CITY OF SHATTERED LIGHT by CLAIRE WINN
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn is an exiting YA sci-fi novel following two very different girls. The first is Asanna Alameida, a tech heiress set to inherit a dangerous artificial intelligence program called Project Winterdark. The second is Riven Hawthorne, an outlaw from neon-drenched moon. When an AI attack from Project Winterdark begins infecting Riven’s home, she and Asanna join forces to stop the AI from destroying the moon outlaw-riddled moon. The result is a breathtaking and propulsive novel that is sure to delight even the most reluctant sci-fi reader. I sure enjoyed it.
Arguably the best thing about City is the setting itself. I loved reading about Requiem, the moon upon which the book is based. Requiem is home to a dangerous city–the titular city of shattered light–teeming with outlaws, gangs, and of course, neon lights. Winn excels at writing description and I really felt like I was there with Asa and Riven as they fought to stop Project Winterdark’s rogue AI. I loved the description of the tech and how the world works, though I do wish there was a bit more worldbuilding so I felt more grounded in the story.
Aside from Asa (who is on the right on the cover) and Riven (on the left), we have a few other characters. There’s Ty, a medic. Samir, a classmate of Riven’s at the military academy they attended. Diego, an associate Samir’s who specializes in information, and Galateo, an AI of Riven’s who might be my favorite character aside from Diego. They’re a fun crew, albeit a little two-dimensional, which can be expected with a cast this large. Asa also has a tyrannical father and a sister named Kaya, who we meet briefly at the beginning of the book. Honestly, though, I didn’t read this book for the characters. They were all…fine. None of them stood out to me except for Galateo and Diego–neither of whom are in the book very much.
What this book lacks in character development, it makes up for in plot. The pacing in City is breakneck. It never lets up and I was never bored when reading. I love a good sci-fi and City of Shattered Light definitely delivers. However, if I had one more quibble, it would be that I think this book would have been even better had it been written as an adult novel instead of YA. These characters are all 17-18 and doing certain things I’d expect older people to do. If it were adult, we could have delved even deeper into an already interesting world. Aside from that, I really enjoyed this book!
You can check out our copy at the Argenta library today!