Regina Shen: Vigilance Review

By Majanka

Regina Shen Vigilance

I previously read and reviewed the first book in the series, Regina Shen: Resilience, and after reading it, I looked forward to starting the second book in the series. Regina Shen: Vigilance takes place two years after the events of the first book.

Mo-Mere believes Regina is ready to jump the Barrier Wall, and start looking for her sister. After two years of training, studying and honing her survival skills, now is the time for Regina and Colleen to be reunited and to find some answers. Except, well, what did you expect, things don’t go as planned. For Regina, she’ll have to remain vigilant and find out who she can trust and who she can’t – but the same counts for the other characters too. DeMarco is still after her, and will do whatever it takes to capture her. Regina’s quest to find her sister brings her to university, close to where they’re holding her sister – but will she able to find her and save her?

I thought this book was more thrilling even than the first, and I already enjoyed that one a lot. The ending was very surprising, and I actually had to re-read it; I hadn’t expected some of the plot twists.

I loved Regina in the first book, but I liked her even more in this one. She’s grown as a person, she’s more determined than ever, and she knows how to keep her head cool in dangerous situations.

The new characters were an excellent addition too, especially Ester. A solid sequel to the first book, and a great addition to the series. Can’t wait to read the final part.

Regina Shen Interview B

By Lance Erlick

Regina Shen series

What is your favorite hobby?

My favorite hobby is to read illegal print books from before the Federation, which is part of my motivation to stay in school. My teacher knows where to find more books. I’ve helped her salvage thousands of banned books from the depths. These stories tell of a time of plenty, back before abrupt climate change and rising seas destroyed most of that world, and point to lies told by the Federation. I also like to salvage the depths, though over the past three centuries, most of the great treasures have been looted, and the Federation sets traps to make it harder to find anything of value.

What is the challenge you’re trying to overcome during the story?

A hurricane blows through our area, destroying my home and school. During the storm, my mom leaves. Then I get separated from my younger sister. During all this, Federation agents take my blood and determined that me, a Federation outcast, has the DNA they needed to avoid extinction. During the first book in the series (Resilience), my struggle is to stay alive and try to find my family while avoiding agents trying to capture me. Two years later, in the second book (Vigilance), I make it over the wall to look for my sister, but the Federation is a strange caste society where everyone spies on their neighbors. I don’t know if I can avoid the many traps laid out for me. In the third book (Defiance), I have to set out across a barren landscape from Virginia through deserts to Alaska to hunt a treasure big enough to barter for freedom for my sister and me with roadblocks everywhere.

Regina Shen Interview A

By Lance Erlick

Regina Shen series

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I, Regina Shen, am an outcast, condemned by the World Federation to live on the seaward side of barrier walls they built to hold back rising seas and to create a place to throw those who disobey their rules. My mother won’t talk about it, but she was cast out before my younger sister and I were born for something I presume is too horrible to put into words. On the other hand, I don’t believe a word the Federation tells us, so perhaps I would have done the same.

Six days a week Mom sends my sister and me to the only remaining school in the swamps that the Federation hasn’t closed. She barters dearly for this privilege. It’s treacherous paddling to and from school in a hollowed-out canoe with genetically-enhanced gators, bounty hunters looking to kidnap girls to sell as slaves over the wall, and a host of desperate people trying to live on our shrinking lands. Life in our world is all about survival, but it helps when neighbors look out for each other.

What is your role in the story?

The Regina Shen series is my story. As Resilience begins, I’m just trying to live my ordinary life in the swamps over the flooded city of Richmond, Virginia. Ordinary for me is school, doing underwater salvage for things to barter for food, and avoiding Federation agents who forbid us from doing salvage. They also traffic in slaves shipped over the wall to work in factories, in mines, or on farms. I didn’t count on being anyone special though my teacher has high hopes for me. I just want to survive, take care of my mom and sister, and avoid trouble. Unfortunately, as an outcast, every day brings trouble.

