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Requiem Dark #1

City of Shattered Light

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As darkness closes in on the city of shattered light, an heiress and an outlaw must decide whether to fend for themselves or fight for each other.

As heiress to a powerful tech empire, seventeen-year-old Asa Almeida strives to prove she's more than her manipulative father's shadow. But when he uploads her rebellious sister’s mind to an experimental brain, Asa will do anything to save her sister from reprogramming—including fleeing her predetermined future with her sister’s digitized mind in tow. With a bounty on her head and a rogue A.I. hunting her, Asa’s getaway ship crash-lands in the worst possible place: the neon-drenched outlaw paradise, Requiem.

Gun-slinging smuggler Riven Hawthorne is determined to claw her way up Requiem’s underworld hierarchy. A runaway rich girl is exactly the bounty Riven needs—until a nasty computer virus spreads in Asa’s wake, causing a citywide blackout and tech quarantine. To get the payout for Asa and save Requiem from the monster in its circuits, Riven must team up with her captive.

Riven breaks skulls the way Asa breaks circuits, but their opponent is unlike anything they’ve ever seen. The A.I. exploits the girls’ darkest memories and deepest secrets, threatening to shatter the fragile alliance they’re both depending on. As one of Requiem’s 154-hour nights grows darker, the girls must decide whether to fend for themselves or fight for each other before Riven’s city and Asa’s sister are snuffed out forever.

400 pages, Paperback

First published October 19, 2021

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About the author

Claire Winn

3 books131 followers
Claire Winn spends her time immersed in other worlds—through LARP, video games, books, nerd conventions, and her own stories. Since graduating from Northwestern University, she’s worked as a legal writer and freelance editor. Aside from writing, she builds cosplay props and armor, tears up dance floors, and battles with boffer swords.

Her next book is CITY OF VICIOUS NIGHT (sequel to City of Shattered Light), a queer YA sci-fi adventure coming May 2023.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 359 reviews
Profile Image for katie ❀.
120 reviews479 followers
Want to read
May 7, 2021
i'm a simple person—i see sapphics on a cover, and i add it.
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,715 followers
October 19, 2021
3.50 A solid debut. This book was one of my most anticipated books of 2021, so I was very excited to get my hands on it. While I did like the read, it might be a case of my expectations being too high as I didn’t enjoy this like I was hoping to. It is an above average debut, and definitely an entertaining read, but I just didn’t connect to it like I had hoped for.

This is a YA, cyberpunk, sci-fi read staring LGBTQ characters. I was really excited about the ‘heiress and the outlaw’ storyline and what adventures were to come with that pairing. On the good side, this is well written for a debut. There were issues for me, which I will explain later, but this futuristic world was very interesting and had a ton of potential. This is a reasonably long book but I flew though it since it is very high action. The pace is super quick and I was absolutely entertained for the entire read.

The big problem for me was that besides all the action and entertainment, I didn’t really care for anything else. My first issue was calling this a YA book. The characters are said to be 17 and 18, which does not fit into the level of skill, and life experiences that they were supposed to have lived already. One character has lost her great love who she dated for maybe a year? These characters really should have been at least mid-20’s, for any of their backgrounds to really make sense. Trying to force this book into the YA box made no sense at all to me.

My biggest issue was the characters. Like the world that Winn created, these characters had so much potential but instead they felt very wooden to me. Riven, is the kind of badass character I would normally love but it was really hard to connect with her. Almost every peak into her inner thoughts was constant contradictions and it just got old very fast. It wasn’t just Riven I could not connect to, it was all the other characters too. When you are reading a book and you don’t care if all the characters make it out alive or not, then you know there is an issue. I think the one character I cared about the most was in this cryo-medical sleep pod almost the whole book so not sure what that really says.

While I would not call this a romance, there is a bisexual love triangle that I was not a fan of. If you are going to do a love triangle at least make it good and angsty, this triangle didn’t seem to have a point. It is clear that character A and character B are starting to catch feels. Character C has a crush on character B and starts kissing them. Character B kisses character C back but during the kissing is actually thinking about how they like character A instead. Kissing one person while thinking of the other just made it icky and it seemed like character B just kissed character C back because it was convenient. Not only that but there was no chemistry at all between character B and C and instead it felt like a sibling relationship. A and B have a little love/hate chemistry going on, it wasn’t much chemistry, but at least they had something together.

TLDR: A well written debut that had its share of bumps. The action and sci-fi scenes are well done and very entertaining. However, the characters and relationships need some work. This is YA, but characters don’t seem to fit these younger ages and should have been 25 instead. There is a small bisexual love triangle, but this book doesn’t really have a ‘romance’. There is also a slight cliffhanger, but the main story is complete and I am happy with the ending so as of now I would not read a sequel. I believe that Winn’s writing will only get better so I might change my mind in the future.

A copy was given to me for a review.
Profile Image for Lucie V..
975 reviews1,797 followers
December 6, 2022
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you North Star Editions). All thoughts and opinions are my own.

