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on August 14, 2011
I enjoyed this book enough to maybe by the sequels. I gather book 2 is expected soon, the back cover says summer 2011.

This book has a large cast of characters that mostly start off separate. Because the author believes in the "show dont tell" style, and takes it a bit too far and/or is less than masterful with this technique, you dont get the feeling you know the characters or what they are about for 200 pages or so. Indeed, at least one point I had to jump back a ton of chapters to see if the same people were being described. This improves greatly at around 200 pages -- the author squeezes in some "telling" into the plot, and we get back story of the characters, and some minimal understanding of the magic system and world. For me, it definitely took a little too long, but this is not a huge issue.

The main characters turn out to have a variety of linkages, and rather conveniently link up eventually. An oracle and her sidekick are dropped into the party for what seems like no real good reason. Granted, she doesnt say "I have a feeling we should go left" very often, but its a terribly cheap plot device. Again, not a huge deal. The magic system is not really described much, but has potential -- not overly generic.

The plot is pretty conventional, but since you dont learn what it is for 100s of pages, I better not get into it or someone will think its a spoiler (and maybe be right). The main characters have personal issues that are somehow linked to the prophesy and main plot.

I kind of liked most of the characters, even if I didnt always find their dialogue all that convincing. One other reviewer said that it sometimes felt like the dialogue was from "jokey 14 year olds" rather than supposed adults, and I agree. Felt totally out of place given the serious circumstances in which the dialogue was arising. However, in general, I kind of liked the writing, despite my critiques.

Overall, fairly enjoyable and worthwhile to try at free, if less than great.
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on March 23, 2012
There are pros and cons with this series (we'll start with the bad points first):

Cons:
1) The series isn't done and isn't all published...so you might want to hold off on reading them, your choice.
2) It look me about half-way through this book (and my husband egging me on) to keep reading it. I almost put it down several times but due to his persistence I carried through.
3) If you can't easily track with out-of-this-world names of places and people, it might be tough.

Pros:
1) I am sooooo glad I kept reading, it's a fantastic book and I definitely suggest going straight onto Render, which I did and loved BTW!
2) The story-telling is fantastic. I really found myself hating and loving some of the characters, which when that happens I know the writer is doing a great job.

I know there are more cons than pros but in the end I'd say I was super happy with this book and CAN'T wait for the rest of the series!! Hint, hint!
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on February 18, 2011
This book is one of the few that I could not put down. I'm a huge reader, but very few authors can hold my attention and hook me in so neatly and completely that I go hours without even stopping for food. The story is fantastic, and the kind of magic featured in this book is new to me. I haven't before read about magic that is divided by colors, and new things are almost always wonderful in the realm of fantasy. The characters are definately not one dimensional, and each has his or her own secrets to hide. Most of them force you to have a love-hate relationship with them, because parts of them are wonderful while others are plain infuriating. This was most definately a wonderful start. I am looking forward to book two.

For the grammar police:

Let me start by saying that if you freak out over grammar mistakes then the kindle version is not for you. Obviously, the transfer to the kindle messes up grammar and punctuation in some places in just about every book. It's not perfect alright? Nothing is anyway, so get over it.

Also, there is such thing as a writing style where the authors dip into the heads of anyone present in the scene. It's called third person omniscient, and while it is hard to keep up with sometimes it is NOT the mistake of a beginning author who doesn't know how to write. It is a valid writing style. Quit complaining about that too.
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on February 3, 2012
I had a difficult time trudging through the first chapter; it took several attempts. Thereafter I found it rather pleasant, simple to read, and enjoyable. Great for light, late-night reading. The plot is well thought-out and consistent; the characters are interesting and well-developed, most having decent back-story. That said, I have some minor gripes. It is difficult staying connected to this fantasy when the writer uses British slang - it destroys the fictional fabric in my mind, and comes off rather juvenile. While most of her characters are young, it's the delivery and her use of slang which appear to gear the trilogy toward young women (& young love). Additionally, I must agree with another post - she *does* need a good editor. Spell-check isn't fail-safe either; I found several typographical errors. The cliff-hanger ending is a bit of a "swiz." I would have liked more closure in book one. I purchased book two, nonetheless. I will enjoy following this author and look forward to seeing her work mature as she develops her style. Overall, quite enjoyable.
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on July 10, 2010
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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on April 12, 2011
This book was not quite as expansive and ambitious as "The Wheel of Time" but still shows promise. The setting and storyline is pretty standard as per most fantasy series- war-torn land, prophecies, character(s) on a quest, and of course, some magic. Elizabeth Mock does a good job creating a ragtag band of likeable characters who have some pretty decent, witty (though strictly rated PG) banter. My personal gripe is there's much focus on these good guys but not much sense of who the real bad guys are, at least until the final chapter; thus, there's not too much suspense. On the plus side, you get tons of character development, which as many reviewers point out, is helpful and quite interesting. The last chapters are the most exciting and there's even some unexpected twists which leave the band splintered and torn- a perfect setup for the next book in the series. Let's just hope the author has an endgame in sight and this doesn't fall into the trap (again, i mention "The Wheel of Time") of never-ending dragged out epics.
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on October 8, 2010
This story follows people who start out on their own and as things progress they come together. I laughed, cried, and grieved in this story with these amazingly well written and developed characters. I was sooo sad at the loss of two of them, very worried and stressed for one who is now alone, and am anxiously awaiting the next in this trilogy! The story has you flowing through their world with ease and comfort. I was truly impressed by not only the plot but the huge hanger at the end. Like a few characters I will be biting my nails waiting. It's totally worth reading if you love great stories with even better written characters that you love instantly, especially Jair and Vaughn. But be warned, although there isn't a huge battle or action scenes, there is plenty that keeps your heart racing and fingers turning the page!!!
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on October 7, 2010
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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on January 27, 2011
This book would have gotten 5 stars, and been up there with Robert Jordan, except for the dialog and character descriptions.

There is a lot of "grinning" that goes on in this book, to show, I believe the jaunty nature of the questers. But it's too flippant to describe characters who are on a Mission of Grave Importance (see the descriptive narrative illustrating the state of mind of Tolkien characters) (They don't "grin."). This criticism could seem trivial, but the word is used from the opening scene throughout and doesn't match the seriousness of their presumed magical talent and intent to Save The World.

The dialog, immediately, made me wonder if I had accidentally gotten hold of a book written for a juvenile reader, a cross between chick-lit romance and golly-gee basketball practice.

If Mock can get a good thesaurus and some dialog coaching, she'll be a first class fantasy writer.
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on November 21, 2010
The first few chapters didn't quite draw me in as much as I could have liked. Mireya takes a while to pop back up in the story, and I found myself unconsciously skimming to find her again, until I caught myself and went back to really read. As I got more engrossed it became entertaining, then thrilling, then unfortunately forced me to chew off every single one of my nails. After a few harrowing minutes searching for the next book, I realized it has yet to be released, and this is Elizabeth C. Mock's debut novel. This is also a disappointment--I wanted to download the next and devour it immediately.

If I could give 4 and a half, I would, simply because the first few chapters were a tad too confusing to completely capture me, but for this novel, rounding up is definitely appropriate. Congrats to a beautiful first novel--and please, please, release the next one ASAP!
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