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Love Is a Battlefield

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner's Starbound trilogy shifts to the battle-torn planet of This Shattered World.

Love Is a Battlefield

BOOK REPORT for This Shattered World (Starbound Book 2) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Cover Story: Sophomore Slump
BFF Charm: Yay x 2
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: She Says, He Says, Who Says
Bonus Factors: Romeo and Juliet, Soldiers, Home
Relationship Status: Going Strong

Cover Story: Sophomore Slump

Ah, this series' proud tradition of tantalizingly close The Creation of Adam hands lives on. But this couldn't quite duplicate the striking and memorable effect of the first cover, even with the addition of gratuitous shirtlessness. 

The Deal:

This is Book 2 of the Starbound trilogy. Although these books are set in the same universe (har), this book report contains no spoilers for These Broken Stars, the events of which take place before This Shattered World

Avon is a tough planet to live on, y'all. Its terraforming process started ages ago, but the place is still barely habitable. Its locals are restless, rebelling against the corporation that runs Avon. At the helm of the rebellion is Flynn Cormac, who, against all odds, holds out hope for a peaceful resolution. Even when he runs into revered military officer, Captain Jubilee "Lee" Chase... andddd promptly captures her as a prisoner. (Like I said: a pacifist against all odds.)

But there's something sinister at work on Avon -- something bigger than the war that Flynn and Lee are on opposite sides of. And the two enemies must find a way to work together to uncover this greater threat. 

BFF Charm: Yay x 2

Take a big whiff, 'cause Lee is the shiznit. Fearless badass that she is, Lee routinely laughs in the face of death. Like, literally; girlfriend has a twisted sense of humour (joking about her corpse to her captor def. qualifies) , and I LOVE IT. Of course, the humour masks the tremendous pain she's experienced in her short life. But Lee Chase is the embodiment of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". 

On the other hand, Flynn is one of those people with a sincere vision of a better future. But he's not, like, overly Pollyanna with optimism or anything. Flynn just genuinely believes there could be a better world, and that further violence, as touted by an extremist subfaction of the rebellion, is not the solution. Despite enduring his own share of hardships, Flynn still retains his capacity for compassion and forgiveness. 

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

OK, holding someone hostage is obvi a really terrible way to get to know them. Stockholm syndrome ain't exactly swoonworthy, no matter how many times you watch Beauty and the Beast. But the connection between Lee and Flynn transcends its dubious origins. I was totally cheering for these crazy kids against increasingly Insurmountable obstacles -- some of them in serious, "There's no recovery from this, right?" territory. 

Talky Talk: She Says, He Says, Who Says

Although this book is structured similar to These Broken Stars -- alternating between the POVs of the two leads -- Lee and Flynn's voices are distinct from their narrative predecessors (esp. my beloved Lee, she of the biting wit). Separating the chapters are dream-like fragments of memories that provide a little more background for the characters. 

Speaking of background, This Shattered World builds upon the conspiracy introduced in the series starter: answering some questions, while setting up a bunch more. An encyclopedic knowledge of These Broken Stars isn't required to enjoy this novel, but some familiarity with the series makes certain references (and perhaps appearances) even better.

Bonus Factor: Romeo and Juliet

Yup, Lee and Flynn are completely star-crossed (pun not intended nor regretted). The Shakespeare references are impossible to miss, incl. Lee hailing from the planet of Verona. 

Bonus Factor: Soldiers

Given their line of work, it's easy to forget that Lee and her squad are all still really young (teenagers, even), much like many soldiers, past and present, real or otherwise. 

Bonus Factor: Home

With its perpetually cloudy skies, poor water quality, and constant turmoil, Avon can be a pretty shitty place. But it's still worth saving, even if some people are a bit (or a lot) misguided on how to do so. Thank goodness for those like Flynn who won't give up on their home that easily. 

Casting Call:

I ended up casting only models. Clearly, my version would be a CW show. (Although no joke: The CW's doing a great job with its sci-fi show, so this would actually be a decent idea. YOU'RE WELCOME, THE CW.)

Chanel Iman as Jubilee

Chanel's actually half-Korean, whereas Lee is half-Chinese,* but maybe she's picked up some Mandarin swear words in her international travels. Can't be much worse than the pronounciation in Firefly!

* Fortch, this Jubilee shows no strange affinity for yellow raincoats and dishwashing gloves.

Sean O'Pry as Flynn

OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THAT FACE: I've been watching the "Blank Space" video a lot lately, you guys. 

Relationship Status: Going Strong

My feelings for this series are no fluke, and they've only grown deeper with this second installment. It combines the best of both standalones and series books: a riveting, non-filler story that contributes to a larger, overall arc. Safe to say, I'll follow it to the ends of the universe for the finale.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Disney-Hyperion. I received neither money nor froyo for writing this review (dammit!). This Shattered World will be available December 23rd.

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.