Published December 23, 2014 · Disney-Hyperion
GOODREADS · THE BOOK DEPOSITORY · AMAZON
WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THESE BROKEN STARS.
The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.
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.
This Shattered World was a pretty spectacular novel and despite being quite a bit different from These Broken Stars (apart from the star-crossed lovers aspect), it was just as exciting. Both protagonists had such distinct personalities and you could really tell the authors knew their characters well. Very well.
Both Jubilee and Flynn had rough childhoods and led very eventful lives as young adults – one as a soldier and another as a rebel. Their predicaments had left them jaded, tough, and quick to categorise people as either comrade or enemy, seldom with any in-between.
The way their relationship’s development was challenged with many bumps that felt true to their backgrounds; the way they expect the worst from each other reflected perfectly Jubilee’s bad past with rebels and Flynn’s hate for the soldiers occupying his homeland.
The small yet defining moments when they learned to trust one another was also endearingly well done. It made sense that after all the training she had gone through, Jubilee would know how to read Flynn and realise – although grudgingly – not all rebels are the way she had imagined them.
The way the plot was linked to the previous novel was smooth and flawless. We were left with quite a bit of mystery after These Broken Stars. Where did the beings Tarver and Lilac released come from? Are there any more of them in the galaxy? What does Lilac’s father want with them? Although not all these questions will be answered – there is a third book after all – many of them will.
Kaufman and Spooner revealed enough to quench your thirst but not so much that you wouldn’t run back begging for more. In This Shattered World, the mystery concerning the swamps where people are said to just turn unnaturally violent and bloodthirsty merges with Irish folklore as the people in-charge of terraforming the planet had been mostly Irish.
The convergence of cultures and how it affected the characters’ beliefs and personalities was nicely done too. Most of the characters – especially the soldiers – had very different racial backgrounds. Jubilee is half Chinese, half African-American and she had not been the only one of interracial descend. The inclusion of these characters felt natural and not forced in an “I need to portray more non-white characters so I shall purposely place a coloured character here and there” way.
It had made perfect sense that in a world where space is no longer the final frontier and where national and racial boundaries are extremely blurred, there would be significantly more people of mixed descend. It’s awesome when authors pay attention to little details like these.
This Shattered World was definitely a sequel that lived up to its predecessor. It was capable of being – literally – set in another world yet retain the constants that holds a trilogy together as one. Although I liked These Broken Stars just a teensy bit better, this book will still steal your heart just like the previous one did.