✅ Gorgeous cover
✅ Plot
✅ Action
✅ Main characters
✅ Ruthless crime syndicates
✅ Pace
✅🆗 Betrayals and secrets
🆗 Secondary characters
🆗 Identity of the "villain"
❗️❗️ Cliffhanger

Strong 3.5 stars

Asa had never expected to finish the day as a hired criminal.

Asanna is the daughter and heiress of Luca Almeida, head of a high-tech empire. When her father goes too far and puts Asa's sister's (Kaya) life in danger, she realizes that he will stop at nothing to gain more power, even if it means hurting and killing innocent people. Asa flees her home after stealing a key piece of her father’s new top-secret project. Now she needs to escape from her father’s bounty hunter, and find a way to get to Earth to meet with the only person able to stop her father’s dark project and save Asa's sister. Things do not go as planned when Asa ends up stranded in Requiem, where a deadly computer virus follows her and threatens the safety of everyone if Asa does not give up what she stole from her father's lab.

“You know the adage about how bad things always happen to good people?” Riven opened the door, unleashing a flood of jarring bass. The gemstone skull on her face glimmered under the galaxy of colored lights. “I figure we’re safe”

Riven is a thief, smuggler, and badass member of a crime syndicate who needs to get a lot of money real fast after failing her last mission or she will be killed by her matriarch. Riven is willing to do almost anything to find herself at the top of Requiem's criminal society. She and her crew might find the perfect occasion to get rich and famous when they get ahold of the infamous Almeida's heir.

My only complaint about the characters is more about the secondary characters. While Asa and Riven are very interesting and dynamic, the secondary characters lack depth and development. They are a part of the story and they are distinct with their own set of skills and personalities, but their development was lacking and I didn't get attached to them that much even though they are full of potential. Because of that lack of depth, it's harder to feel the "found family" vibe of their little group. Hopefully, we will see more of them in the next book.

The city of shattered light. The place Kaya had wanted to start her life over. Despite the rumors, Asa couldn't deny it was beautiful.

The writing is good and immersing. The descriptions of the setting and the use of futuristic technology are very interesting and well presented. There is no info dump, and the information that we need to know is presented clearly as the book progresses. The description of Requiem is so vivid and colorful, I could picture it and I really loved the ruthless, chaotic, and exotic vibe of this place. The cyberpunk-influenced world-building was really interesting and that says a lot because I am picky when it comes to reading sci-fi.

"I hate this place."
"Yeah? It probably hates you too. You might think you're too good for Requiem, but you'd better damn respect it. It'll devour you otherwise.

The plot is original and has a certain complexity. It might seem like a simple heist or revenge story at first, but it becomes more complex as the story moves forward. The pace is fast and there is a lot of action, once I got into this book, I had a hard time putting it down. City of Shattered light is full of dangerous conflicts and life or death situations and it is very engaging.

There are a few betrayals in this book, and it kept me on my toes, but I am a little disappointed because the identity of the real “villain” behind the Winterdark project was not a surprise for me. Somehow I had my doubt from the very beginning, so even though it was a nice plot twist, I was expecting it.

Overall, this is a very good and surprising sci-fi story. The writing is smooth, the pace is fast and the plot is engaging and full of twists and action scenes. The main characters are interesting and there is even a touch of romance among all the fighting and scheming, and I enjoyed reading it!

Right now, she was part of one of the galaxy’s biggest crime syndicates—a thief, a runaway, a liar. She was a nobody.
And she fit right in.

Follow me on Instagram 🙂
Profile Image for Shay ☆ .
104 reviews135 followers
January 4, 2022
4.7 stars. spoiler-free!
Buddy read with Trisha (click here for Trisha's review) & Ritz (click here for Ritz's review)!

"Right now, she was a part of one of the galaxy's biggest crime syndicates--a thief, a runaway, a liar. She was a nobody. And she fit right in."

nobody : h-
me : wow that was INTENSE. so much action. absolutely CRAZILY INTENSE chapter. i need a break. everything is so INTENSE. did i mention how INTENSE this book is?

This is an electrifying cyberpunk debut novel that is all bark & all bite.

If the cover gives you (takes a deep breath), kick-ass gun-wielding protagonist, evil AI threatening the existence of a planet, runaway heiress who is a tech genius, organ piracy, interstellar fugitives on a mission, angsty bisexual romance, you're right.

Also, this book would be a bomb-ass Marvel movie.

Winn's world-building is out of this world, literally. The setting for this book spans 3 different planets; Requiem : a neon, vibrant, full-of-life planet overrun by crime syndicates, Cortellion : a crisp, elite planet overflowing with the most sophisticated technology across the galaxy & plain old Earth. The VARIETY of setting in this book is phenomenal. Her writing was graphic & lifelike but never felt too descriptive or saturated. Perfect for painting a brilliant picture of the worlds she's so cleverly crafted.

There are scenes that take place in hangars, run-down streets, spherical arenas, bass-booming nightclubs, sky-scraping palaces, spaceships, shiny cold labs...I could go on & on. The creativity from the locations alone blows my mind.

