Book Reviews

Review: “This Shattered World,” Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

December 20, 2015
Review: “This Shattered World,” Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerThis Shattered Worldby Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: The Starbound Trilogy #2
Published by Allen & Unwin on November, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 394
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

The terrible research and experimentation by LaRoux Industries didn’t end in These Broken Stars… there’s an upside, though – more books in this very enjoyable series! After finishing The Lunar Chronicles, I was still yearning for some more spacey adventures and this one certainly fills that void!

“She may be trained, but I’m fighting for my family, my home, my freedom. She’s fighting for a goddamn paycheck.”

This Shattered World managed to do what These Broken Stars did not – establish a world and a planet that I actually cared about. While the planet that Tarver and Lilac were stranded on in These Broken Stars played a HUGE, GIGANTIC ROLE in their story, my main problem was that there was no ‘world-building’. What was life for Lilac and Tarver before the crash? Aside from a chapter or at the start of the book, we never really got a good look or an understanding. This Shattered World, on the other hand, gave us a firsthand look at what life is like for a Government soldier and the civilians that occupy colonised planets.

If you read the first book, you may already be a little familiar with the planet that sets the stage for This Shattered World – Avon. First book protagonist Tarver was a soldier there, and this time around it’s where our heroine, Jubilee Chase, is serving as Captain to soldiers stationed there to quell the rebel uprising. Avon is a swamp-like planet, covered in algae and marshes and not much else. Throughout the entirety of this book, I couldn’t help but feel as if I were there – smelling everything covered in swamp, caked in mood and seeing nothing but overcast skies.

We see two sides of the same story here – Jubilee and her POV in the military, and also Flynn Cormac’s POV. He’s part of the ‘Fianna’, the Avon natives who live in the marshes and retaliate against the military’s presence on their planet. The Fianna blame the soldiers and the Government for the state of the planet. For some reason, Avon isn’t terraforming properly and nobody can figure out why. Their skies have never been clear of clouds and nothing but algae grows.

“What, did he think I was just going to melt into his arms? Start a tragic and dramatic tale of star-crossed lovers on a war-torn planet?”

Jubilee was a great lead; incredibly strong and brave. I know some readers have a hard time believing that Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s characters in this series are teenagers, but to be honest it doesn’t bother me. I like that these characters are quite mature and direct. Unfortunately, Flynn fell on the same side as Tarver did for me in These Broken Stars… he just felt a little bland to read about. Flynn and Tarver sort of felt like the same character with a different face and name.

I’m still waiting for this series to give me a guy I can really warm up to. As for the romance between Flynn and Jubilee – it was ‘sort of there’, but not really. This Shattered World approached the romance a little differently than These Broken Stars, with the two characters understanding, but not really embracing, their attraction – for a number of reasons. That being said, nothing new was brought to the table in terms of their relationship – it was a little too cookie-cutter ‘star-crossed lovers from different worlds’ type of thing. Jubilee and Flynn did accomplish some pretty cool base-infiltration, however, so I’ll give them that – they make a good team.

This Shattered World launched into the action a lot quicker than its predecessor, having me hooked from the first page and the initial meeting between Jubilee and Flynn. There were some slow aspects to the plot, but as soon as things started coming together and unfolding, it was a pretty quick read!

“There are no stars, because there are never any stars here, only a thick darkness that rushes down her throat and into her heart. She dreams of drowning.”

There are little chapter dividers like the first book, but this time they’re Jubilee’s dreams. I found myself skimming quickly through these, as a lot of them were a little puzzling and hard to understand. They didn’t matter much to the story, thankfully, rather serving as breathers between each chapter and POV change. I would have liked something a bit more epilogue-y, like in These Broken Stars, with Merendsen being debriefed and offering a little extra narrative.

And yay – cameos! Lilac and Tarver were helpful in the events of book two. It was nice to see them, relaxing into civilian life and still together, but still fighting the good fight. I actually liked Tarver a lot more from a non-romantic viewpoint than I did from Lilac’s POV. What I enjoyed most, though, was seeing them grow and ‘live’ without having to see their every step.

“Maybe we wouldn’t even like each other if we weren’t fighting for our lives every second of every day.”

I’m enjoying this series, but it’s still yet to hit that ABSOLUTE KNOCKOUT rating for me. I think I enjoyed These Broken Stars a little more than this one, as I warmed up to the characters a little more on the first journey. This book, however, had a better setting and mystery to it. It also expanded the world a whole lot more.

I’m hoping that Their Fractured Light is the book I’ve been waiting for (that cover? Gorgeous!) I’m thrilled to see that Flynn’s friend Sofia is the female protagonist of this one, and that things that have been hinted at may be coming to fruition.

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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