By: Celine | January 18, 2016 | (21) Comments

Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerThis Shattered World by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Series: Starbound, #2
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: December 23rd, 2014
Genres: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Bought it
Goodreads | Purchase

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.

I read the first book in the series, These Broken Stars, some time ago – long enough that I don’t remember details, but I do remember parts of the plot and also that I was impressed. I will admit that I fully believe that some of the love for this book was influenced by the massive hype surrounding TBS at the time. However, I did also love the book itself: I was a fan of the writing, the mindfuckery (you can wake me up for that any time), the dreaminess and atmosphere of it all and characters I could root for. Sadly, I found that This Shattered World lacked most of these things for me.

The first problem, for me, was the setting. Where These Broken Stars told us a story about beautiful nature, shades of green and fields of gold (sorry for the earworm) and an explosion of stars in the night sky, evoking images of beauty almost beyond belief, This Shattered World is set in… a swamp. I think the irony here is that Kaufman and Spooner are very good at what they do: they can write. They have the ability to conjure up images in my mind of the setting, and that’s precisely what didn’t work for me here. Because no one in the book saw any beauty in the swamp. It’s brown, sludgy, mud. There were no descriptions of the different hues of brown, of lights eerily reflecting in the water, of the beauty of an old tree that twists around itself. There was mud, and there was water. And so, that’s what the book started feeling like to me. If you ask me to associate These Broken Stars and This Shattered World with one imagine each, the first would be stars in the night sky, and the latter would be brown, sludgy, dirty mud.

Of course, the setting is not all there is to a book. We have two main characters in the book: Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac. Now, I was definitely a fan of Miss Chase. She kicks ass. She’s not afraid to do what needs to be done. She will beat you in any kind of combat. She doesn’t dream; she’s a well-oiled machine slowly coming back to life. Jubilee Chase will have my support for a long, long time: I love her.

And then there’s Flynn. Oh, poor Flynn. I must admit I was biased from the first moment we meet him, and this is because of his name. I’m really sorry, but the name Finn/Fynn/Flinn/Flynn is extremely overused in YA, to the point that I simply can’t stand it anymore. Therefore, I’m afraid I will take an immediate dislike to anyone called Finn/Flynn/F-something. First impressions: not good, and I will fully admit that this is not the book’s fault. However, he was just… boring. I’m really sorry, but I just couldn’t feel for this guy. I admire that he wants to win a war with words, not with violence; I really do. However, he just wasn’t interesting to me.

Its partly because of this that I also couldn’t ship the ship. There are two other parts: one is that I’ve found I just don’t like it when it’s so obvious what the main ship will be. I knew they were going to end up together before I even opened the book, and it’s partly because of that that I just couldn’t really ship these two. Of course, there’s more. I really wished they would have ended up being good friends, because I could envision that happening so easily. It would have felt more natural to me that these characters should end up as being friends, especially because – if I’m fair – it’s much more logical for me to envision Jubilee as being asexual. She’s a soldier through and through: she understands loyalty and friendship, but I’d have pegged her as being aromantic. But hey, maybe this is just my imagination doing things to me, because I know a lot of people actually are invested in this ship. But, there’s more.

With a strained noise she breaks away and turns her head to stop me from picking up the kiss were we left off. (…) “God, Flynn, we can’t.” She’s panting the words. “We can’t.” I bend my head back to kiss her beneath the line of her jaw (…)

“We’re enemies. That’s what’s real.” (…) “I’m not your enemy, Jubilee Chase,” I whisper. “And I don’t think you’re mine.” I lean after her until I can capture her mouth again. (…)

“It’s too dangerous.”
“Don’t care.” And I don’t, finding bare skin at her neck (…)

There’s this one scene that turned me off the ship completely, and frankly I thought Flynn was being a bit of an asshole. So they end up very close together, they kiss, yada yada yada. Jubilee, however, recognises the danger of their current situation and implores Flynn to stop. Now, I do understand that she still actually wants to kiss him and that he probably knows that etc etc. Still, it is unacceptable to me that he ignores her requests. I don’t care whether her reasons are sound: if she asks him to stop, he should. I know there are several ways to read the scene; I know it’s supposed to be romantic. But I just can’t read it that way, and I actually think that the way the lack of consent is written off in favour of how romantic it is that he wants her is rather problematic, but that’s a topic for a discussion post another time.

Of course, it’s not all bad. Though it takes some time to get started, the plot of the book is interesting and actually builds on that of the previous book, even when we have different characters this time. I still find the whispers intruiging and I’m curious what LaRoux is really up to, what he’s planning. Throw in a plot about war vs. rebellion and the impact on both sides and I’m interested. What will people sacrifice for their rebellion? Is there a bad guy in this story? What arguments can be made for both sides? These are rather philosophical questions and I’m glad the book touches upon them.

In all, I have to admit that I’m rather disappointed in this book. I remember loving These Broken Stars, but This Shattered World just didn’t inspire those same feelings in me. It does have a solid plot and rounded characters, but I didn’t get into the story and care for the characters’ survival the way I did with These Broken Stars. I personally don’t know if I would recommend this book if you were a fan of These Broken Stars, but I know lots of people did love This Shattered World. If you think the things I mentioned above won’t bother you, give it a try!

2.5 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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21 Responses to Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

  1. I finished this last week and I agree about the setting of this novel. It was depressive. And boring to read about. And I also didn’t ship the ship. At least writing was good. Still, I wasn’t very impressed with this book either…
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…REVIEW: 5 REASONS THAT MAKE TRUTHWITCH BY SUSAN DENNARD YOUR NEXT BOOK-HUNGOVER-WORTHY READMy Profile

  2. Sorry this was a disappointment for you, Celine. The difference between two worlds is jarring, for sure. But like you said, props to the writing tandem of Kaufman and Spooner for their imaginative world building.
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[602]: November 9 by Colleen HooverMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Yeah, I’d hoped I’d enjoy it more! But oh well. I do agree that Kaufman and Spooner are one talented duo 🙂

      • Emeline says:

        bobmunck I don't understand why this post, or this author, is given any space here. He doesn't actually SAY anything; he's just picking random events from history and working the term “smart power” into the sentence somwSoe.hhouldn't guest columns be checked for content before being posted? Not for any particular type of content, but rather just to see if it has any at all.

  3. I’ve heard mixed things about this one, but everyone seems to love the third book so I hope you enjoy that one more! 😀
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  4. Oh, shame you didn’t like this one as much as the first. And I’m getting the impression that I’ll have similar thoughts to you. It’s been years since I read THESE BROKEN STARS, and I just haven’t had the time to read this one (but I hope to fix that soon, haha.) Great review! Maybe the last in the series will be more to your taste 🙂
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  5. Sorry to hear this book wasn’t a winner for you, Celine. I actually enjoyed it very much. It’s been a while ago, and I admit I don’t remember this problematic scene you mentioned. Do you plan to continue with this series?
    Ksenia @ Something Delicate recently posted…Audio Obsession #6. Favorite narrators.My Profile

  6. Lexa Cain says:

    Great review, Celine! I really liked the effort you made to point out good points and bad, and why certain things affected you. I have to agree about overused names. If I see one more female mc called Bella/Ella or a name beginning with a “K” I may lose it. It sounds like a forced romance for the sake of romance – ‘coz who wants to put out a YA without a romance? 😛
    Lexa Cain recently posted…Celebrate: 1 Down, 2 To Go & Giveaways!My Profile

  7. Aww. I’m sorry this didn’t live up to the amazingness of These Broken Stars for you Celine. 🙁 I personally loved it and thought it was a great sequel, but I can completely see where you’re coming from. The ship was definitely obvious, but for some reason that didn’t really matter for me. Anyhow, thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…Their Fractured LightMy Profile

  8. This is such a fantastic review Celine! I think I was so drawn into the romance that I didn’t notice that scene that you took issue with. I agree, I actually didn’t get a good feel for Finn as a character, other than he’s a bit softer. But Jubilee, I loved her so much!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Starlight by Melissa Landers Review: This book brought me over the moon and starsMy Profile

  9. I wasn’t a fan of These Broken Stars… at all. But I really, really enjoyed the writing and characters of This Shattered World. I see where you’re coming from completely though. The setting was a lot better in the first book, but I found the romance terrible – so cheesy. And now that I reread that scene you quoted, I’m disgusted. I cannot believe I didn’t pick up on that. You certainly have a fair point there. Great review, Celine!
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  10. Oh man. I cannot sympathize enough with the desire to see characters walk away from an adventure like this being FRIENDS. I don’t think there is nearly enough representation of emotionally intimate asexual relationships in YA fiction and it drives me crazy how every time a guy and a gal get along well they have to end up in love…
    Audrey Greathouse recently posted…Pre-Orders, AMA, and Giveaway!My Profile

  11. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy this one! I also read These Broken Stars a while ago and really liked it. I haven’t read This Shattered World because I was afraid that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much because it wasn’t about the same characters anymore. Your review definitely does not convince me I should read it soon, but I probably will anyway at some point because I already own the book. Let’s hope I end up enjoying it anyway! 🙂
    Karin @ schakarin recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #9: Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added to my TBRMy Profile

  12. Hannah says:

    Ha, I’m the opposite, I enjoyed the second book more than the first one, just in terms of the grittiness factor. But you’ve certainly made some valid points that I totally agree with – especially the consent issue.
    Hannah recently posted…Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) – Anne BishopMy Profile

  13. Annette says:

    I’m sorry that you found Jubilee Chase so amazing, but Flynn’s character boring… I hope I feel differently. I certainly enjoyed their first book – These Broken Stars. Despite the swamp setting, I’m still interested in this one!

  14. Inas says:

    Flynn sounds like an asshole.
    He sounds pretty much like Evan Walker without the stalker feature
    Inas recently posted…10 Best Books We’ve Read In 2015My Profile

  15. Maisha says:

    I haven’t read this one or TBS yet, but from what I’ve heard so far, more people liked the first book better. Haha, I don’t think I’d like this one due to the setting either.

    Lovely review, Celine! <3
    Maisha recently posted…DNF Review: Assassin’s Heart by Sarah AhiersMy Profile

  16. Michelle says:

    I’m annoyed how so many YA books try to portrait the male character as manly and dominant by making them force the female character into sex/kissing. That turns me completely off, and I think it can be dangerous for young people to read too.
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