I loved how distinct the characters were. Riven was an gun-wielding angry whirlwind, a turbulence. She's like a durian, all spikes on the outside but inside, she's soft & sweet. She loves more fiercely than anyone & would tear the world apart to keep her loved ones safe. Asa's biggest asset aren't weapons but her knowledge. Her mind is as deadly as any of Riven's guns. While both characters had depth, I think Asa won this match. I related a lot more to Asa's insecurities & dilemmas. It was amazing to see how Riven rubbed off on her, helping her break out of her shell to shine brighter than she ever expected.

The romance. oh my god. I was shipping everybody WITH everybody. I shipped Riven & Morphett so hard. I still do. Also, Ty & Asa's chemistry is LETHAL. I need them together. I need it. Sorry, Claire :/

⤷ This book is the definition of the plot thickens . It was an absolute page-turner. The action never stopped. There was no drag at all, no unnecessary section. It was mission after mission. Action-packed has never been more of an understatement. My poor heart was suffering so much.

A creative & riveting plot-line built upon the most unique premise.

So why -0.3 stars?
As amazing as this book was, there was a huge flaw I couldn't get over. It was the confusion that often arose during the action sequences. There were too many characters doing too many things at the same time. There wasn't enough explicit statements/descriptions about where each of the characters were & whether the dialogue was happening in real-life or through their 'comms'(basically, their communication devices). I often found myself thinking where did this character come from? or wait, wasn't this character already here? It really slowed down the reading process because I often had to go back & re-read. Another one was the switching POVs. At first, it was easy to tell as both in different places. When they were together, the switching POVs became confusing at times.

Overall, I recommend this to everyone, not just sci-fi lovers. I thought sci-fi wasn't really my cup of tea, but damn, this book certainly was.

〖 Follow me on Instagram (@shashaybooks)! 〗

Thank you so much to Flux Books for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for human.
640 reviews987 followers
Want to read
March 26, 2021
i promised myself that i wouldn't read any books with the word 'shatter' in the title after this dumpster fire, but after some reconsideration*, i have decided to make an exception.

*i saw the cover
Profile Image for Claire.
Author 3 books131 followers
March 22, 2022
UPDATE 3/2022: The sequel is a go! You can add City of Vicious Night here!

Author’s note (content warnings at the bottom!)

This is the unexpected, scrappy-underdog book of my heart, with characters who already feel like old friends and a world that still pervades my dreams. City of Shattered Light is infused with so many of my favorite things—a ride-or-die disaster team, crystal-scarred cityscapes with Final Fantasy vibes, enigmatic and bloodthirsty villains, and a violently-colored cyberpunk world teeming with danger and adventure.

The whole team. Art by Dri Gomez!

But beneath the flashy firefights and banter, the story heads down some darker paths.

It’s ultimately a story about loss, survival, and found family. Riven’s a broken girl who hides the chip on her shoulder behind a sharp tongue and a pair of revolvers; Asa is a brilliant ex-heiress fleeing not only from bounty hunters, but from her deep, harrowing guilt.

This book is about rejecting the shape the world tries to force you into. It’s about discovering your truest self under pressure, and it’s about finding the people you’re willing to give up everything for.

Here’s a few questions I often get, and some content warnings below.

Does it have romance?
Not as the main plotline, but yes! The book contains a bisexual love triangle (M/F and F/F, with both girls as the POV characters—no melodrama, don’t worry) and some side M/M. It's set in a future where queer romance and attraction are normalized. The two POV characters, Asa and Riven, are both unapologetically bisexual.

(there’s also a secret third POV chapter, but you’ll have to discover that for yourself 😉)

Will there be a sequel?
I really hope so! For now, it's a standalone--but I will say that the sequel is written and I adore it. We won't know whether it will be published until a few months after CoSL releases. So cross your fingers!
[UPDATE: Yes, there's a sequel!]

Is this adult or YA?
It’s being marketed and published as older YA (specifically for readers aged 14-18), but there’s definitely crossover appeal; it’s resonated with many adult readers as well!

Content/trigger warnings: strong language (3 f-bombs, if you're curious), gun violence, death, blood, mild gore, emotional abuse/manipulation, mild body horror (cybernetics), references to suicide, terminal illness, drug and alcohol references.

And, if you’re worried about queer found family in a darker story, here’s a sorta-spoiler: <3

I can’t wait for this world to become yours, too.
79 reviews225 followers
January 27, 2022

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I’m severely disappointed. And I was really, really excited for this. Based on the synopsis and gorgeous cover, this book was going to be full of incredible characters, a sapphic romance, a vivid cyperpunk world, cutthroat criminals, found family, and rich descriptions that brought the story to life. If you were expecting that, you’re going to be disappointed.

To start, the characters made absolutely no sense. They were bland, unoriginal, and if there was anything going for them, it was shoved in your face * cough * Riven. Their motivations were pretty much nonexistent, and anything that was said or that would begin to take place eventually contradicted itself.

I wish Asa had more personality or defining traits. She didn’t seem realistic or three-dimensional, and since I had no attachment to her, I couldn’t care less about what happened to her. She didn’t make me feel anything at all. She was kind of just there, and that’s a problem for a main character. All I remember about her is that she’s soft and naive and somehow, a bunch of supposedly vicious criminals were willing to risk their lives for her.

