Published: November 19th 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 394 pages
Genres: Science Fiction
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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.
Everything we loved in These Broken Stars, the YA science fiction novel that has taken the genre by storm, is present in full force in This Shattered World. This sequel is amazing, and I am again left in awe at the world and characters that Kaufman and Spooner have created.
There’s a new world to discover, new characters to get to know, a new romance blossoming in the unlikeliest of places, but This Shattered World has the same meticulous plotting and attention to detail that made These Broken Stars so amazing. It’s stylistically similar: told in alternating point of view and broken up by flashbacks and dreams (in These Broken Stars it was excerpts from Tarver’s debriefing interview). The authors bring the world to life with their vivid descriptions, and I love the snappy dialogue between Flynn and Lee. I also love that the science in this book is correct and plausible, enhancing the story without bogging it down. There are many similarities between the two stories, but the things that make this sequel great are the ways it diverges from its predecessor.
These Broken Stars was about two people who thought they had little in common, who were stranded on a deserted planet together. This Shattered World is again about two very different people, but this time they are on opposite sides of a hard-won ceasefire on the planet Avon. Even the smallest spark of violence could ignite the simmering tensions and throw the planet into a full-fledged war. I love both books, but I think This Shattered World, which is more thrilling and has more danger and explosions, is more my speed. While romance is still a key aspect of this book, it certainly is less of a concern to these protagonists than it was to Lilac and Tarver (and this is not a criticism of either story).
The world-building is (again) exquisite. Avon’s terra-forming has been very slow, meaning that the locals haven’t had the opportunities to advance like they should have. They have no representation at the Galactic level and are basically treated like a back-water planet with no future. The slow terra-forming means that Avon is constantly covered in clouds (so GPS and other such technologies don’t work), and the area around the army base is still swampy and not suitable for sustained growth of the community. The rebels hide in the swamps where the army can’t find them, but there’s something else hiding in the unchartered waters: a secret that LaRoux Industries would kill to cover-up. A secret that Flynn has already uncovered.
Captain Jubilee ‘Lee’ Chase was sent to a young colony on Avon to be part of the military effort that keeps the locals in check in trying to discourage rebellions like those on other planets. She’s called Stone-Cold-Chase by those around her (but never in her hearing). I love how she’s quick on her feet and exceptionally daring – she’ll do anything to protect those around her. Lee’s not cold or unfeeling: horrible things happened to her when she was younger and they understandably colour her thoughts and actions. One of my favourite things about her is that she doesn’t stick to her ignorant views about the local people on Avon: once she meets Flynn she quickly begins to see that everything isn’t as black-and-white as she’s been led to believe.
Flynn is nothing like Lee in reputation: although his sister was an infamous rebel who always spoke about fighting for freedom, Flynn wants to preserve the ceasefire in place and give his floundering community a chance to live and prosper. He’s the resident pacifist of the rebel group, but also a respected leader because of his sister’s reputation. But he’s still a bad-ass, and he and Lee compliment each other well.
Their romance is sweet and slow and inevitable, marred by the threat of their small communities going to war and unravelling the tenuous peace between them. There are some incredibly sweet, heart-melting moments, but mostly these two are focussed on preventing violence, and uncovering and exposing the horrible things that happen there because of LaRoux Industries.
Which brings me to another awesome thing – there are small cameos by Lilac and Tarver. Absolutely epic.
This Shattered World is a perfect follow-up to These Broken Stars, and I don’t think that fans of the latter will be disappointed in the sequel. It has progressed the series arc while introducing us to a new world and new characters, and has set us up for a great final confrontation (which will happen on Corinth). Fans of YA science fiction will devour this series, and if you aren’t already reading it, then I strongly urge you to pick up These Broken Stars and give it a go. I’ll be very surprised if Lilac and Tarver don’t make an impression on you. I’ll just be sitting here waiting for the next one.