April 18, 2016

Review: This Shattered World

This Shattered World This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the sequel, of sorts, to These Broken Stars, to which I gave a five-star review a couple of years ago. I say "of sorts" because while this book continues the overall story, and the protagonists from the first book make cameo appearances, this book introduces two brand-new characters. Jubilee Chase is a bad-ass soldier and Flynn Cormac is an idealistic rebel, and they come together on Avon, a planet in the midst of terraforming (the swamp that covers the inhabited section is almost a third protagonist in its own right) and shrouded in clouds and mystery.

This book is a lot darker and grittier than the first, with the alternating points of view of Jubilee and Flynn exploring the rebellion, the politics behind it, and the attempts to tamp it down. The complication to all this is the so-called Fury, the mental illness that sooner or later infects almost every soldier stationed on Avon, causing them to snap and kill anyone nearby. I say "almost" because it soon becomes clear that Jubilee is immune to the Fury. The reasons why are a major plot point, reaching back ten years to a similar rebellion on her birth planet of Verona, where her parents were killed.

As in the first book, the characterizations are excellent. There is a considerably larger cast in this book as opposed to the first, which focused almost entirely on the starcrossed love story of Lilac and Tarver. This frees the authors to further develop their world, to the book's benefit. The book starts with a bang, with Jubilee's kidnapping by Flynn, and never really lets up. The pacing is masterful, with well-chosen, quieter moments of character development.

Jubilee and Flynn's story is brought to a satisfying conclusion in this book, but the storyline remains up in the air: will Roderick LaRoux, the master manipulator behind the scenes in both the first book and this one, finally get his comeuppance? This, presumably, waits for the third book, which is upcoming on my list. I hope I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the first two.

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