Riven, on the other hand, annoyed me immensely. She tried so hard to be badass and literally didn’t do anything to prove it. She had two guns that she named–yes, she named them–and rarely used. I’m not saying that she needed to kill more people in order to make her a better character, but she went around pointing her guns a lot and not actually using them, so they must’ve been empty threats. She was all bark and no bite. Riven was basically Trying to Act Mysterious and Edgy but Failing Miserably™ the entire time. Her dialogue felt stilted, and her motivations were unclear. Everything about her character was like “look at me but don’t look at me! I’m cOoL and DaRk and I’ve experienced ~trauma~ but don’t ask me about it, just let me sulk in peace!” I wanted to like her, but I was constantly irritated instead.

I also wish we’d gotten to see more of the other characters. I couldn’t picture the ragtag squad I was supposed to be rooting for. I felt completely disconnected from the world and the story. I can’t place my finger on what it was in particular, probably a combination of everything, but I felt like I was spectating instead of completely immersed within the book.

The worldbuilding definitely needed more depth, and that contributed to the lacking sense I felt while reading. We got small glimpses of the gleaming cities and dangerous streets, but it wasn’t enough to bring it to life on the page. I understand that it wasn’t supposed to be focused on worldbuilding anyways, but I feel like I might’ve enjoyed this more if there had been more of an atmosphere to go off of. It's sci-fi, so I usually prefer more description over less, but that may just be me. What was the culture like? Politics? History? It needed more.

The writing could use improvement as well. There were several grammar or spelling mistakes from what I remember, and it didn’t describe the setting or convey the characters’ inner thoughts enough. The action scenes were infrequent, despite the synopsis, and I was sometimes confused as to what was happening while reading them. The plot was okay, unique, but I couldn’t feel the stakes.

My main problem with this book was the nonexistent sapphic romance. I went into this specifically wanting to read something sapphic, but no, we got two characters with absolutely zero chemistry and an extra love triangle thrown in because why not! The worst part was that it wasn’t even a sapphic love triangle. Some of the problem is probably my expectations and high standards for the book, but did we need the love triangle? It was completely unnecessary, and it took away from the story as a whole. Those words could’ve been used building some semblance of chemistry between the two main characters

I’m frustrated at both the book and myself for my high expectations.

1.5 stars.
Profile Image for Ritz.
170 reviews48 followers
September 15, 2021
Huge thanks to Netgalley, as well as North Star Editions for sending me an ARC of ‘City of Shattered Light’ in exchange for an honest, unbiased review! All quotes in this review are subject to change upon release date.

Find my blog post (review & moodboard) here: https://livinglovingandreading.wordpr...

I buddy-read this book with Trisha and Shay (I’ve linked to their reviews!)

Cyberpunk, sapphic, diverse, good-hearted criminals and found family. What more do I need? This book was amazing. I’m so impressed and believe me when I say I was shocked by the end of this. What a twist. If the synopsis didn’t sell you on this, just take a look at the cover. It’s so gorgeous (okay, I may or may not be obsessed . . . )

"That left Riven, outnumbered.

But she’d never be outgunned."

Riven is exactly the type of character I needed to read about. She’s a gun-slinging, badass, take-no-crap kind of girl. I absolutely loved reading about her, and although she could be a little cold at times, she’s fiercely loyal and could actually be really nice.She’s the type of character that rarely shows her feelings and I was basically begging her to open up to people throughout this book. She can definitely be reckless, but she has good motivations and just wants to protect her family (which was so sweet, the whole found family element in this book was just amazing and so wholesome.) Overall, I found her personality to be pretty unique and I enjoyed reading about her, especially when she showed her love and care for her friends.

Her relationship with Samir and Ty was the sweetest thing ever (I don’t care what people say, I’m calling them siblings). Samir being her protective older brother and Ty being her younger one that she just has to protect. And the slow way she became friends with Asa was perfectly done, and true to both of their personalities.

Also, the fact that she’s apart of a crime syndicate is so cool.

"Right now, she was a part of one of the galaxy’s biggest crime syndicates–a thief, a runaway, a liar. She was a nobody.

And she fit right in."

Asa was my type of girl. She’s smart, she has a kickass brain, and you gotta love her. She goes through so much character development and I really enjoyed watching it. I probably enjoyed her perspective more than Riven’s, just because it seemed a bit more interesting. She goes from a shy, naive girl who just wants to meet her father’s high expectations to someone who knows that they are enough (I love the messages the author is sending with this book, they’re all so relatable and positive).

Something I didn’t like, though, was the lack of complexity for the side characters. I always want likable and interesting side characters so I was disappointed in that aspect of the book. Ty, Samir and Diego were likable and sweet but the author barely went into their personalities and motivations which I didn’t like. The book would have improved a lot if she went into more depth.

I loved the romance, despite the love triangle between Asa, Riven and Ty. I really liked how it was a minor thing throughout the story and the only time it’s prominent is the end. There was so much tension and I was there for it. To be honest, though, I felt like Asa and Ty had more chemistry than Asa and Riven, which sounds kind of weird.

