I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound #2
Published by Hyperion on December 23rd, 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Book Expo America
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.
Though the hype sort of kept me from full-fledged fangirling over These Broken Stars, I definitely still enjoyed that book immensely. Unfortunately, This Shattered World did not exactly live up to its predecessor. Though the sci-fi aspects were still pretty cool, the characters just didn’t charm me.
This Shattered World takes place in the same universe as These Broken Stars a few months later, on a new planet called Avon. Avon is in the process of terraforming (a sci-fi concept I still completely love) but it seems to be stuck in the developing stages. The main characters this time around are Jubilee (AKA Lee), a soldier who is charged with keeping the planet safe and peaceful, and Flynn, the leader of the rebellion – native inhabitants who want independence. The two sides are currently at a rocky ceasefire, but the conflict goes deep – and so we have a star-crossed lovers situation.
That’s ultimately my biggest problem here: the romance was too obvious, cliché, and prevalent for me. Considering the fact that there is an actual war going on, I got annoyed by Jubilee and Flynn’s preoccupations with each other. And while it’s not instalove, the second they meet, you just know they’re going to be endgame. And while the road is not easy and definitely rocky, it was still too obvious for me. I just didn’t care. It didn’t really have a spark or intense chemistry to me – not enough to warrant their infatuation in the midst of all that fighting and the mystery of what’s going on on the planet. If they had just been enemies who became unlikely friends and allies, that would have worked better for me. The jump to romance just reeked of Romeo & Juliet level sap. I’m not saying it’s terrible – but it definitely did not get me to ship it. I don’t hate it either – I just don’t care.
Part of my indifference also stems from the fact that I didn’t particularly like either of them as characters either. Jubilee was doing all right as a strong, independent fighter, but then that romance thing came along… I was also so confused about her dream-like passages in between chapters. I mean, it plays a role in the story, but it just confused me more than anything. I ended up skimming over those passages after a while because they were so nonsensical (and sappy about Flynn). Flynn was just… too good for me. I know I’m supposed to be charmed by his honor and desire to find peace and everything, but he just became kind of boring to me. And the biggest problem is that Jubilee and Flynn’s chapters read largely the same. The only real reason you’re able to tell them apart is because they so often think of the other. I kind of felt that way about These Broken Stars with Lilac and Tarver’s voices as well, but here it’s even more of an issue, which worries me a bit about this writing partnership.
But the book wins points on its world building and plot. I really like the universe that Kaufman and Spooner have built: the terraforming planet, the Fury that infects the soldiers with murderous rage, the mystery of the vanishing island, the continuing threat of LaRoux Industries… it kept me on my toes and interested to find out more. There are some more eyebrow raising things though – like the bizarre strong influence of the Irish on Avon. This is HUNDREDS of years in the future – no matter what Earth is like right now, I’m pretty sure these people, who have been on Avon for generations, would not feel so …Irish. The plot is also really convenient and simplistic at times, like when View Spoiler »Flynn is going to make a galaxy-wide broadcast, and he somehow knows exactly which buttons to push to do that based on a memory of his mother doing it in front of him as a tiny little kid. In any case, what was his mother doing making galaxy-wide broadcasts? How does any of this makes sense? « Hide Spoiler The execution of the story is all still told in a rather exciting and intriguing way, but it loses some logic points here and there. View Spoiler »I will never get over how ridiculous it was for Jubilee to seriously say to the whispers that she’ll help them wipe out the galaxy so long as they don’t kill Flynn right then and there. No. That they’ll save you two for last is definitely worth killing humanity. « Hide Spoiler
I was, however, really thrilled that Lilac and Tarver both make appearances in this book with meaningful roles. I remembered how much I did like them in These Broken Stars and they’re so cute together! It pretty much makes me wish the series would just have continued with them though, because they’re so much more interesting than Jubilee and Flynn.