New Regina Shen Review

By Mira

Regina Shen Resilience

Outcast Regina Shen is forced by the World Federation to live on the seaward side of barrier walls built to hold back rising seas from abrupt climate change. A hurricane threatens to destroy what’s left of her world, tearing Regina from her family. Global fertility has collapsed. Chief Inspector Joanne Demarco of the notorious Department of Antiquities believes Regina holds the key to avoid extinction. Regina fights to stay alive and avoid capture while hunting for her family.

Review: Amazing world-building meets an intelligent, clever, resourceful heroine in “Regina Shen: Resilience”. The World Federation forces Regina to live on the seaward side of the wall built to hold back the rising seas. Books are forbidden, but she does manage to find a few that teach her more about the world and everything wrong with it. The inspector of the Department of Antiquities believes Regina holds the key that’ll help the world avoid extinction. Meanwhile, Regina struggles to stay alive and find her family back. An action-packed read focusing on climate change, bravery, and with great writing.

Regina Shen Review

By Majanka

Regina Shen Resilience

Regina Shen: Resilience is the first book in a trilogy focusing on Regina Shen, a young girl who is forced by the World Federation to live on the outside of the Wall. Aforementioned walls were built to hold back rising seas due to climate change and to protect the world behind the walls. Like that wasn’t bad enough, a hurricane raging overhead separated Regina from her family, and she’s now completely run out of luck. Meanwhile, the Federation agents claim she has unique DNA that could save mankind – except that Regina doesn’t trust the Department of Antiquities at all, especially not after what she’s read in the forbidden books she gathered from sunken cities. So now Regina must fight to stay alive while looking for her family.

The best thing about this book, hands down, is the world building. I liked the idea of barrier walls, of how the world is dangling on the brink of extinction, the climate changes that happened, and so on. The world Regina Shen lives in is anything but friendly for the people inhabiting it (which gets kind of scary if you think of it as a futuristic version of our planet). Add in the bonus of no books existing in this dystopian world (oh no, no books!) and you get an intriguing setting for this first book.

Regina Shen is tough. Tougher than most main characters, especially teens. She’s a survivor through and through, and no matter what life throws at her, she manages to get through it. As the title says, she’s resilient, our Regina, resourceful, clever and determined. She’s complex and feels like a real person, and I couldn’t help but cheer her on.

I won’t spoil the ending, but it definitely made me curious for the next book.

Author Interview Part 2

By Lance Erlick

Why did you choose science-fiction as a genre to write in?

I grew up with science fiction stories, movies, and TV shows. I’ve found myself drawn to this genre because of the ability to speculate about our many potential futures. I like to explore the future implications of social and technological developments on people, the characters in my head. Science fiction in its broadest sense considers itself the big tent, bringing in traditional science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical time travel, and alternative history, all of which speculate about different worlds and different ways we can relate to each other. I find this to be an exciting place to write.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write because you have a passion for stories. Write because you have characters in your head that you want to share with other. Write because you have stories rattling around that keep you up at night because they need to be told. Write because you want to take the journey with your characters and believe others will want to come along.

Whatever you do, don’t write with the goal of striking it rich. You have a better chance of winning the lottery, though winning it through writing will be far more enjoyable, plus you can share it with your fans without impoverishing yourself. In writing, don’t copy what you believe will be popular if you don’t have passion for the stories themselves. Your readers can tell and you will be frustrated with the result.

Make sure you know where your story is going before you write, otherwise you could end up with a flat, or even circular story that doesn’t go anywhere. Don’t be afraid to experiment and test your boundaries. You are bound to grow from the experience even if that particular story doesn’t sing. An example is writing from the points of view of different genres and people who are on the surface different than you. When you stumble onto writers block, I find it best to frame the problem and move onto something else, letting my subconscious sort out a solution. It might not always work, but I find trying to bulldoze a solution never does. Then edit, edit, edit some more. Your potential readers deserve the best experience you can provide.

Do you have any works in progress you’d like to tell us about?

I’m working on several story ideas right now, more than I have time for. I’ve sketched out another novel in the Regina Shen series that people are asking for. I have two completely different alien stories I want to tell. Then there’s is a time travel story that shoots back into ancient history and a futuristic computer hacking story. That’s the short list.

Author Interview

By Lance Erlick

Have you been writing for a long time?

I’ve been writing since I was eleven. We moved around a lot while I was growing up, including a stint in a boarding school in Brussels. Stories that I read and wrote seemed to anchor me. Writing has come in spurts with bursts of creativity interspersed with life and other priorities pulling me away. But every time I’ve gotten dragged away, I’ve come back better prepared and with renewed vigor for writing.

What inspired you to start a writing career?

At first, I enjoyed adventure stories and then thrillers and science fiction, in particular Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Ray Bradbury. My first writings were inspired by stories I’d read that I felt I could match. One published story that had great promise but fell flat inspired me to write my first novel. Unfortunately, I soon learned that getting into someone else’s story and writing my own were quite different. My story was even flatter than the one that inspired me. It took many years of practice and development to get to the point I felt confident in my writing. Then I found inspiration in my many interests from history to science and social developments.

Is this your first series? If not, can you tell us about your first series?

Regina Shen is my second series. My first, the Rebel series, actually didn’t start out as a series. I’d written Rebels Divided, now the third book in that series, and one of the main characters bugged me to write her story. That became The Rebel Within, followed by The Rebel Trap. The series takes place after a second civil war divides the United States into a Federal Union that is predominantly female and a warlord controlled Outland in the mountains, since mountain people tend to be a fiercely independent lot. Because of atrocities committed during the war and technology that allows two women to have a child without a father, the Federal Union has gone down the path of ostracizing males.

Annabelle Scott is at odds with the Federal Union because they took her parents when she was little. Raised by an adoptive mother in the political opposition, she is expected to become a cop or a mechanized warrior supporting her regime.

In The Rebel Within, she rebels against being forced to capture escaped boys, including one she fancies. This puts her and her adoptive family at risk. In The Rebel Trap, her military commander gives Annabelle audio implants and video cameras to watch everything she does, which kicks her rebelliousness and risks to a new level. Then, in Rebels Divided, the local governor pledges Annabelle to the local warlord as part of a secret deal and Annabelle has to find common ground with an Outlander she’s sworn to kill. The series deals with the dilemma of following conscience at odds with what she’s told to do.

Regina Shen: Vigilance Review

by Tori Shultz (Litpick Reviewer)

Regina Shen is back in this thrilling new sequel!  On the run from Antiquities Agents, Regina is still searching for her sister.  In order to find her, she will have to brave the wall separating the higher-ups and the lower class. If she can make it past the wall, she will be able to blend in and find her sister. Will she be able to succeed?


This sequel to Regina Shen: Resilience is just as good as the first, if not better.  The book gripped me in the beginning and I never got bored. I was excited to see what would happen to Regina throughout the book.

The cover art, like the last book’s, is amazing. It is simple, yet gripping. The symbol they use on the front cover is also very well-made.

The author does an excellent job at telling this adventurous story, and their description of the post-apocalyptic world that Regina lives in is beautifully executed.

With a great plot that’s sure to keep you entertained, Regina Shen: Vigilance is sure to blow your mind.

5* Regina Shen: Resilience Review

by D. Donovan (Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review)

Regina Shen and her family are outcasts in a world being deluged by rising waters from climate change – but a hurricane is proving to be the least of her problems as The World Federation which has condemned her family discovers that her unique DNA may prove the salvation of humanity itself; and so she goes from an unwanted outcast to a wanted outcast.

Only Regina’s knowledge of the swamps and wetlands created by climate change can keep her from the clutches of a savvy and sly Federation: but, for how long? She now has two problems: locating the family lost to her in the storm, and avoiding the bounty hunters and clutches of the Federation that rules her world.

Under a different hand, Regina Shen: Resilience (the first book in a projected series) could have been more one-dimensional (so many young adult dystopian stories are). Using a different approach, it could have focused on the physical challenges of disaster, on a teen girl’s coming of age, or on a family’s obstacles to survival. But any who expect Regina Shen to be your typical teen disaster story are in for a surprise: it tackles issues of freedom, domination, change in the face of challenge, and a feisty girl whose flexibility and love of learning prove her keys to success.