"You might think you’re too good for Requiem, but you’d better damn respect it. It’ll devour you otherwise."

The world-building was incredible. The author took cyberpunk and put an incredible, unique spin on it. I’ve never described worldbuilding as vibrant, but that’s what I think about when I think of this book. Claire Winn created a gorgeous world of Requiem, a lively, colorful, and ruthless planet filled with criminals, Cortellion, a prim, upper-class world with the best technology in the galaxy, and regular ol’ Earth.The way these places were described, the changes in mood when traveling to different planets, were all amazing. The descriptions were amazing, I could clearly imagine everything in my mind.

The writing was gorgeous. It wasn’t flowery at all, just vividly descriptive and I loved it. The dialogue were perfect and simple. Also, I loved the humor.

"When all the world has burnt, even the ashes feel like home."

This plot never stops. It’s filled with twists and turns and betrayals that will break your heart. There are so many details wedged into each sentence and you never know what’s important. There are so many things happening at any given time. This book fills you with excitement and sadness and literally everything. The ending is heartbreaking and yay, it’s a cliffhanger because authors hate us.

Unfortunately, it was pretty easy to guess who the real antagonist was. I wish I had been kept on my toes throughout the mystery, but it was obvious who it was (or maybe that’s just me since I watch a lot of mystery).

Is it weird that I need the 2nd book to come out when the first hasn’t even come out yet? Overall, City of Shattered Light was an electrifying cyber-punk debut novel by the talented author Claire Winn. I’m excited to read the sequel.

"The city of shattered light. The place Kaya had wanted to start her life over. Despite the rumors, Asa couldn't deny it was beautiful."


Ahh my first ARC request that was accepted, I'm so excited, hopefully this turns out to be good!
Profile Image for Maddie (Inking & Thinking).
170 reviews127 followers
July 2, 2021
⭐️ 4 Stars ⭐️

When I was scrolling through NetGalley to request some newly released ARCs, this one caught my eye. The cover was so pretty, and so I clicked on it to read more. The Synopsis sounded super interesting, and it sounds like it would be promising. A sci-fi sapphic romance sounded right up my alley. I don’t usually read sci-fi, but I decided to give it a try. Let me tell you that this book did not disappoint, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

The worldbuilding was well constructed, and it was clear that the author took the time to do her research. The world was very vibrant, full of technological advancements, and it creates colorful pictures in my mind while reading. Requiem was a lively planet that was ruthless, colorful, and full of many low lives. Whereas, Cortellion was an upper-class area filled with the rich and far more advanced technology. And lastly, earth.

I could picture what each planet looked like, and Winn’s writing helps to put more details into my pictures. When going from each planet, it was like a new song would play. Requiem would be like hard rock with some dubstep, Cortellion would be like classical music with various instruments coming in and out, and earth would be a wide variety of music.

The locations of where scenes would occur are well thought out! From hangars, run-down streets, clubs, and many more! Having all these different locations brought more depth to the world allowed it more fleshed out and like a real place where someone could live.

The pacing of this book was excellent, and there was never a moment where I was bored. The plot never slowed down, but rather it just kept going and going. It flowed smoothly, and there were never any bumps in the road. The action never stopped and kept going. The plot was filled with twists and betrayals that I would have never expected in a million years. The story was original, unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and was full of intricate little details. Everything was connected flawlessly, and it wasn’t just a heist-type story like Six of Crows, but rather, it has other side stories about the characters and the world.

I’m going to use a comparison to describe the main characters and side characters. So you know how when your painting something, you have to use multiple layers. And if you don’t use more than one coat, then it comes in light and is not fully covered. The protagonists were layered with many coats, but the side characters only had one layer falling flat.

Riven is a formidable opponent that takes nothing from nobody and can come off as cold sometimes but is extremely loyal to those she loves. There were many times where I wish she would open up, and those little moments when she did made me so happy. She was reckless, leaving everything on the line, but she has good intentions for it, which are to protect her family. Honestly, she is such a unique character, and I loved reading her perspective.

In Requiem, Asa may not seem that much of a threat, but she truly is. Even though she may not seem that much of a physical threat, she can beat anyone in the mental game. At the beginning of the book, Asa is wide-eyed, not knowing what the world is truly like, but wants to live up to her father. But as the book progresses, Asa no longer wants to appease her father and does what she wants to. She wants to live her own life and make decisions for herself. Her perspective was far more interesting to me than Riven’s, and I got so excited whenever I got to read her part.

You may be wondering why this book isn’t five stars? The side characters were not developed enough and didn’t have enough layers to them. I would have loved to learn more about Ty, Samir, and Diego. They were likable characters, but without that development, they fell flat. I would have liked more scenes to give them more personality or give them some backstories to explore.

I loved the element of romance in this book, and I didn’t mind the love triangle. I kind of enjoyed it, which is surprising, to say the least. The love triangle didn’t play that much into the plot until the last third. I felt like Ty and Asa had more connections compared to Riven and Asa. Ty and Asa had more romantic scenes and were into each other more. Even though the main romance is supposed to be Riven and Asa, the other relationship worked better.

Overall, this was a fast-paced read with lots of action set in a dangerous vibrant world with an enjoyable main character but lacked when it came to the side characters.

TW: strong language, gun violence, death, blood, mild gore, emotional abuse/manipulation, mild body horror (cybernetics), references to suicide, terminal illness, drug and alcohol references.

Thank you to NetGallery for providing me an ARC of City of Shattered Light in exchange for an honest review!

Check out my review on my blog: https://inkingandthinking.wordpress.c...
Profile Image for Renaissance Kate.
239 reviews125 followers
Shelved as 'to-finish-later'
October 20, 2021
The author: If you love disaster sapphics, Six of Crows-style heist teams, and vibrant cyberpunk worlds, give it a try!

Me: Say no more.

Thank you to North Star Editions/Flux via Netgalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Harrow.
313 reviews39 followers
April 8, 2021
The best thing about this book is that it was an action-packed, quick read. I liked the unique world building with exciting plot. The faced paced action scenes definitely did not disappoint. But that is all I liked about the book.

Most characters in this book were not fully explored. A little bonding between the crew might have made me care more about the characters and their dynamics. Other than the fast pace and the intense action scenes, nothing in the book worked for me. I wasn't very invested in the characters or the storyline.

I didn't connect with either of the main characters. Riven, especially was hard to like sometimes and she didn't make much sense to me. For instance, she kept changing her opinion on Asa over and over.

I didn't much care about the love triangle or either of the ships, even though I was really hoping to love the sapphic one. But it was just okay for me. On the plus there wasn't any drama but the love triangle didn't feel fully resolved by the end of the book either.

Overall, it was an okay read for me. Not sure if I will read book two.

Copy provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.
Profile Image for tappkalina.
650 reviews402 followers
November 6, 2022
The way I thought at the beginning that this will be a 4 star is making it even more of a disappointment.

This book failed to make me feel anything. The characters lacked of dimension, the world building could have been interesting with more explanation, the plot was predictable, the end was cringe, and don't let me start on how I came for a sapphic relationship and got a central m/f where the girl was simultaneously flirting with two people (hence the side f/f) but didn't really have chemistry with neither of them.
Profile Image for Jude in the Stars.
850 reviews467 followers
October 14, 2021
City of Shattered Light is Claire Winn’s debut novel, a pretty exciting and promising debut. It’s longer than many books I’ve read lately but I read it in a couple of days, I didn’t want to put it down.

Asanna Almeida is the heir to her father’s tech company. All she’s ever known is her sheltered life on Cortellion with her beloved sister Kaya. When it becomes clear that her father is pushing the experiments on Kaya’s brain too far, the sisters plan their escape. On Cortellion’s moon Requiem, Riven Hawthorne is a smuggler trying to build up a reputation so she can protect her crew. The (former) rich girl and the outlaw and her friends join forces when a murderous A.I. creates chaos all around them.

It took a few pages to get used to this world but it was surprisingly easy. Claire Winn drops the reader in the middle of the action right from the start and never lets go, not giving her characters or the readers much time to catch their breath. One of the chapters is titled “Prison, Again”, and it’s a good summary of everything Asa, Riven, and the crew go through while trying to save Kaya and the people of Requiem. Whenever they think they finally made it, something happens to hold them back.

I have conflicting feelings about this book, though mostly positive ones. I enjoyed reading it, letting myself get carried away in a breathless adventure. As I wrote above, I read it pretty quickly yet felt it dragging a little at times. I liked the characters, even if Riven isn’t completely consistent and the rest of the crew – except sweet Ty, who is close to being a third MC – could be more developed. Also, I’m not sure why they’re all so young. The main characters are seventeen and eighteen. It doesn’t feel right all the time, there are moments in the story where it seemed they should have been closer to twenty-five. It doesn’t really matter but I wonder why the author chose to write them so young. It seems really gory for a YA novel.

That said, I liked the deeper questions the story asks: Who can you trust? Is it wrong to be trusting? Are you responsible for a terrible event your work made possible if you didn’t know anything about it? It’s all about lessons learned and growing as a individual and as part of a team.

Since City of Shattered Light (I like this title a lot) is a YA novel, the romance – a bisexual love triangle – is there but on the light side. It’s not the main focus of the action, which is saving Asa’s sister and the world at the same time.

The epilogue leaves the door open to a sequel, and I’m looking forward to it. And if you’re curious to see what the characters look like, the author introduces them in this Twitter thread (and here for Riven).

I received a copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for May.
112 reviews28 followers
February 22, 2022
Read this book if you like:
↝Bi love triangle
↝Strong female leads
↝Multi-layered plots
↝Loveable found family

Writing and Plot: I was BLOWN AWAY by the way this book was written. The world-building was beautifully done and helped me imagine as someone who struggles with imagery. All the twists left me shook and on my toes for more.

Asa: I absolutely love Asa!!! She was your “I get looked down on because of my look and reputation but I’m actually a badass mechanic who’s head-strong” and I lived for it. Her character growth was so satisfying to see.

Riven: Riven is the “badass with a gun and impulsive choices who’s dealing with illness” She made questionable decisions but that simply made her more real and a vulnerable character. I loved how she held herself and others.

