Their Fractured Light (Starbound #03) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner Review

TFLBlurb:

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. (via Goodreads)

 

 The Starbound Series kept surprising me with just how amazing it was. These Broken Stars was simply spellbinding and then I read This Shattered World and I was blown away because Kaufman and Spooner outdid themselves. Now with Their Fractured Light, they raised the bar even higher and still managed to leave me at a complete loss for words. With every consecutive book, they kept raising their game as well as the stakes leading to a conclusion that could not have been better written.

Every time I think of writing about just how much I loved this book and this series, I feel like anything I say would fall grievously short of conveying just how much I loved the series and enjoyed myself.

Usually, in a series, you have multiple books to really get to know and care about the characters. Not so here, each of the books in The Starbound Trilogy focused on a different couple though the characters from previous books would eventually appear in the next novel. Considering that each of the three main couples had just one book to themselves, the fact they are so well conceived is truly remarkable. What is even more remarkable is that through the course of the trilogy, we really come to love and care for these characters. They are all precious and we want to shield them from all the pain and heartbreak headed their way.

 The Starbound Trilogy is truly set in a galaxy far far away on distant planets connected only through the Hyperspace. The three books take place on three separate planets, and they are very different from each other. Their Fractured Light takes place on Corinth. Unlike the previous planets, Corinth is fully developed and industrialized. The world building in this series is truly remarkable. All of the three worlds are so distinct from each other and yet so rich in detail. They are so intricate that it was easy to get lost in these strange and distant worlds. Corinth, in comparison, was a little easier to imagine and in many ways, it was like a lot of current metropolises. And yet, still so alien.

 Kaufman and Spooner’s writing style is also very visual so it was also easy to see what these worlds looked like while reading the books. Which added to the feeling of really inhabiting these worlds. As with the two previous books, Their Fractured Light moved at fever pitch and one couldn’t help but lose themselves in the pages. The story and the characters are so compelling that it was close to impossible to put the book down. There was also a sense of impending doom that was almost palpable throughout the book. With this final book, this journey has finally come to an end and that was a bittersweet moment. I am thrilled with the way the series concluded but sad that this is it for these characters.

Another highlights of the series are the characters. Starting with Tarver and Lilac and then with Jubilee and Flynn, I thought that those set up a very tough act to follow, but I should have known that Kaufman and Spooner would surprise us yet again with amazing characters. Sofia Quinn and Gideon Marchant were every bit as spectacular as those who came before them. They were emotionally complex with motives that were hard to pin down. While their paths crossed very early in the book and it was clear that they shared a bond, it did not mean that they both didn’t have unresolved issues. They both had a goal and for the longest time, they were working at cross-purposes. It took a long time for them to get to a point where they actually trusted themselves and each other. They were also so well written that, as readers, you shared in their happiness, their inner conflicts, their despair and their hope.

What I also loved was how different and distinct their narratives were. The chapters could have been left unmarked and we would still have known who’s point-of-view we were reading. They had such distinct voices. It is also worth noting that the male protagonists seem to be more emotional while the female protagonists are more practical, more willing to make the tough calls. This has been a common thread among even the previous couples.

Then there Roderick LaRoux, the main antagonist and it would have been so easy to paint him a monster, someone with no conscience. But even he was humanised in the end. We learn what set him off on his destructive path. And like our protagonists, he too was convinced that what he was doing was for the greater good. But in his quest for that, he lost his own humanity.

The Whispers were an excellent construct and with every subsequent novel, we learnt a little bit more about them. To the extent that in the final book, they were pretty much on par with the main couple. We finally understand what they are and just how they came to be imprisoned by LaRoux.

It is easy to set up a trilogy well; I’ve come across numerous series that do this very well. But is very hard to conclude that series in a way that feels organic and fitting. Their Fractured Light could not have been a better conclusion to a series I fell utterly in love with. Characters from both of the previous books appeared and they were participants in the final outcome, not merely spectators. Their involvement affected the outcome just as Sophie and Gideon’s did. It made me so happy to have them come back and to see that they hadn’t been diminished in any way to make the main couple stand out. While, there was a lot of death and destruction over the course of the trilogy, the final book ends on a note of optimism and looking to a future that is vastly different from what anyone could have imagined.

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