Circumnavigation of Shatterworld

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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.

 

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Shatterworld by Lelia Rose Foreman

(From Google)

(From Google)

Shatterworld by Lela Rose Foreman

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZG2MT6K/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00ZG2MT6K&linkCode=as2&tag=genandquispi-20&linkId=QOA6DAYZKOZXH4BU

 

I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I was pretty excited about that because it was the first time that had happened for me. J I’d seen other bloggers get books for free to review, but I’d never gotten one before. Exciting.

Shatterworld is Christian science-fiction. It is the perfect example of good writing taking something that probably sounded odd/dumb/crazy and making it engaging. I think anything well-written and developed will be enjoyable regardless of how silly or cliché it might be. This book is proof that I’m right. J

This is the story of a young girl who’s is part of a fundamentalist, theonomist religious group who flees persecution on Earth to form their own society on a new planet. Yes, my brain kept thinking Amish in space. The book begins just as they select a planet and details out the establishment of their colony. Conflict comes when Rejoice’s love of astronomy goes against the rural and agriculturally focused life the Elders have planned. How does star-gazing help grow crops?

Now, before some of you give up on this story based on the ‘Amish in space’ part, hear me out.

This book has hexacrabs.

It is amazing the way Foreman makes everything feel logical, real, and well-developed. But, the beauty comes in her alien race, because *Spoilers* the humans aren’t alone. The hexacrabs are fascinating. Their culture, language, and characteristics are appealing even as they are foreign. I relished every interaction with them. They are the element that keeps this story from being preachy or underdeveloped. Foreman has a gift with cultures, a real gift.

Without spoiling the story for you, I also loved how Rejoice is challenge throughout the story to be herself and yet weigh her own selfishness in that. I love how not only does Rejoice grow and change, but everyone does: parents, teachers, elders, siblings, friends, and hexacrabs. The world feels very rich because no one is static. They are all affected by what they believe, why they came here, the choices they made, and the world around them. This book, while simple in many ways, was a great example of the idea that side characters should all think they’re the main character.

I enjoyed the moment when disaster strikes and Rejoice waits to hear from God to see how she should proceed. At first, I worried she might actually hear God, instead she applies her God-given gifts to the situation and heroically save the day with the help of her autistic brother Makepeace. A perfect example of God using means within his sovereignty.

While I obviously don’t agree with all the theology because it’s a story about a fundamentalist/theonomist space travelers, the story never becomes preachy and the flaws within that belief system are easily seen. I think some good conversations could be had with your children as they read this book about the nature of sin, selfishness, gifts, family, church authority, and so much more.

If I was to nitpick this book, my only complaint would be the huge amount of characters to keep up with complicated by the names of some of them. This wasn’t a big deal to me, but I can see it being a minor hang up for some people.

Overall, this book is a wonderful adventure for both boys and girls, clean, with a strong family structure and plenty of opportunities for discussion. Plus, as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed it.