Regina’s acceptance of her world creates a story that is believable and involving on both a political and a personal level – and that’s a fine line indeed, incorporating elements of past and present events to create an atmosphere of future reality firmly cemented in present-day fact: “…life outside the Richmond Swamps seemed unimaginable. This was the only world I knew, unless you counted the literary world of banned books by ancients such as Charles Dickens, Isaac Asimov, and David Brin.”

In such a future, the fine lines between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are blurred – but Regina stands out firmly as ‘good’, even to strangers who encounter her. In such a world, the elements of survival are intrinsically linked to an ability to present a refreshingly honest face to strangers: “Therese couldn’t help wondering why the injured girl so interested Antiquities, the Federation, and her. Regina was a tough girl, a survivor, not unpleasant in the way other desperate souls became during and after storms. It had been the lack of guile that convinced Therese to help her…”

It’s Regina’s perceptions of the wants, needs, and efforts of those around her (strangers she encounters, who become ‘family’) that drives a story line that is personal as well as political (“Guilt. I’d added burdens on her while she tried to help me stay safe. Already, I thought of the twins as my sisters, though they couldn’t replace Colleen. But more bodies meant more heat signatures for patrols and bounty hunters to find.“). These elements, together, create a story line that is compelling, vivid, realistic, and with far more psychological depth than the usual young adult dystopian read.

In Regina’s world, there’s a lot to gain and a lot to lose. Resilience‘s satisfying conclusion leaves the door open for more Regina stories but provides a logical ending for this particular saga, which makes for both a powerful predecessor to a series and a rewarding stand-alone read.

Worldcon/Sasquan Convention

by Lance Erlick

We went to Worldcon in Spokane (Sasquan) with high expectations. The panels were great as usual. Connie Willis was funny and entertaining. Toni Weiskopt was, as always, a class act. It was great to get introduced to Ramez Naam in person. He is both entertaining and quite knowledgeable about topics that should concern us all. I felt quite “wired” just meeting him. It was great to see Joe Haldeman, Greg Bear, and Brenda Cooper again, as well as Brandon Sanderson, the only person who never needs a microphone in a large room. David Brin was missed.

But a Biblical cloud of fire and brimstone hung over the conference. Some said it had to do with voting irregularities over the Hugos. In any case, we didn’t let two days of Red Alert (on account of winds bringing in forest fire smoke) keep us from enjoying the conference.

Spokane Sky

5* Regina Shen: Vigilance Review

by Moniqua (Goodreads reviewer)

The second installment was just as good as the first. Regina is on the run to find her sister. Mo-mere prepared her for life across the wall at university, but things don’t go as planned. Demarco, to save her own career, tries to barter with Regina, saying that if they go with her, she can do more for them than Volpe, and I think Regina was right not to trust her. I know that includes being on the run for the rest of her life, but at least she has Ester by her side. I hope that there’s another installment or so, because I want to know what happens next. If she is able to change the laws of the world and bring these fictional men back, or if she runs into Annabelle (The Rebel Trap Series) on her journey.

5* for Regina Shen: Resilience

by Moniqua (Goodreads reviewer)

Regina Shen Resilience

I must say that Lance Erlick is a mastermind. Regina is a survivor. The copious amounts of misfortune she goes through in this book to evade the bounty killers and Antiquities, while trying to find her sister and mom, is admirable. Although, I had to gasp at the fact that this takes place in a time where books don’t exist. I can’t fathom not reading my favorite authors, let alone my new favorite author, Mr, Erlick.

Regina grows so much in this first installment and she is so brilliant and resilient, which makes for the perfect title. She will stop at nothing to know and learn all she can about why things are the way they are. She’s only 15 and I envy her strength and courage.

She is on the run from being captured to be tested on because her DNA is different from everyone else’s, probably because she doesn’t have a donor mother and actually has a…sorry, can’t spoil it for you. You have to read it yourself. Did I mention, there are absolutely no men in this book? Hmmm…Stayed tuned for my take on the next installment.

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