Monday, April 23, 2018

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner | Enemies to Lovers IN SPACE

Starbound #2
Date Read: Feb 27 to March 3, 2018
First Published: 2014
Young Adult, Sci-fi/Fantasy
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.
Wait, is this really happening?? Am I finally continuing with a series I started a few years back and loved but never touched again? YES, I AM! Mom, aren't you proud of me???

Okay, jokes aside, I'm finally doing this. And while I am super happy with myself, I am also super confused about why it has taken me this long to do so in the first place. These books are good. They blend fun with heavy themes and ideas. They don't shy away from death, but neither do they shy away from love and hope.

We've seen all that in the first novel, and we're seeing it now in the second one. THIS SHATTERED WORLD follows Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac, and before I start this review lets just all take a second to admit to ourselves how utterly fabulous the name Jubilee is. Like, it's one of those names that make me just happy to read it and fuck if I know why but I ain't gonna complain either.

Okay, focus, Nitzan! This is serious reviewing time!

So, at first, you're going to wonder just how exactly does the story of Tarver and Lilac connect with that of Flynn and Jubilee. That will last all of, oh, I don't know... three chapters? Yeah. Then it's just going to be kind of terrifying because you'll start to suspect a lot of things that don't bode well for anyone. And, like, it's exactly where I thought the next "logical" step will be when I was reading THESE BROKEN STARS, and yet I was really hoping it won't because man, that's some bad shit.

But enough about that bad (but good bad) parts of the novel. Let's discuss some of the great things! First, Jubilee herself. She's not just a kick-ass name, she's also a kick-ass army captain. Yeah, you've read that right. The heroine is the one who gets to be uncompromisingly badass, and yet, undoubtedly feminine. I love that. A girl doesn't have to be manly to be strong. And Jubilee is that. Strong, and fierce, and compassionate. You'd think the long years in the army and the even longer years before that as a war orphan would have left her empty and cold, but despite what some rookies might think, she's the furthest thing away from that.

And it's Flynn Cormac who helps her believe in that part of herself again. Because Flynn is a pacifist rebel. Sounds a bit like an oxymoron, doesn't it? But Flynn manages to be both entirely loyal to his planet, his people and their survival--and they're his people, by right of birth and by his choice--and yet wholly dedicated to the idea of ending the war without more bloodshed and death. Literally, the only thing he wants (aside for Jubilee) is to bring peace to his people, no matter the cost to himself. Altruistic guy alert!

Seeing these two enemies grow closer and learning to trust and lean on each other as their loyalties and beliefs change and shift to accommodate all the new information and ideas is pretty awesome, and the two make a good team. Flynn as the heart, Jubilee as the muscle, and if you say you don't like the sound of that power balance, you're lying.

Now, amongst all the praise I can say about these novels, there is one thing that really stands out to me as a negative. Mainly, that the books lack an impact of Death, despite the fact there is plenty of that to go around. Like, people die. A lot of people. Some extremely innocent, like children. Things that normally make me cry just to think about them. But here... I felt no grief. The books tell me these death had impacts on the characters. It tells me they grieve for them. But it doesn't make you--or at the very least, me--feel it. 

And I feel like that's a HUGE miss. These people who die mean something to these characters, presumably. But... like, none of them get very established--definitely not enough for me to mourn their deaths on my own--so I just felt nothing when they died, aside for feeling like it's a pointless plot-point because I couldn't feel it. Like, yeah, it's war and there is senseless death but also it's a novel so at least a few of these deaths should have a point beyond "I need a way to move the plot further". Idk. It all boils down to me not feeling anything - I'm sure it would have worked better if I managed to muster some of that.

I'm looking forward to finally finishing this series this year, and seeing how this all pans out! 

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