I love the fact that YA is moving in direction where there is more science fiction, and by that, I really mean, books set in space. I’m really digging the space-set books in YA and I hope they keep on coming; it’s a refreshing change in the YA that I read. This Shattered World is exactly what I’m looking for in a space adventure. There’s action, rebellion, and an impossible romance, what more can you ask for? This was a very good follow-up to These Broken Stars,
which I also quite enjoyed.
This Shattered World is the second in a trilogy; however, what I like about this trilogy is that it changes the focus of the narrative by introducing new characters. Yes, we see the characters from book one, but new characters, Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac are the focus of this story.
On a colonized world, Avon, the inhabitants are controlled by the military, which naturally leads to a rebellious faction that would like to overthrow the military that is “protecting” them and assert their own independence. Flynn Cormac is the leader of that rebellion and has been since the death of his elder sister. Unlike many of his compatriots, Flynn wants his people to gain their independence with minimal bloodshed. Unfortunately, when Flynn kidnaps a well-known captain, he unwittingly provides his people with the motive for violence, forcing him to take a stand against the very people he is trying to lead. Lee Chase is a respected, ruthless, and loyal young captain. She’s climbed to the top following her enlistment after the death of her parents. She’s a leader and because of that she is willing and able to make the tough decisions, but it also means that she’s often alone because of her status. She is committed to enforcing the orders that she is given and that includes putting down the rebellion. She doesn’t count on Flynn Cormac confusing her allegiance or the fact that she will take risks that she never would have dreamed of. This is what happens when you start to question the orders that you’re given.
Having read These Broken Stars, I was really anticipating reading it’s follow-up. I loved the world, and I gotta say, I think This Shattered World was better. There was less overt romance, but I think the world building and suspense was stronger in this one. This Shattered World explores further the events from These Broken Stars and demonstrates the consequences of the corporation Terra Dynamic’s stranglehold on the Galatic Council. The control that Terra Dynamics is trying to assert has reached it’s breaking point and there are serious consequences for what they were trying to do. The theme of corporate control is one that plays a big role in This Shattered World, and it’s a theme that I think is timely.
Other than the overall great plot of This Shattered World, I also loved the narrative style and light romance. Like These Broken Stars, this one is also written in alternating chapters in the main characters’ perspective. This means readers are treated to both Lee and Flynn’s thought processes, most notably their confusion about what’s happening and their changing attitude to one another. I think this style was especially important in This Shattered World because both Lee and Flynn are on opposite sides of a war. Getting both sides of the story was important because it showed that the larger conflict was not black and white. Neither Lee or Flynn are the villain or the hero; the issue is more complex than that, and it is that complexity that added an interesting element to the romance of This Shattered World.
Unlike These Broken Stars I didn’t think romance played as big of a role in This Shattered World. Quite simply, there were larger issues at play and there was a huge barrier between Lee and Flynn’s attraction to one another. Lee and Flynn shouldn’t have even formed a relationship. Lee’s duty is to arrest Flynn, but she doesn’t. Because of the ideological differences between them, Lee and Flynn’s romance does not progress quickly here. It takes time for both of them to sympathize or even try to understand the other’s point of view. While I would have liked a little more to the romance, I do think that it progressed in a realistic manner. Had the romance progressed different, I think it would have read like a capitulation on the part of the authors to what’s expected in the YA genre. On the surface This Shattered World looks like a fluffy romance, instead, once you start reading, you’re in for a much more complex read.
This Shattered World was a great installment in the Starbound trilogy. The conflict with Terra Dynamics is not resolved as of yet, and I’m eager to learn how that will play out in the final book. Too bad I have a year’s wait ahead of me…
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
If you liked the enemies-to-lovers theme in This Shattered World, you might also enjoy Anne Osterlund’s Academy 7. This one is not as action packed as This Shattered World, but I think the character dynamic will appeal despite the softer story.
I was very intrigued by the fact that Avon was terraformed. It’s a man-made world created to sustain human life. Sara Creasey’s Scarabaeus duology is great read if you were also interested in that concept. The idea of creating an entire world is explored more fully in Scarabaeus, and it also has some of the same themes as This Shattered World. Start with book one, Song of Scarabaeus.
Lastly, I’ll also include one of my favourite space-set sci-fi for teens, Tin Star. This book was fantastic, and I think it’s one that will appeal to fans who were happy to see the romance toned down in This Shattered World. See my full, gushing review here.