Circumnavigation of Shatterworld
By Lelia Rose Foreman
It’s always interesting to read a series out of order. Each of the Shatterworld books can stand on its own as a complete story, but they also form a series following Rejoice as a child, teen, and then adult. I read book one, three, and then two. While I knew what would ultimately happen by the end of the story, I had no idea how it would happen. The story wasn’t spoiled even with the spoilers I had because the how is part of the fun. I enjoyed seeing Noble, Rejoice, her parents, and Opportunity at this stage of their lives. I enjoyed seeing who they were before I “knew” who they become.
This series is very real, raw, exciting, funny, and well written.
Rejoice is a great female lead. She’s adventurous, smart, and brave without being annoying. She’s balanced with plenty of typical teen struggles and short comings. She’s not just a smart girl who has it all together, any more than this is just a teen romance. The story is based in the realities of life at sixteen with the bonus of having hexacrabs. There is romance for sure, but it wasn’t a sticky sweet romance and that wasn’t the main point of the story. Friendship, family, trust, and growth are far more important than falling in love. I loved watching Rejoice struggle with the fear of being alone in a way most girls can probably relate to. I loved watching her grow beyond the ‘end of her own nose’, to see the people around her as more than how they affect her. (I think this is the bonus when you have a wiser, more mature woman writing YA fiction: you get a teen book without teen self-focus, or with growth out of the self-focus. Maturity brings a broader perspective. Hopefully Leila won’t kill me for saying that.)
Another element that made this book for me was Rejoice’s work ethic. Even while she’s doing the typical teen pouting or moaning and groaning, she cooks, cleans, looks after her baby-sister, and helps on the ship. She’s respected by those around her for what she can contribute and expected to act like an adult. How refreshing! This girl, while much smarter than I’ll ever be, is expected to pull her weight, not be a whiny dead-weight.
In another words, this book is about a teen I would want to hang out with and be friends with even as a 36 year old. She doesn’t have everything figured out, and there are plenty of hard lessons for her to learn, but Rejoice shows that teens can bring a lot more to the table than we often give them credit for in our society.
On top of all that, this book has action, adventure, sailing, kraken, hexacrabs, sharks, circumnavigation, a horrible and creepy primitive race, and so much more, presented in a unique world of pacifism, colonization, Quaker type Christianity, and space exploration.
If you enjoy stories about the settling of new worlds, or know a teen who is looking for something deeper to cut their teeth on than most of what they can find on the shelves, I highly recommend this book. It can provide lots to think about and lots to talk about.
Rated PG: A clean Christian read with adventure and violence.