After reading the first Starbound book, These Broken Stars, I carefully rationed myself before reading This Shattered World, the second book, in order to break up the time between reading Shattered World and the release of Their Fractured Light. Unfortunately, This Shattered World was definitely a case of second-book slump for me, with the romance that had so captured me in Broken Stars being largely missing. As a result, I bought Their Fractured Light on its release date, but I kind of put off reading it. Partly it was because I had a stack of library books that I had to work through before their due dates, but it was also partly because I was afraid I'd be disappointed again, and I really didn't want to be. LUCKILY, when I finally got around to reading it this past week, I was NOT disappointed at all!
Their Fractured Light moves the story to the city where it all began, from whence LaRoux Industries is based, from where the Icarus was launched, and where it all comes to an end. Our heroine is Sofia Quinn, who we last saw fleeing Avon so she wouldn't be put into the foster system following her father's death at the hands of the whispers/the Fury. She's been conning her way across the galaxy ever since. And our hero is Gideon Marchant, the infamous hacker known as the Knave of Hearts and also the younger brother of another Marchant...who was also Lilac LaRoux's first love. Dun dun DUN! Gideon and Sofia's paths cross at the headquarters of LaRoux Industries, and they help each other escape when everything goes horribly awry. There's instant chemistry, and when Gideon leaves, he gives Sofia his contact info in case she ever needs him again. Which, of course, she does.
In short order, Sofia and Gideon find themselves on the run through and below Corinth, hiding from LaRoux's veritable army and trying to stop him from taking over the galaxy with the whispers as his main weapon. Betrayals abound, safe havens do not, and through it all are scattered so many other characters that we've encountered along the way. We also finally get to meet the infamous Monsieur LaRoux, the man behind it all...
My main complaint with This Shattered World was that it was greatly lacking in the romance department. Jubilee and Flynn were great, they just weren't necessarily great with each other. I didn't feel like they had the chemistry that Lilac and Tarver had. Well, that wasn't a problem in Their Fractured Light. Gideon and Sofia had that chemistry. Of course, it's a very different dynamic than Tarver and Lilac, because Tarver and Lilac were never keeping secrets the way that Gideon and Sofia are--but that's good, because it means it's not just a repeat, it's a new story, and I felt that it was one that fit the world of Corinth and the story that Kaufman and Spooner built up around the setting and characters. I'm not so sure about the technology stuff that was going on--sure, it's sci-fi, but some of it still read a little flimsy to me--but I excuse it on the basis that everything else was so good. My only other issue was that the climax retreads ground a bit--I feel like the authors could have done something a little fresher to tie it all up. Oh, and that I'm not sure the end would have been as neat and tidy as it came across.
Overall, though, Their Fracture Light definitely didn't suffer from the same slump that This Shattered World did. It came full circle, tying together plots and characters and bringing everything to what was a satisfying (if a little sickly sweet) conclusion. I really enjoyed this, and as a bonus, it fits the "Romance set in the future" category for my Popsugar 2016 Reading Challenge!
4 stars out of 5.