Wow!! I just finished reading This Shattered World and I am still reeling. This just blew me away! I was absolutely spellbound by this. And I might have liked this a teeny tiny bit more than These Broken Stars (but just a little bit) This might easily one of the best books I’ve read all year.
This time, we are on the planet of Avon and things are not going well. The planet is not developing as it should be and nobody can figure out why. There is a tenuous peace between the local population and the soldiers, stationed there to maintain peace. But there is something more sinister at work here, something called the Fury that drives normally peaceful people to suddenly turn into violent maniacs with no provocation. Amidst all of this are Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac, one a soldier, the other a rebel who find themselves becoming each other’s unwilling allies.
This Shattered World is a long book and there were times when I wondered what more could there be that these two characters hadn’t undergone already. Turns out, plenty. The world building was superb. The planet of Avon was in the relatively early stages of terraforming so there weren’t a lot of plants and no animals but the planet itself with its weather and the never-ending fog was very realistic. I found myself on this strange planet right along with the main protagonists. The mystery also unfolds slowly and you learn a little more as the story progresses and that is what makes the discovery even more chilling. There were times when I thought I could get guess what would happen but I was constantly proven wrong, right up until the very end. Another aspect that I liked about Shattered World was that Kaufman and Spooner didn’t paint either side as good or evil, both sides had their fair share of sensible and hot heads. But the strongest aspects of this book (arguably even this series) were the characters. They were what made the book even more enjoyable because I was so invested in them. I was terrified for them and judging by the previous book, I had a feeling that their journey wouldn’t exactly be a walk in the park. I loved these characters, even some of the minor ones.
Jubilee Chase (Lee) is one of the main protagonists and she is a captain in the armed forces stationed on the planet. She has a reputation of being ruthless, fearless and incredibly efficient. She is also someone who cares about those under her command. When we start the book, she is just a soldier, very secure in her identity and also the conviction that she is doing the right thing, saving lives and maintaining the peace. But all of that is challenged when she meets Flynn, a rebel. I love Lee because of how practical and no-nonsense she is. And the fact that she really is ruthless, in that she does what needs to be done. She is also an excellent soldier. She was always more lethal than the male characters and I loved that about her. She was an amazing character and easily one of the best female characters that I’ve read recently.
Flynn in contrast, in a lot of ways, was the antithesis of what Lee was. He was easily the more patient of the two and less bloodthirsty. From the very beginning, he was trying to come up with ways in which he could avoid the bloodshed and make the ceasefire more permanent. He was not afraid of making difficult choices, even when they cost him his home and his people. He was kind and could be incredibly sweet. Before Lee, he too thinks that all soldiers are bloodthirsty and is constantly challenged by this girl who’s not afraid of him and his people in the least. But he was also quick to adapt to his rapidly changing worldview. He recognises that in Lee he has a rare ally who can really help him realise his dream, that of peace on Avon.
I also loved the growth of their relationship. In the beginning, Flynn actually kidnaps Lee, so obviously she was feeling less than charitable towards him and he too, didn’t trust her. At that point, all she is, is a source of information and if not that then a bargaining chip. But he soon realises that she won’t talk and the military won’t make a deal with the rebels and the two suddenly find themselves making choices that at the time, neither can make sense of. In so many books, there is instant romance (which I find very unrealistic considering that they couldn’t even stand each other two chapters ago) Lee and Flynn are bound together through their shared experiences, experiences that they can’t share with anyone else. I also loved that Lee was the more practical of the two and Flynn the dreamer. They perfectly complimented each other. I loved their romance even more because of how slowly it grew; it felt more real and relatable.
There were a bunch of secondary characters this time around. Molly was certainly one of my favourites. He was protective of Lee even when it was perfectly clear that she was more than capable of taking care of herself. He genuinely cared for her. There were a host of others, those like Sofia, Commander Towers and Sean who were also notable. Even one of the chief antagonists, McBride, wasn’t simply an evil villain but someone to whom; a life devoid of war/violence just didn’t make sense.
I was absurdly happy to see Lilac and Tarver, my only complaint was that they were hardly there. But of course, I also realise that this isn’t their story. But both are instrumental in the discovery that Lee and Flynn make. I loved Lilac and Tarver as well..
This Shattered World along with These Broken Stars are books that make me want to revisit their worlds. I have only just finished the former and already I feel like I am being beckoned back to this strange universe. I can’t wait to see what adventures Kaufman and Spooner have in store for us and if these books are any indication, then I am sure that they will be absolutely awesome!