Saturday, 13 February 2016

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is the third and final volume in the Starbound Trilogy, which started with the multi-award-winning These Broken Stars and continued with This Shattered World. The blurb nicely summarises the plot of the first two books (spoiler warning).

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn's a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck -- now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world's gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker - a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He'll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don't dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you're done noticing it, she's got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia's separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they're forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

Much like the format of the two earlier books in the series, Their Fractured Light follows two main characters, Sofia and Gideon, who have their own agendas that are not incompatible with saving the world. (The world needing saving due to the events set up in the first two books.) They more or less fall in with each other once they both realise that the world needs saving and they're in a position to do it.

The complications arise from Sofia being a con artist (can Gideon trust her when she plays everyone around her, including him a few times?) and from Gideon being an elite hacker with secrets and mistakes in his recent past. As well as being more or less structured like a YA novel with teenagers saving the world, it's also structured like a romance novel (with minimal erotic detail of course, because YA). The characters go through the arc of liking each other, being driven apart and finding each other again (and the fact that they will is never really in question).

One nice thing about this novel, that mixes the formula up a bit is the reappearance of the other four main characters from the earlier books in the series. They are quite prominent in the second half of the book and, well, obviously, help with the whole world saving thing. More or less. The only thing that bothered me a little bit in this book was a relationship issue. One of the things that drove them apart was never discussed again (on the page). And I strongly feel that it should have been for Sofia to be able to be OK with their relationship. Otherwise, from her point of view, she's letting some extreme creepiness slide (from Gideon's and the reader's point of view, there's a perfectly reasonable explanation), and that bothered me. It wouldn't've had to have been a long conversation. Oh well.

The science fictional elements in this book were pretty enjoyable. I mean, I'm a bit meh about space zombies but the other aspects were pretty well done and even raised some interesting philosophical questions. Unfortunately, most of them are spoilers.

If you enjoyed the earlier books in the series, then I definitely recommend picking up Their Fractured Light. If you're new to the series, then it makes sense to read them in order. Since the books all feature different main characters, they do sort of stand alone, but this final book deals very heavily with the over arching plot and and probably makes more sense if the first two books have been read.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2015 Allen & Unwin
Series: The Starbound Trilogy book 3 of 3
Format read: ePub
Source: Purchased on iBooks
Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge, Australian SF Reading Challenge

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