There will always be a special place in my nerdy little heart for Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, because these authors are the reason I started reading YA science fiction and came to love it. I was very vocal about the fact that one of my favorite books of 2014 (of all time?) was their first novel, These Broken Stars. That book made me appreciate scifi as a genre I had never considered before, and fall for stories set in the stars. At the end of December 2014, Amie and Meagan published the second book in their Starbound Trilogy: This Shattered World.
Set on the swampy planet Avon, This Shattered World follows Captain Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac - two people on opposing sides of the Avon conflict. Lee Chase is a soldier through and through, but when she's kidnapped by Flynn, one of the rebel leaders, everything they both know about themselves and Avon changes.
I often worry that the second book in a trilogy/series won't quite stack up to the first. Amie and Meagan, however, have constructed a trilogy that avoids any such pitfalls, largely because they're telling three different stories within a larger overall narrative. Also because these authors are amazingly talented, just FYI. While my beloved Lilac and Tarver make brief appearances, This Shattered World is focused solely on Jubilee and Flynn. And what a duo they make! Both so quick-witted and strong leaders, seeing them clash and then ultimately come together marks a great progression for both characters. I really enjoyed having the female character feel like the main focus in this book. The chapters switch perspectives, but much like These Broken Stars felt more Tarver-centric, This Shattered World felt Jubilee-centric. At least in my opinion. Stone Face Chase, who's been on Avon longer than any other soldier and doesn't dream, was my favorite character (shocker). I personally felt like I could identify with Jubilee - she's was more badass, but having to always be strong to be taken seriously, doubting your personal but never professional choices - that resonated with me.
Flynn is such a brilliant foil to Jubilee. That smirk, swoon! The pacifist leader of Avon rebels, Flynn is a passionate character. He wants a better life for his people, and to discover the secret about what's really happening to his home. He gets caught up between his people and the military, and it's up to Flynn and Jubilee to find the truth before Avon is torn apart.
This Shattered World was a markedly different book from These Broken Stars, and it adds so richly to this larger story. We're shown a different part of the galaxy and different players, but the connections fall into place in such a way that establishes such a wealth of potential for the third installment. I really enjoyed This Shattered World - Jubilee and Flynn made it for me, if I'm honest. The Irish parts of the Fianna identity provided such wonderful world building details. Am I guilty of comparing These Broken Stars to This Shattered World? Yes. But I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading this book completely on its own merits, and for what it contributes to the bigger picture.
Amie and Meagan recently announced the title and release date of book three - Their Fractured Night, out December 29, 2015! The also revealed a brief glimpse into what's to come on Corinth. Check it out on Meagan's blog HERE! Needless to say, I am beyond excited for the final installment! Preparing to swoon throughout a book that features Tarver, Flynn, and new character Gideon. Be still my heart. Not to mention my favorite kick ass ladies - let's be real, the actual reason stuff gets done.
SPOILERS BELOW!!!! (and fangirlish flailing)
- When Jubilee and Flynn are in the space shuttle, and realize that there's enough provisions to last them years. They could just...fly away, start a new life together. And that moment where they're both considering it, and then have to stop dreaming and return to Avon. Ouch.
- JUBILEE'S NOVEMBER GHOST AKA THE LOVELY WHISPER. Is it weird that I almost ship it? Who am I kidding, judge all you want that love was TRUE. I had tears in my eyes throughout that entire scene. "You're the most important thing in this universe" (356). "I was afraid...of dying alone...of dying without meeting you" (360). OH GOD WHY.
And finally, I leave you with this parting blow:
"Are you in love with this vess - this person?"
"I - I don't know...But I wanted the chance to find out."
DON'T TOUCH ME.