Published: December 1st 2015 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Genres: Science Fiction
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A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.
Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.
Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.
When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.
I don’t know what to do with myself right now. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that the Starbound series is over. These Broken Stars had a huge impact on me – I loved it from the first page and the sequel was more glorious than I’d ever expected. So of course, I approached Their Fractured Light with extreme wariness. I hate saying goodbye to things I love.
As usual, it is the characters that really MAKE this book for me. Sofia Quinn is … ugh … I just wanted to hug her! She’s an amazing con artist, someone who reads people as I read books, and she’s tough, unflinchingly brave, and (unsurprisingly) broken. And with her, from the very first chapter, is Gideon Marchant, who stole my heart the moment he winked at Sofia from across the room (yes, I am weak!). He’s a hacker – the best of the best – who’s only comfortable when surrounded by his consoles and gadgets, but charming and snarky with Sofia. I loved them both. They don’t initially have a way to communicate because they’re so different and play off one another brilliantly. But it turns out, they’re more similar than they realise.
The Starbound series has always been heavily focussed on the romance, and I found the push-pull nature of Sofia and Gideon’s attraction fascinating. The other leading duos occupied a heroic space but these two are less so, untrustworthy and untrusting criminals with dark secrets in their pasts. I felt for the other couples, and loved the other couples, but Sofia and Gideon’s journey to trust was spellbinding. I loved every moment of it.
Anyway, I really must move on from the awesome hacker and his con-artist girlfriend.
The plot! I loved it. It was complicated and intricate, but unfolded in a beautifully elegant way. The story arcs of the other protagonists collided with Sofia and Gideon’s in the finale, and I enjoyed getting to see the other four from an outsider’s point of view. Additionally, the interference of the whispers meant that there are several layers of connection between all of the characters, which elevated my enjoyment of the story. They all had history, some good, some bad, all of it complicated. It made for an interesting journey as they tried to take LaRoux down together.
The mystery of the whispers comes to the forefront in this novel. As with the other books, Their Fractured Light is told in alternating points of view, but this time, Sofia and Gideon’s chapters were interleaved with fragments of thoughts – memories? – from the whispers themselves. They were an extra point of view, a extra character or set of characters, and the snippets helped to unravel the mystery behind hyperspace and the LaRoux experiments. I think all three sets of stories have been presented very cleverly; it’s obvious a lot of thought has gone into how and when readers will be exposed to information. Everything comes around full circle in a heartbreakingly perfect way.
I am a huge fan of this world, and of the six brilliant individuals who helped save it. I have enjoyed every page, every moment, of my journey in the Starbound world and am sad to see it go. But Kaufman and Spooner promise that this is not the end of their joint ventures but only the beginning, so I’ll be eagerly awaiting any and all future collaborations between these two talented authors.