Book Reviews

Review: “Their Fractured Light,” Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

December 27, 2015
Review: “Their Fractured Light,” Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerTheir Fractured Lightby Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: The Starbound Trilogy #3
Published by Allen & Unwin on December, 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 432
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

Their Fractured Light started out strongly, but lost me somewhere around the middle. It wasn’t that this book was bad (it wasn’t at all!) it was just that it was sadly more of the same. Now that this series is at a close, I can’t help but reflect on all of the relationships and characters that we’ve been introduced to with each instalment… and how achingly similar they all are.

 “A year ago, I would have gasped aloud at the sight of sun and blue skies, even holographic ones, but today I find they just make me miss home. What I’d give, now, to lift my head and see bruise-colored clouds sweeping down to meet the marsh, a vastness to the horizon that no holographic lobby in and office building could hope to replicate.”
– Sofia

Their Fractured Light introduces us to Gideon (aka ‘The Knave’, elite computer hacker mentioned briefly in This Shattered World) and Sofia, the girl Flynn sought refuge with in on Avon. I was so happy that these two were going to be our new narrators, as I really warmed up to Sofia in This Shattered World and was eager to see her journey from Avon as an orphan. As for Gideon, I was hoping and praying that he was the male lead I’d been hoping for since the start of this series!

My love affair with Gideon resembles the love affair I had with this book as a whole – strong at the start, waning by the middle… Gideon promised to be this ‘abseiling-down-skyscrapers’ tattooed hacker, and he certainly delivered initially. It wasn’t long, however, that he fell into the trap that all the male characters have in this series… and became overly sensitive. I don’t know what it is, but there is never must to distinguish much from the female chapters to the male chapters. Their sense of attraction to one another isn’t different, nor are their personalities. I just couldn’t get past my frustration. Soon, Gideon was another Tarver… another Flynn… Colour me disappointed.

 “And from the inside, surrounded by the joy and devotion and loyalty of my friends, the shimmer of rage on the outside of our lives looks paper-thin.”

I think this is probably my biggest irk with this series. Sure, the girls are slightly (slightly!) more varied, but I found the boys to be cookie cutter shapes with different names and abilities. Stick them with a girl in a similar situation to theirs and it’s not long before they’re professing love and changing their ways. I wanted one of the romances to play out differently… go down a different path… but they were all so clean and linear.

Sofia had her hang-ups, but she was likeable. I think I like her and Lilac the best, but I did expect to like her more. By the time I’d gotten three quarters of the way through Their Fractured Light I think I was just ready for the series to come to its conclusion and any particular fondness I had for any of the characters went a little out the window. I want to say I’ll look back and remember these characters fondly, but to be honest I don’t think I will miss them all that much.

 “Her gaze flicks up to me, and she shows me that lopsided, one-dimpled smile again, just for a moment. And like that, I know. That’s the real smile. One dimple, real deal. Two, she’s faking it. And damn, do I like that lopsided one.”
– Gideon

Corinth was fun to explore, too, and after a ‘huge event’ things got even more interesting. The book kind of took a turn then, and became this ‘zombie survival’ type thing which threw me off. I couldn’t imagine how things were going to wrap up under 100-or-so pages, but sure enough, they did. There were some really action-packed scenes, but there was also A LOT of them. Too many to really appreciate the ones that mattered. By the time the crescendo of the ‘battle’ was upon me, I was kind of exhausted and just wanted a place for everyone to lay down and take a good, long rest.

I’m pretty satisfied with the ending for The Starbound Trilogy, and I really enjoyed seeing the chapter breaks from the ‘Whispers’ POV. It was a great way for things to be rehashed, and for the reader to revisit the events from the previous two books. I’ll still have to stick by my opinion that These Broken Stars was the best book of the three, but by the end of the third book the Lilac and Tarver relationship was so ‘vanilla’ and a little overkill.

I really hate to be so harsh, but as this book was a finale to a pretty solid trilogy, I really did expect SO MUCH MORE. It wasn’t that This Shattered World was necessarily written more poorly or that the story was bad, it was just… not different enough. It didn’t take things to a new level or a new height, it didn’t make me fall more in love with any character or any relationship. I had my hopes pinned on this one so much, hoping that it would elevate this series to a favourite… and it just didn’t.

The series was quite enjoyable, but as far as going out of my way to recommend them to someone? I’m not sure I would. However, if you head-over-heels LOVED These Broken Stars, by all means continue… I’m sadly in the camp that finds disappointment in the first book in the series being better than the rest.

About Amie Kaufman

Amie Kaufman writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library.

About Meagan Spooner

Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes. She currently lives and writes in Asheville, North Carolina, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there.

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