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Mykki Reviews This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner


Blurb:

"Captain Jubilee Chase and rebel fighter Flynn Cormac are on opposite sides of a ceasefire on the half terraformed planet of Avon. The inhabitants of Avon living in the lifeless swamps just want access to food and medicine - and to be recognized as a planet. The military installment protecting the terraforming company just wants to avoid any more of their soldiers from getting the Fury and going on violent killing sprees.

Chase and Flynn are about to uncover the galactic conspiracy keeping Avon under the cover of fog - and what that fog's hiding out there in the swamps. And along the way, they may discover that they aren't so different from each other after all."


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Dollar Tree books rarely thrill me as much as this one did - the second installment of the Starbound trilogy picks up after the first book, These Broken Stars, which I have not read - and this time we're down on the murky, swamp planet of Avon.

So let's dive right in. Beware of spoilers!



The Good

First things first, can I just say how much I loved the character of Jubilee Chase. She's 18 years old, bi-racial, and the captain of her own platoon down on Avon. This girl could probably disarm a team of rebels in her sleep if she wanted to. But she's also deeply flawed, playing at being stone-faced and emotionless while her true self (and kilos of childhood rage) simmers just below the surface.

We see snippets of her childhood and past through short and suspenseful "dream segments", though Jubilee seems to have no recollection of them and claims she hasn't dreamed since her parents died. The mystery behind that is revealed in the last few pages of the book...

While I'm not a big fan of Flynn Cormac, it is nice for a change to see the male lead doing all the poetic waxing about liking a girl that's just bad for him. This guy has a lot of demons of his own to contend with and so it's really fascinating to watch him go back and forth on his feelings regarding Jubilee.

While this is definitely a romance, both the main characters are level-headed and responsible about their priorities - never throwing away safety and sense for a quick romp during a private moment. I rather appreciated that.

The Bad 

Flynn Cormac.

I didn't find anything objectively bad about his character - he's a rebel seeking peace for his people, preferring compromise over guerrilla warfare - but he was just kind of boring to me. Some of the choices he makes throughout the book are painful for him and we seem him grappling a lot with his own status as a traitor - especially since his world and family are so important to him.

But that ends up being the extent of his characterization. What you see is what you get with Flynn Cormac. A pacifist rebel who feels dirty because of his feelings for the hard-ass soldier girl.

 There was also a lack of detail surrounding the terraforming corporation, TerraDyne, that the soldiers on Avon are supposedly contracted with. It's an entirely different shady organization that ends up being responsible for the goings-on around Avon, but I wanted to know more about TerraDyne and what they actually do on planets.

Though, I guess if I was more invested in TerraDyne, I'd also be more upset about that absolute lax security around the "town" and military base  - you got rebels ripping up holes in fences and just meandering around unimpeded and low-grade tech that just doesn't play nice with the fog and swamps. Then there's the Fury, so you can't even count on experienced personnel to pick up the slack!

The Ugly

Every. Single. One. Of. My. Favorite. Side. Characters. Died.

One or two of them, okay fine. It fuels the fire of the main characters and grief serves to humanize them a bit more. But when every single side character that I got attached to went up in flames (literally) just to make Jubilee freak out, that was enough for me.

Come to think of it, there was a remarkable amount of violence and bloodshed in this book. Characters died off in horrible and gruesome ways. In fact, there was more mention of blown out skulls than kiss scenes in this book.

(Spoiler alert: There are two kiss scenes and at least four people get their head's blown off.)

This Shattered World also ended up being much less of a space opera and a lot more of "let's trudge through the swamp between your base and mine a million times while trying not to get caught" than I was anticipating.


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Overall, I really enjoyed this read - most of the characters were nuanced and complex enough that they didn't come across as one-dimensional and the plot thickened and twisted nicely near the end before wrapping up in anticipation of the next book and the next round of lovebirds.

If you enjoy a soft Sci Fi novel with realistic characters, plenty of suspense and action, and a little bit of romantic angst, give This Shattered World a try. I'm glad I did.

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