Aris Haan has been sheltered and protected all her life, since a childhood illness left her with a limp. The only time she feels free is in the air, piloting her wingjet, a skill at which she excels. But her land, Atalanta, has been at war with desert Safara, and Aris’s would-be-fiance, Calix, is sent off to the military, leaving her heartbroken. She makes up her mind to follow him, taking up an offer she was made by a mysterious stranger to become a Flyer in the Atalantan military herself, disguised as a man. Meanwhile, Galena Vadim, the Ward of neighboring Ruslana, Atalanta’s only possible ally, falls ill at a Council meeting and awakens to find herself imprisoned with an imposter in her place.
This is a compelling and well-told story, with a heroine worth cheering for. Aris has guts, persistence, and strength of will, as well as a good heart and a sympathetic personality. It is heartening to watch her, having always thought of herself as weak and in need of care, find her own strength and her own ability to act forcefully and bravely. The story has excitement and adventure, without masking the cruelties of war. Minor characters have their own three-dimensional personalities, and add some surprising twists to the tale as well, as well as a warming touch of romance.
The plot occasionally has moments of predictability, but not enough to spoil the story. There is just enough left unresolved at the end to leave the reader hoping for a sequel. While young adult females may be most inclined to empathize with Aris and be inspired by her example, this is a book that can be enjoyed by any intelligent and thoughtful reader.
SHATTERED VEIL manages to combine real, heartfelt characters with a lively plot, in a realistic and well-developed world.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader