems, with commas omitted where they were often needed for clarity and included in places where they didn't belong. It also led to the misuse of stagnate for stagnant, wretched for retched,, gate for gait, aids for aides, fair for fare, knocked for nocked; to wildly misplaced participles to the extent of making the sentence almost incoherent; and to occasional misuse or omission of apostrophes.

Moral: When you write an excellent book, which this definitely is, take the time to spring for a good editor before the book is posted.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shatter, Book One of the Children of Man series., May 25, 2010
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This review is from: Shatter: The Children of Man: Book One (Paperback)
This review may or may not contain spoilers.

This book was amazing. I fell in love with the new variety of magic almost as soon as I realized what it was.

The characters are amusing and compelling, and if it weren't for obligations, I would have finished this book the first evening I got it, just so I could see and learn more of the characters. Even now, having finished the book, I'm thirsting for its sequel so I can learn more.

The plot is every bit as compelling as the characters. It keeps you guessing, and it left me wanting to re-read various passages of the story, simply because of how subtly intertwined they all are.

The writing of "Shatter" is done in a manner that's accessible to all. You don't need a dictionary by your side to read this book, but Miss Mock doesn't "dumb down" for her audience either.

Even before I finished reading this book, I was recommending it to my friends.

As well written as it is, I am now in a lull until Miss Mock's second book of "The Children Man" series comes out.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beware the cliff-hanger ending, November 19, 2010
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This review is from: Shatter: The Children of Man: Book One (Paperback)
Let me say this would have gotten 4 stars if it hadn't had a cliff-hanger ending that is totally unsatisfying. The story just stops. With that said -- yes she needed an editor but since I wouldn't know what a comma was if it bit me -- I was able to read past most of the problems. Yes, the characters were quirky and in some cases not fully formed (Eve rang completely false and I struggled with Jair being 19 and not 12, which is how he acted), but again I found myself reading every chance I got because the story carried me along.

So given the ending, the question to ask is should you read it now? I'm torn. If I'd known that the book was only half the story I'm not sure I would have started it until book two was done (which maybe a year away). On the other hand I enjoyed it and the price was right. On balance then I'd say yes, it was worth the frustration of reading only half a book and I'll keep my fingers crossed that book two actually gets written.
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I Never Worked So Hard To Try To Like Something!, January 9, 2011
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This review is from: Shatter: The Children of Man: Book One (Paperback)
I can't believe I actually read more than 75% of this book. It was so difficult, but held so much promise at the start! First the dislikes, then the likes, as I want to end on a positive.

Dislikes: 1)Book needed LOTS of editing. POV changes, misplaced or missing commas, and the incorrect use of the word "who" instead of "whom" throughout. I think the author needs to hire a real editor and find these structural mistakes that cause the reader to come off the tracks.
2)Lack of movement. There is so much nothing that happens. It seems every chapter is a bunch of magical people sitting around joking while having a meal. Maybe the author went on a lot of camping trips as a kid or something, but geez. It got so boring.
3)Confusion. All the different cities or provinces, the different Orders and such got confusing. I think if I had taken notes, I could have gotten it all straight. And after nearly 300 pages, I was able to distinguish between some of these, but I felt when some big revelation happened, I didn't get to enjoy the effect since the type of person, his race or whatever, meant nothing to me.
4)Fight scenes. There's a couple, and they're not very good.
5)Conversations/attempt at humor: Like I said, most conversations are over a meal - either in a tavern with a stupid name or over a campfire. Then the characters tease each other. They all hold back their laughter during these barbs. Am I supposed to find this funny? Or even entertaining? The dynamic exchange never happens, and it's all kind of amateurish. It's like 5th grade camp around a fire all over again! Some readers probably found these scenes (and there's plenty of them) probably entertaining or quaint. I found them an exceedingly boring method for a reader to get information to figure out just what the Dickens is going on.
6)Preachy. There are moments where the dialog is downright preachy, as if it came from a high school debate speech about democracy. There's a scene between Kade and Sheridan, and she goes on this long tirade about people and freedom from tyranny and blah blah blah. Again, a professional editor would've circled it and said, "OK, put this time without the soapbox."
7)Dialog: much of the dialog is used to convey certain information to the reader, but the author does it in such a way that doesn't seem natural to the characters. For example, a guy named Vaughan is eavesdropping on a villain and one of his men. So of course, the dumb villain spills his entire plot right there and then so the good guy (and the reader) is filled in on the dastardly plot. This is the kind of stuff you see on Saturday Morning cartoons.
Some of the dialog is VERY amateurish, with characters saying over and over again who they are and what their certain Order or whatever does. This is done to keep everyone straight, as the POV makes this large ensemble cast so confusing. Which leads me to...
8)POV. 3rd person omniscient throughout. This was a grave mistake. In one scene, you had 7 or 8 characters in one room all talking. AND we got all of their thoughts. How confusing is that? And because you KNOW everyone's thoughts, there's no creation of dramatic tension. How cool would it to come to a conclusion about a character, yet what that character says contradicts this? Thus creating some tension (i.e. Poe's Tell-Tale Heart when the narrator vows "I'm not mad." When we know from his actions that he is mad indeed!)