Diego, Ty, and Samir: I wished they had a bit more development but the side characters really added to the story. The little banters and communication really created a fabulous found family.

It was meh? The love triangle added nothing but I don’t hate it.

Thank you Netgalley and North Star Editions/Flux books for the arc in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Bhavya .
476 reviews872 followers
Shelved as 'on-hold'
November 4, 2021
BR with Nash & Stuti. <33

Profile Image for Fanna.
992 reviews505 followers
Want to read
March 11, 2021
March 10, 2021: The power this cover holds. Also, it's all about a "heiress who must join forces with a smuggler to outwit a monstrous AI to save her sister and their city" so it's one of those BLURB & COVER, BOTH ARE PERFECT.

August 21, 2020: We're being offered a neon-drenched sci-fi with monstrous AI and criminal hierarchy and SO I AM HERE WAITING FOR THIS
Profile Image for charlotte,.
3,132 reviews820 followers
September 12, 2021
On my blog.

Rep: bi mcs, biracial Japanese-Portuguese mc, gay side characters, nonbinary side character

Galley provided by publisher

It is hard to put into words how little I cared about reading City of Shattered Light. I don’t know what it was, whether it was my mood, or something about the book itself, but I just didn’t care about the characters, or the plot, or anything at all. None of it interested me.

So, really, this review is probably not a good yardstick for working out if you want to read this book. It’s a perfectly decent book, I’m sure. It just came up against me as its reader.

But let me try to put into some words at least why I felt like this. If I can.

First and foremost, I think my problem was that there was a lot going on that had very little basis to it. For example, if you’re going to push a relationship on me, I have to see both characters wanting it, or if you’re going to have me believe that

And I think the same was true of the worldbuilding, because it felt very much like a lot of vibes and not much basis. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, I know, and the plot didn’t rely too heavily on worldbuilding which wasn’t there, but it did, at times, feel lacking in that respect. It wasn’t a lot, so I think this one I can chalk up more to mood or tastes in general: I just want my science fiction to have a bit more depth to its world than this did. Mostly because I find that filling out the world contributes to the characters also feeling more rounded.

And then there’s the fact that the development of the f/f relationship, which I’m supposed to be rooting for, is part of a very lopsided love triangle. In the sense that the m/f relationship gets all the development, and the f/f basically none. Which wouldn’t be such a problem (it’s not a standalone after all), but for the fact that

So, I come full circle into the most annoying part of this book: the lack of established motivations. There’s absolutely no emotional payoff for this scene, because there’s absolutely no set up to it. I don’t want to keep harping on about it (but I can tell I’m going to), but it makes no sense to have your final emotional beat be something you haven’t even set up for. You want this to be a big angsty ending, but I just don’t feel a thing. (Although, admittedly, here it may have helped if I’d cared about the characters in the first place…)

But in the end, what I’m left with, is yet another YA SFF novel that has let me down.
Profile Image for MZ.
423 reviews102 followers
November 1, 2021
3.5 stars. A good debut book, but it had the potential to be more. I loved the worldbuilding, the plot, the tech, and action parts. But the characters and the character development didn’t work for me which took away part of my enjoyment. Considering that this is a debut book I think this author made a very good start. This appears to be the first book in a series although the story is nicely wrapped up and can be read as a standalone if you don’t want to commit to a series.

I can’t say much about the plot as it is so easy to spoil, but you follow Asa (third person narration, first POV), an heiress to a tech magnate whose experiments on his other daughter (Kaya) went too far. Asa escapes her planet to save her sister and has to learn to survive outside the safe environment she’s used to. During her mission she encounters the Boomslang crew. Their leader is Riven (the other MC and second POV), a gun slinging outlaw who wants to establish a name for herself with her loyal crew at her side.

One thing that I immediately noticed, and this has been mentioned by other reviewers as well, is the mismatch of age and behavior. The MCs and their friends are supposed to be 17-18-year-olds, but this absolutely does not make sense. They have so much baggage and experience, they should be at least in their mid-twenties. Also, the story is pretty hardcore and gory at times, which I do not directly associate with a YA book.

The next thing that I was struggling with was the characters themselves. First of all, Riven. I think the author was aiming for a dangerous and morally grey character, but I didn’t like her and her actions and thoughts were often all over the place, so I had no idea what made her tick and it was hard to find redeemable character traits.
Asa was more consistent, but even she had her moments that puzzled me. These moments were mainly related to the small romance that plays out. One minute she was crushing on one person and the other minute on the other and the whole thing ended up in some sort of a love triangle. Maybe this is youthful indecision, but it didn’t work for me, I like to be able to root for a couple. Even a love triangle can be ok, but then there should be balance and I felt that one person was being used in this scenario.
Since this is about a crew, also the other characters are of importance and while I liked Ty, he was very sweet, I thought they were all a bit flat.

So, the worldbuilding and storyline were great, but the characters prevented me from connecting to the story for a long time. However, around the last third of the book did I get invested in the story to that level that I really needed to continue reading and I felt that also the characters were improving (which is why I’m rounding my rating up). I’m looking forward to what this author will bring in the future!

