3 out of 5 stars
The action and story go up in this series finale, but the heroine of Book 3 drags like an anchor.
The galaxy-spanning, dimension-crossing culmination of the Starbound series, Their Fractured Light brings the two main characters from each of the previous books face to face with the heroes of this last chapter. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merenson, sole survivors of the Icarus crash, and Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac, new world order-ers from the war for Avon, end up entangled with Sophia Quinn and Gideon Marchant in a battle to literally save the galaxy from the ego-maniacal Roderick LaRoux.
The story follows Sophia from her escape off Avon to Corinth, where she’s sweet-girl conned her into a penthouse apartment – all the better to assemble her plot to kill Roderick LaRoux. She crosses paths with Gideon Marchant, who turns out to be the Knave of Hearts, the super-hacker who’s been helping Lilac and Tarver since Book 2. What follows is a complicated knot of no one knowing they’re all on the same team. Sophia and Gideon lie to each other, fall for each other, confuse and betray each other. Eventually, it all comes out – just in time for the plot to twist. The Whispers play a huge part in Their Fractured Light, as does the question: What does it mean to be human?
While all that action is clicking along, and the world might end, and the plot thickens, I still had a few serious issues with this book.
1: There’s a very obvious spot where a huge issue could be resolved with a single, easy conversation. Gideon even acknowledges it: Why can’t I just say something?! Boo hoo waaaaaah. This plot device sucks; it’s a cheap way to keep conflict going.
2: Sophia is annoying AF. She’s all conviction – every one of them wrong. For a girl so sharp as to be a wizard con artist, she has zero self-awareness. She can’t. stop. whining. to herself about everyone and everything via internal monologue that, unfortunately, we have to read. She’s more of a child than any other character, and grates like the spoiled brat no one wanted to bring along on this trip.
3. There’s really too much of the Whispers’s metaphysical identity crisis. Unlike AIDAN in The Illuminae Files, who talks to himself like a male and/or robot, the Whisper(s) yakyakyak(s) like a bunch of 40-something ladies with babysitters at home and another round of white wine spritzers on the way.
Eventually, a climactic event occurs, things happen, the story resolves. It’s really a very creative and satisfying trilogy from start to finish. But while the last book has the best action, it has the worst narrators. The Starbound series deserved a little better in the end.