Book Review: This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

This was such a good continuation of the Starbound trilogy! Though my heart broke to have different characters as the leads, I fell in love with Lee and Flynn too, and the story was even more gripping than the first.

4/5 stars

cover this shattered world

Goodreads Description

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.

My Review

Okay, I have a confession. I was kind of pissed when I found out that This Shattered World had a completely different cast and setting than These Broken Stars. It’s not that I wasn’t open to seeing more of the world or meeting new characters…I just really loved Lilac and Tarver. But it was okay, because This Shattered World totally won me over.

In TBS, I fell in love with Tarver before Lilac, but in TSW, Lee won me over before Flynn. Captain Lee Chase (technically Jubilee) is the classic, hard-ass YA protagonist, and even if I’m sometimes frustrated with the trope, I also love it to death. Stone-faced Chase (as she’s called) is an infamous army commander, known across the planet for her ruthlessness. Even better, Lee’s character developed into a multifaceted character with real skeletons in her closet and a fascinating self-image.

Flynn took a little longer to grab me, but it was only a few chapters before I loved his character as well. He’s a pacifist rebel, fighting to hold back the militant faction of the rebel group. Flynn’s struggle to reel in the anger of his people really got to me—after studying so many revolutions in history, the sense of impossibility that Flynn felt was palpable for me. Even though Flynn is a self-proclaimed pacifist, his character is not mellow or bland at all. He is a fighter, he just wants to fight with words, and it presented a powerful juxtaposition with Lee’s loyalty to the military.

I found the plot of TSW more gripping than TBS. The pacing was excellent, the mystery was mind-boggling, and the romance was swoon-freaking-worthy.

Even though TSW has different characters than TBS, their two plots are directly connected. The mystery presented in TBS is explored further in TSW, with the whispers and LaRoux’s corporation still being investigated. However, even though there are common elements between the two books, there is still a lot of mystery in TSW. I expected to understand everything before the characters did—I had an entire book’s worth of prior knowledge, right—but I was often just as befuddled as they were…in a good way.

Once again, Kaufman and Spooner created an unpredictable and emotion-ruining romance. Flynn and Lee are caught on opposite sides of a civil war. It isn’t so much that they hate each other—honestly from the start they are drawn to each other in an inexplicable (but not cliché) way—but they are overwhelmed by how impossible it is for them to be a couple.

I really appreciated that even when the two of them were clearly in love with each other, they still kept themselves apart, putting their political loyalties first. From these characters, nothing else would have been believable…no matter how much I wanted the two of them to screw it and be together.

The romance seems like a cliché set-up, but in reality, it was executed in a unique way. The authors even presented openings for stereotypical romantic drama…and then let them pass by. Instead, they took the romance in an unpredictable direction, with the rest of the plot, keeping me on my toes at all times. It was awesome.

I would recommend this book to anyone who read These Broken Stars. Don’t be scared away by the seemingly disconnected plot—it is an amazing continuation of the story. I can’t wait to read This Fractured Light!

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