Here's what I liked, though:
1)Descriptive Style: This writer is a wordsmith for sure. Excellent choice of words, they were smooth and really painted a vivid picture. This helped visualize the scene. The author is probably very visual, because I got her pictures very clearly.
2)Magic: The color coded magic and such is this book's plot strength. Very cool.
3)Characterization: This author's other strength is characterization. They were three-dimensional, but their dialog kind of ruined it for me at times.
4)Price. This book is free. Some elements far exceeded my expectations, but everything else fell into the "self-published" realm.

Overall: This is above-average self-published work. And it's a neat twist on conventional, overused fantasy stories. But the writing quality just made it tough to read. The amateurish conveying of plot points via dialog, the preaching, and the POV ruined it for me. I felt like I wasted a lot of time trudging through this book. But hey, it's free.
I love e-books, fantasy, and finding something new and refreshing. There's a lot of good in this book, but this finished product is most definitely a first draft manuscript compared to professional published work. This author has a TON of writing talent, but it's pretty raw. I think if she works on her craft and gets another set of very capable (and objective) eyes to deconstruct the first, second, third drafts, she could write some great stuff.
If you love books about sitting around a fire eating and making corny jokes, this book is for you. Otherwise, look somewhere else.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good, but ......., October 10, 2010
This is the first volume of a planned three volume epic fantasy story on a scale worthy of Tolkien. (And, like Tolkien or Chaucer, the characters are journeying on a quest of one sort or another, usually on foot, but occasionally on horseback or popping about magically.) The story is well thought out and is richly detailed: There are a number of countries (recently at war), each with various cities; there are several types of magic (cleverly color coded), each with different types of powers; the are a number of Orders, each with it's own mission, which train acolytes in the magical mysteries and oaths of service specific to that order (Healers, Police, Seers, etc.); there are competing Merchant Houses, which are kinship based; there are the mysterious and evil Brethren, who are apparently pulling the strings of the bad guys; there are freelance bounty hunters, some but not all of which are bad guys; and there are a plethera of main characters, each with a complicated (and usually tormented) back-story. All of this is good stuff (really) to make a richly detailed world to immerse oneself in, but for the first half of the book I was almost continually confused, wondering if I was supposed to understand what was just said or if it was just another clue to file away, and wishing I had started compiling my own notes and glossary early on to try to make sense of all the details. In addition it took me a long time to begin to bond with some of the (eminently bondable) characters because they were often abandoned for great lengths of time while more characters were being introduced. So, reading this was, for me, frustrating but intriguing. I think that this story is capable of developing a huge fan base and becoming a classic, with complaints like mine seeming silly to ardent fans who are familiar with all of the complexities of the story through reading and re-reading. But I fear that once the second volume is released, many potential readers might feel that they would need to first re-read the first volume to get back up to speed, and might not make the effort. I hope that the next volume is released soon (particularly since the first volume ends with a cliff hanger), preferably including a glossary and (dare we hope) a map. I really wish this writer luck. She has a rare talent.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous!, October 20, 2010
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I just finished Shatter and I really look forward to seeing the story continue. This was a tremendous novel. Scratch that; it is a tremendous novel!

I downloaded Shatter because it was free. Plus, my mother's maiden name was Mock and I wondered if we might be related. I was born in Cincinnati, too... None of that stuff mattered, before long. I was caught up in the events, the characters, the world you created. I don't know when I've been so thoroughly involved in a book--and I not only read constantly but publish books under the name CWG Press. I wish I'd had the chance to publish this one.

Like all good fantasies, this book has clear villains and heroes, good versus evil, and world-changing events. Naturally the characters we follow are involved in the most significant actions and reactions. The good people are mostly flawed, and the bad ones often have redeeming qualities, and we don't know for sure on which side some of our favorite characters will end. We like them anyway, though. We just wish they would make the right decisions. Why do they keep missing what is so obvious to us?

The novel has depth and breadth too, and I can't wait to see what happens next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, looking forward to more!, October 7, 2010
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I really enjoyed this new book. Though it seemed a little disjointed at first, I actually double checked to be sure there wasn't a book before this one, it all came together. This is definitely a series book though as it ends suddenly with your main group separated and major changes occurring to each. You find yourself connecting with some of the characters, while others are more peripheral in this book. I expect many of these characters will play more important roles later on. I really like how the author is handling the magic and fantasy aspects and recommend Shatter. Can hardly wait for the next book in the series to learn more about what happens with everyone.
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Shatter: The Children of Man: Book One
Shatter: The Children of Man: Book One by Elizabeth C. Mock (Paperback - May 3, 2010)
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