Shattered Honor by Anne Wheeler [Book Review]
This post is part of a blog tour for the release of Shattered Honor, Anne Wheeler’s latest book, which is reviewed below. You can pre-order it at https://books2read.com/shatteredhonor. There’s also an opportunity to win a copy via the Rafflecopter giveaway
Shattered Honor – Book Review
Shattered Honor is way more than space opera, there’s a whole world of complex interactions, conflicting emotions and obstacles. That’s what made it so enjoyable for me. None of these people are cardboard cut-outs following well worn trope laden paths. They’re all bespoke characters lovingly put together in a richly constructed and internally consistent universe. That’s what makes it great. The characters are very real. There’s more than one thing going on at a time with them and the way Katryn fights off her romantic feelings and then gives in is so well done. Chase has a tragic backdrop to his story, and does his duty despite this, a lesser person would have broken. Instead Chase ensures revenge is served cold, but that comes in another book.
Shadows of War
Shattered Honor is the third in the Shadows of War series but chronologically overlaps with Asrian Skies and takes us up to the very start of Unbroken Fire. There are lots of spoilers for the previous two books in here, so if you haven’t read those already I recommend that you read Asrian Skies and then Shattered Honor.
Shattered Honor shows us the other side of the hill. We get a very different viewpoint of Asrian Skies from the perspective of Colonel Gareth Chase and one of his Imperial Security officers. There are two primary threads to the story. One is Chase and his drivers and motivations. The other is a new character, Katryn Holt, a scientist captured when the Haederans overran her outpost and used as a hostage by one of Chase’s subordinates.
Chase’s story is a tragedy, he’s too close for comfort to a mad and misguided emperor. Brought up at court his wife is the Emperor’s daughter. The Emperor rules through fear and terror, often victimising those most loyal in a misguided attempt to keep them loyal. Chase is part of that machinery, but far from being insulated from consequences.
Everything Chase does is calculated to avoid personal consequences, and to minimise the loss of humanity if possible. I described him in an earlier review as a sensitive Gestapo officer. He’s a real contradiction of stereotype, and Shattered Honor shows how the forces have shaped him this way. He’s a really complex character and works well as the protagonist of his own story. Chase is a tortured soul trying his best not to succumb to the evil that surrounds him and leaches all the good out of his life.
Katryn’s story is also from within the lens of the Imperial Security, but she’s a useful hostage rather than an active participant. Katryn is working on a research station taken by the Haederans at the start of the war. Like her colleagues she is put to work mining an important mineral for the Haederan ships stealth capability. This is hard and dangerous work. Several of the research staff are shot out of hand for disobedience. The rest are gradually being starved while they are poisoned by the environment. Katryn’s lover ends up in the medical center, dying of cancer. She helps load him onto an outbound transport, which then explodes shortly after take off.
However this isn’t what makes her a person of interest to Imperial Security. Chase’s previous role, before being sent to Asria, was working on truth drugs. Katryn’s brother isn’t the naval accountant she believes, and he was a reluctant guest of the Haederans. So Katryn is a useful hostage to add leverage over her brother, who the Haederans believe is on Asria.
There’s a reluctant romance between Katryn and her captor. She fights her feelings for him. He’s good looking and he saved her from the situation she was in. He’s treating her well and giving her a measure of freedom. But he’s the enemy. They took her against her will, and her lover is dead because of them. So she’s conflicted, and knows its probably wrong. That makes it feel so real, there’s hesitation, temptation and genuine warmth. The humanity over-rides the situation and brings them together despite their differences.