“This Shattered World” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
5 out of 5 stars.
Captain Jubilee Chase is a legend among the soldiers stationed on Avon. She’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s the only soldier on Avon who seems to be unaffected by the Fury. The mysterious illness called the Fury can make an angel commit murder, and so the soldiers on Avon are watched carefully and if they show any signs of being under its influence, they are reassigned to another planet before they can do anything terrible. Being a captain on Avon with soldiers succumbing to the Fury every day means that Jubilee has to keep her ears and eyes out for anything out of the ordinary. So when a charming cadet with an ill-fitting uniform comes into a bar, Jubilee reads all the signs. Something’s not quite right with him, and Jubilee Chase couldn’t be more right. Only minutes after the cadet enters the bar, Jubilee becomes his prisoner.
Flynn Cormac is different from his fellow rebels. He’d rather talk and try to resolve a problem peaceably than pick up a gun, and he’s driven by duty to the Fianna rather than blind rage. All Flynn really wants is for Avon to become a real home for the Fianna and the other residents of the planet, and for it to become a place where all kinds of life can grow and flourish, same as the other terraformed planets. But now that his home is so close to being found by the soldiers stationed on Avon, he has to figure out a way to save everyone who has put their trust in him, and to do that he needs information. Jubilee wasn’t the target, but she of all the captains would know something about the large military base that materialized out of thin-air.
More is going on in Avon than meets the eye, and the longer Jubilee and Flynn are together, the more secrets they uncover, secrets that were meant to stay buried. Can they, a soldier and a rebel, work together to uncover the truth behind Avon’s deadly environment, or will they both end up buried alongside their planet’s secrets?
This book was SO different from “These Broken Stars.” In the first book, I got to experience a sweeping and elegant love story on a planet that was mysterious, yet eerily beautiful. Tarver and Lilac were the only two living souls on that planet and the story was driven by just them, which created a small world that I wanted to live in forever. “This Shattered World,” however, took place on a planet that was shrouded in clouds and there was murky water almost everywhere; the whole planet was practically a bog. Another thing that made this book distinct from the first one was that Flynn and Jubilee were not the only people on the planet, so the focus and tone of this book was very different from “These Broken Stars.” The feeling of “This Shattered World” was gritty, rough, and almost oppressive whereas the first book had a couple of “spooky” moments and the rest of it was more intriguing instead of being heavy. The best way to describe the differences between these two books is that they belong to the same galaxy, but they are on opposite sides of the universe. Both are amazingly complex books that Amie and Meagan wrote, but they are also unique.
The more I think about this book, the more I like it. “This Shattered World” is the plot-builder of this trilogy, and it’s all about exploring and understanding what’s wrong in the “Starbound” world with a little romance sprinkled in here and there.
It did not fall prey to the Second Book Syndrome because nothing in this book was just filler to distract you until the final book comes out; everything in this book was meant to create a more vivid and fleshed-out world. “This Shattered World” helped to explain the odd happenings on certain planets in the “Starbound” universe, and it also elaborated on Lilac’s and Tarver’s story. It was full-bodied and interesting, and the longer I read, the more I grew to love this story and the characters in it. Speaking of which…
It took me some time to warm up to Jubilee Chase. She was a bit more extreme and intense, so it took me a while to get used to her and understand the details of her past. Once I got to know her, though, I started to really like her character. She was strong and brave, but not completely and unrealistically fearless. I thought that her restraint in her jobs and the responsibility she felt towards her soldiers and the people of Avon was so admirable, and I also really liked how she evolved as a character without becoming unrecognizable. By the end of “This Shattered World,” I felt like I had made a new friend in Jubilee Chase!
Another thing that I admire Amie and Meagan for was the way they wrote Jubilee during some of the more romantic scenes in this book. You could feel the sizzle and tension between her and Flynn, but Jubilee was smart and realized that as much as she wanted to give into the moment, that neither she nor Flynn had the time. They were fighting a war and that was their priority. I hate it when authors write a world that is crumbling beneath their hero’s and heroine’s feet, yet they find time to “cuddle” and “canoodle.” Personally I’d say, “Ain’t nobody got no time for that,” and attempt to survive the zombie apocalypse! Thank you, Amie and Meagan, for writing a beautiful, realistic romance between two characters that just made me happy with how wonderful it was!
Flynn Cormac was also a very complex character, and I really admire Amie and Meagan writing him the way they did. Flynn’s a rebel, but not in the traditional sense. When I hear the world rebel, I think of people being violent and cruel to innocent bystanders as well as the guilty; people get caught in the crossfire, and a lot of leaders (rebels or not) look at those people as necessary casualties. What I really liked about Flynn was that he cared deeply for the innocents on both sides, and he wanted desperately to stop them from being hurt. During the book, Flynn never let that piece of who he was die, even if it would have been easier, and that was extremely noble. He was a brave, charming, and smart hero that I really enjoyed and grew to love by the end of “This Shattered World.”
Again, I so admire Amie and Meagan for writing such vivid and rich scenes between characters; those short snippets, and brief moments where different characters interact all add up to create real people. I felt like Flynn and Jubilee were real people by the end of “This Shattered World” and that I knew them really well, and after I finished the book I felt a little lonesome because it seemed like two of my friends went away. P.S. The scenes between Flynn and Jubilee were SO good. They were beautiful and they made me like Flynn and Jubilee all the more!
Beware that the last hundred pages of “This Shattered World” will have you on the edge of your seat, and some crazy crap happens!
Overall, this was SUCH a beautiful second book, and I think that I liked it just tiny bit more than “These Broken Stars” based on the fact that the world Amie and Meagan built in this book was so rich and complex, and also because of how they decided to end it. “This Shattered World” had a “heavier” feeling to it than the first book, but what I loved was how Amie and Meagan tempered those darker tones by lacing this book with really hopeful notes that sung out loud and clear. I thought that it was a beautiful and compelling touch which added so much depth to this book! I am looking forward to what these two mad-genus authors have in store for my beloved characters in the third and final book of the “Starbound” trilogy.
Merry Christmas and Clear Skies, everyone!