The Book Itself: I like the space-y background! I’m just not always a fan of the use of pretty models to sell YA books. Kind of forces you to imagine the characters this way, when this is not how I would choose to see them. I think the cover would be awesome were it just the watercolor stained space landscape.
My Review: 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.
Ah, the sequel. I said just a few weeks ago that Golden Son (review here) was one of the best sequels in a series that I’d read. And if you remember, I looooved this series’ first book, These Broken Stars (review here). Unfortunately, This Shattered World did not fare so well.
Give me a moment to gripe about a character name. Jubilee. Jubilee. The fact that she’s just sixteen and somehow deemed mature enough to be a captain in a branch of the military in this fictional world (which she proves she’s not…she falls in love with a fugitive, after all…), but that name is 1: annoying. Any time Flynn says her name in a bout of wistfullness or luuurve, I cringe. Just say it out loud. JUBILEE. Ick. and 2: is inappropriate? Is that the word I want? The definition of the word jubilee is “a special anniversary of an event, especially one celebrating twenty-five or fifty years of a reign or activity” (thank you Dictionary.com). So…why is that her name? Why can’t she have a regular name, what is the point of naming her after a celebration, when nowhere in the book is the tone one of celebration?
Okay, sorry. The name really distracted me at times. So…Jubilee, who I will refuse to call that, and will from now on call “Lee,” meets Flynn at a bar where actually much of the story takes place. They flirt, he turns out to be in disguise (although later he needs to change his entire appearance – skin tone AND hair color, in order to walk onto the base…so how did he just walk on before in a soldier’s uniform? Does he or does he not need to look completely different to go unrecognized?), he takes her hostage and takes her back to the rebel base, deep in this swampy marshland supposedly difficult for the soldiers on the base to navigate (although at several points in the book, they make it to key places just fine…). There’s a rebel who is trying to usurp Flynn and use violence to solve the problems between them and the soldiers. Underneath all this, a sickness of a sort called the Fury tends to take over only the soldiers, and not the rebels. It takes over their mind and causes them to kill anyone around them, regardless of them being allies or enemies. Victims of the Fury are simply shipped off the base for a desk job. Everyone stationed at Avon (the swamp planet we find our story on) eventually succumbs to the Fury. The goal? Find out what the Fury is, and why Flynn seems to think an entire base slips in and out of existence on some faraway island.
It’s a meandering story path. Characters die, Lilac and Tarver (why do the girls in this series get stupid names?!) from the first book play a big role, but honestly, it feels a little like the same story as its first installment.
I don’t want to spoil things. But what originally seemed like a completely separate story turns out to merely be a lackluster continuation. Lilac and Tarver play a bigger role, it seems, than Lee and Flynn. The same powers are at play, similar culprits, similar stakes. I wished it would be more unique than this.
This book is also more romance than action/sci-fi in tone. There are a lot of sweeping declarations, a lot of aching to touch each other, conflicted feelings because of the opposite sides of the battle they supposedly fight. And yet….not a lot of romance truly happens. They make out a couple of times. But even at the end of the book, there’s no conclusion with them. Are they in luuurve? Lee is so standoffish throughout the whole book (because of that whole being a teenage officer thing), that you don’t even know if she wants to be with him! It’s all sexual tension and teenage hormones, and nothing really real. In These Broken Stars, at least the teenage characters had to grow up fast because of that whole stranded-on-a-deserted-planet thing. They seemed more mature, even though they were roughly the same age.
Overall, it’s unsatisfactory, as sequels go. Unfortunately, if you want to read the whole series, you’ll need to read this one to make sense of the events. But this one really feels like it’s merely a bridge to the final chapter. Maybe the last one will go back to Lilac and Tarver. They seemed to have just as much, if not more spark than the main characters in this one.
My Grade: C