Saturday, January 3, 2015

"This Shattered World" by Aime Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

The first part of this review is spoiler free, spoilers after the jump, however, this does contain spoilers for "These Broken Stars". 

I was literally so excited about receiving this book in the mail that I opened it and started reading it while it was still technically in the box. This is a companion to the "These Broken Stars" which came out in December of 2013--and I loved. "These Broken Stars" was probably one of my favorite books of 2013, and is the most beautiful cover for any book I own.

One way that "This Shattered World" (henceforth known as TSW) did not disappoint was the cover--it is gorgeous, the orange and pink are perfect, and once you begin reading the book, the fogginess definitely matches the planet of Avon where the story takes place.

Unfortunately, the gorgeous cover was the only way this was on the same level as "These Broken Stars" (TBS). One of the reasons I think I struggled with this book was because of the fact that upon starting the book, I learned that there was a novella meant to be a "bridge" between the two books, "This Night So Dark". So, after reading the intro to TSW, I paused to go and read the novella that I didn't know about previously. And let me tell you, the novella was an exciting story, I really enjoyed it. I gave it four stars on Goodreads--I'm not going to do a full review of it, because it's too short to merit one, but I will just say that if you like Tarver and Lilac, this is a must read.

However, the novella was in no way connected to TSW, as far as I could tell. I spent the entire book trying to figure out why it was portrayed as a connecting piece. But, I just didn't find one.

Tarver and Lilac were perfection for me because I literally will read and ship anything that starts out with two people hating each other and then falling in love. However, I didn't feel the same emotions for Jubilee and Flynn. I think it might be because I just plain didn't like them. Jubilee was kind of dumb, especially for a "top military officer," and Flynn was naïve beyond words. Yes, I will kidnap this lady and show her this disappearing military facility... And he didn't understand why that came off as insane. He was so "pure" that it was annoying, and made him hard to root for.

I felt a severe disconnect between the romantic elements of the story and the action/conspiracy. The way the characters behaved romantically seemed to be completely unrelated to the characterization we were lead through in terms of their back stories, etc. Jubilee is portrayed as a tough, scarred, and unemotional soldier, but we find out that she had a fling with a fellow soldier, and the way she behaves with Flynn--lacking any logic or intelligence, ruins her character for me.

There is a Tarver and Lilac cameo of sorts, which isn't a spoiler, because it's fairly well-known. But it could have literally been any auxiliary character. There was very little that Tarver and Lilac added to the story. 

The dream sequences, or flashbacks, or whatever they were in between the chapters were also distracting and confusing. I didn't know if they would eventually tie into the story, or if it was something I was already supposed to understand.

However, just like in TBS, Kaufman and Spooner create an intricate and full world and society. I cannot get enough of it. TSW definitely added more layers to that aspect of the books, giving up a deeper perspective into the military and the corporations referenced in TBS. With added characters and every day life that wasn't present in TBS, the Starbound books don't fail to keep me wanting more and more.

Overall, I give "This Shattered World" THREE AND A HALF STARS.
Spoilers after the jump.

Ok, let's get this first spoiler out of the way, but there is literally no way at all that you couldn't have figured out that McBride is the one who killed the rebels in the cavern. I mean, this was a good plot point on the part of Kaufman and Spooner--I 100% agree with this choice in terms of the story. However, it was glaringly obvious, and the inability to a top military officer to figure this out for about five chapters was frustrating.

The fact that this is all a conspiracy was fairly obvious too, because without it there would be no connection to TBS. However, the addition of possession and evil versions of the whispers was an interesting route for the authors to take. I appreciated the depth that these bodiless beings are taking. It truly shows talent on their part to make these ideas of souls or ghosts or whatever a deeper and more meaningful purpose than you would think possible.

While I liked the conspiracy and connection to Laroux Industries, I have to say that I didn't really understand the purpose of the galaxy-wide broadcast. Based on the total control that LI appeared to have, as presented in TBS, I don't see how a crazy rebel, as Flynn would appear, ranting about the corporation saving the planet would help any cause at all. It would essentially be the same as the way people argue against genetically-modified organisms and foods in the United States. Most advocates come across as whack jobs, and are ignored. And the fact that this broadcast was encouraged by Tarver, whose very life is at stake if Monsieur Laroux tires of him, was strange.

Sadly, this book wasn't what I expected or hoped. I did enjoy it, and I loved learning more about the world, but I felt a deep need and want for Tarver and Lilac and the amazing story created by TBS. I hated Jubilee and Flynn, and pretty much every character added in this book, and I hope that the next installment, which I am sure I will also pre-order and read immediately, doesn't include them.


  1. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it but I would still like you read it and decide for myself!

    1. I wouldn't say I didn't enjoy it, in fact, I did like the action and conspiracy aspects. I just wasn't as big a fan of Jubilee and Flynn as I was Tarver and Lilac. I'm sure you'll love the exciting mystery to it too. :)

  2. I haven't read book 1 or book 2 yet but they sound awesome! Titanic in space and GORGEOUS covers? Yeah! Sorry it didn't live up to your expectations-I would expect a lot from a book with a cover like that to be honest, but I would still love to give these a shot. Nice review!

    1. Right?! Aren't these the most gorgeous covers that you've ever seen!? The first book was just so amazing, I think I went into it with such high expectations that there was no where to go but down. I encourage you to read the novella as well, it was a great story. I can't get enough of Tarver and Lilac.