Review of Scott Westerfeld’s Shatter City

Shatter City by Scott Westerfeld

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Insert usual rant over books written in present tense here. Good? Let’s move on)

I know; I wasn’t over the moon about Impostors, but – overall – I’ve enjoyed Mr. Westerfeld’s writing. And the Uglies world IS intriguing enough for me to decide to stick with the trilogy. Maybe it’s a nebulous hope that things will improve and turn the corner.

Let’s say he delivered a 50:50 split on that optimism. The major “revelation” towards the end? Yeah, I called that about three chapters before it hit. There wasn’t enough drama or punch behind it to make the scene stand out or hold momentum. I don’t know if that’s because I saw it coming or due to the writing falling flat.

However, Paz and the concept of the feels posed an interesting thought experiment. I wish Mr. Westerfeld had explored things a bit more than he did. (As it is, Frey presses them like a kid popping candy. You get one aspect of the “science” but lose the potential at the same time.) The same with the self-aware cities. While I suspect he wanted you to marvel at the idea of a city taking an interest in the welfare of its citizenry, all I kept floundering over was how an AI managed to coordinate a physical presence a continent away – particularly given the “ancient” technology present in the region. The entire final third of the book felt clunky and rushed, going beyond “suspension of disbelief” to outright smoke and mirrors.
In short, your typical sequel in a trilogy where you wish the author took more time to think things through.

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