Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld

I would like to thank Scholastic for an advance copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review

Publisher – Scholastic

Published – Out Now

Price - £7.99 paperback

NB – there will be some spoilers for the plot of the first novel in the series – Imposters reviewed last week

Redemption. Risk. Revenge.

When the world sees Frey, they think they see her twin sister Rafi, Frey was raised to be Rafi’s double, and now she’s taken on the role without anyone else knowing.

Her goal now? To destroy the forces that created her.

So, in Imposters we met Frey the twin sister of Rafi and their father is the Trump-style ruler of a city named Shreve.  In a complicated political move to gain some access to metal for his industry he sends Frey disguised as Rafi to live with a rival family. Then their father revealed that his real plan to destroy the rivals but as he now feels Frey has betrayed him by falling in love with Col the son of his competitors, he sends his missiles for her too.  But Col and Frey escaped and after a series of adventures in the wilderness met the various rebel groups plotting to stop Shreve and they attacked the city unsuccessfully.  The story concluded with Rafi escaping and Frey taking her place under her father’s wing to save Col!

Yes, safe to say it was a journey!  I liked the premise and Frey’s character but found the book had descended into a lot of running around from location to location without really moving the plot.  The idea of Frey however now having to pretend to be Rafi suggested the next book would be different.  Unfortunately, this good idea lasts not very long at all and soon Col and Frey are back out of Shreve and again out with the rebels moving from various city states to try and work out how to stop Frey’s father and also find this time Rafi who it turns out has disappeared.

While there are some very interesting ideas again in this novel. I loved the concept of a city where people have learnt to control their feelings with mood enhancing implants and there is a strange moment where someone who has suffered immense trauma very recently is revealed to be hiding it all under a guise of Calm and on top of this we discover many cities have their own AIs who have their own plans in motion.  I just strongly let we were treading water in what will eventually be a four-book series. The recipe of escape capture and escape wears very thin over four hundred pages and there was lots of running around but I really didn’t feel by the conclusion that anything had moved on.  Frey has not really developed as a character.  I never felt any real sense of jeopardy for her.

This feels overall a very standard YA and again I cannot help thinking about comparisons with books like the Hunger Games. Similar format – repetition of the first book but this lacks that growing emotional toil that Katniss had on her. For a thriller I should be getting sucked in and swept away in the story and sadly I feel the Imposters series has been found out – its competent but not a series I will be following closely again.