Shattered World, set to release October 4, 2014, is the anticipated sequel to Broken World by Kate L. Mary. The novel elaborates more on the dire circumstances of Vivian, our narrator, and the rag-tag group of survivors that she joined up with out of necessity. (At least, that was why she stuck by them at first.) Vivian’s tone is still very conversational, which gives the book the same familiar feeling of being a story told by a friend rather than a novel about a dystopian wasteland filled with zombies. The tone suits the character well (an ex-stripper who was living in Kentucky at the time of the outbreak), and the easy to read language selection lends itself to the page-turning action and romance sequences that Mary frequently transitions between.
If it is possible, I liked Shattered World even more than I liked Broken World. Despite my fondness for terrible movies, I actually adore character development and was excited to learn more about Vivian, Axl, Angus, and the rest of the cast of characters from the first book. I love the opportunities that Mary’s writing style affords the reader to get to know each character. We get to see not only their actions, but their interactions with other characters and with Vivian in particular. Though her vocabulary is not always the most elevated, Vivian is a sharp character and is very observant. Her characterization and portrayal only adds to the presentation of the story as Mary has written it and intended it to be. Honestly, I don’t think the novel would be as fun were it not for the added drama of character dynamics including the romantic components. (
Take that, naysayers.) Thanks to Mary’s clever monologues and the quip-laden banter which is exchanged with anyone who crosses Vivian, the book maintains a fun feel and doesn’t dip into the monotonous melancholia that can overwhelm novels about morbid topics such as the zombie apocalypse.
In this second volume of the series, the reader is exposed to more of what has happened. With each new character introduced another piece of the outbreak puzzle and experience is revealed. Readers learn a bit more about what the outbreak looked like for people across the United States as the individuals themselves were vastly different and in incredibly different situations prior to the spread of the infection. We also are exposed to some of the different ways that people handle seemingly impossible scenarios, such as a zombie apocalypse, but also the more mundane but still tragic scenario of losing a loved one. Mary presents these themes well and covers a large amount of territory in terms of character development and back story establishment in a fairly short amount of time through dialogue.
For those who do not like to merge themes within the horror genre there is, as in the last book, a blend of romance and action. Due to the nature of the story, the transition from romance to fighting zombies and back again can happen in a matter of pages. Even Vivian, the narrator, occasionally kicks herself for not keeping her thoughts on survival, something I think even those who dislike romance in their horror can appreciate. Who hasn’t watched a horror flick and thought “Seriously? You want to flirt NOW?”
Overall, I give this book a very positive review. If you enjoyed Broken World you should definitely pick up Shattered World. As with Broken World, Shattered World leaves its readers wanting more. Fortunately, the third book in the series, Mad World, is set for release on January 3, 2015. Shattered World will initially be released on Amazon, but there are plans to release the title via other formats (Barnes & Noble, Google Play, iBooks & Kobo to name a few) so if the book isn’t available in a format you need just yet don’t give up hope!