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for atlas ♡.
121 reviews117 followers
May 9, 2021
Thank you to Netgalley & North Star Editions/Flux books for an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

This is a YA sci-fi debut novel. It starts out with our clever heiress, Asa Alemdia. Riven Hawthrone is a girl trying to find a place for herself in their society even if that means stealing from or cheating others.

Claire Winn's writing was incredibly captivating. The world building was great. I really enjoyed the fast pace of this novel. There wasn't a moment when I wasn't kept interested. Even the imagery was very nice, painting vibrate pictures in my head. The characters dynamics and relationships with each other was definitely a highlight. The queer found family was so much lot of fun. I feel that the secondary characters needed more development. I'm hoping for more about them in the sequel. There was a surprise love triangle with a guy which I find a bit odd since it wasn't mentioned in the blurb at all. Love triangles aren't my favorite trope and this didn't change my mind about them.

If you want queer found family, love triangles, heists, or bi sapphics then definitely consider reading this. Overall this was a really fun read and I definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Andy.
2,412 reviews192 followers
May 15, 2023
Reread in anticipation of City of Vicious Night!!

Also I thought there was not a lot of hints that Asa and Riven were interested in each other, but I was definitely wrong, because these two were so gay for each other. Dying.
Thank you so much to the author and Flux books for an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

City of Shattered Light is a cyberpunk space heist. Asa Almeida has been trying to prove to her father that she's worthy to take over the company. But when she finds out he's used her sister to program a new form of AI, Asa knows she has to rescue her. As Asa runs away with her sister's brain in tow, she's pursued by a rogue bounty hunter and crashes into the outlaw drenched paradise, Requiem.

Riven Hawthorne has been climbing her way up Requiem's underworld hierarchy. When a critical job of hers goes wrong, Riven knows she needs something to prove her worth: catching a runaway rich girl could do the trick. But as Asa flees she unleashes a hybrid AI/computer virus into Requiem. The two will have to team up if they have any hope of surviving and saving Asa's sister.

This book was absolutely incredible! The first couple chapters are a great build up, we see some of the atrocities Almeida industries has committed. But then the plot takes off and skyrockets the action. I swear once things get going they do not stop in this book. There was so much going on, it was such an adventure.

I will forever be pining over Asa joining Riven's crew. I love found family so much and this book delivers on that aspect! The action never stops in this book. There was always constant movement whether it was a plot twist, sneaky reveal or character development. Riven is 100% a feral queer and a chaos bisexual. Asa is also a chaos bisexual but she's also a computer genius. I love seeing female computer geniuses! The dynamic between these two was so fun, I loved seeing them get closer and learn to trust each other.

Loved this so much!! There better be a sequel! *Cries*

Rep: Chronically ill white bisexual cis female MC, BIPOC (Asian coded, most likely Filipina) bisexual cis female MC, gay BIPOC male side characters (Western Asian coded), achillean BIPOC (Latino coded) cis male side character, side character with cybernetic implants, queer normative world.

CWs: Alcohol consumption, blood, body horror (forced cybernetic implants), chronic illness, cursing, death, gaslighting, grief, gun violence, injury/injury detail, medical content, medical trauma, terminal illness, violence. Moderate: suicidal thoughts, gore, kidnapping.
Profile Image for julia ☆ [owls reads].
1,560 reviews311 followers
September 20, 2021
I think if you go into City of Shattered Light expecting to read a lesbian Sci-Fi adventure, you're going to be severely disappointed. I know I was.

City of Shattered Light was action packed and fast paced, but it didn't deliver what it promised. The premise made it seem like we'd be reading a story about Asa and Riven, unlikely allies, going on a dangerous journey together while facing a common enemy and falling in love along the way. That was not what happened.

There were a lot of action scenes and the plot did focus a lot on the dangerous situations Asa and Riven--and all the secondary characters--found themselves in. Those were probably the most exciting parts of the book, but the quick jump from one situation to the next made it so, at a certain point, things didn't seem like they mattered much anymore. There wasn't a lot of build up to some of them so the emotional pay off didn't land as it should have.

Regarding the romance, I'm going to come right out and say this isn't, yet, a lesbian-focused Sci-Fi novel like the premise made it seem. Asa and Riven didn't get together until after the 95% mark. Before that, there was no development of their relationship because Asa was romantically involved with a male character. After that, there was no development of their relationship because the book was over. I do believe that relationship is going to grow and be explored more in future books, since this one ended in a big cliffhanger, but it still made me feel a little cheated.

I was seriously confused and pretty upset about how this was addressed and the circumstances surrounding Asa and Riven's getting together. It left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth and definitely negatively impacted my reading experience since I came in with expectations that this book was going to heavily focus on a romantic relationship between two women and that didn't happen in this installment.

Sadly, a disappointing read.


ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Moru.
308 reviews28 followers
July 15, 2021
Thank you to North Star Editions for providing me an e-Arc via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What a treat! The cyberpunk elements mixed with black mirror vibes made the story such a fun and immersive book.

The writing is beautifully done. The imagery was amazing. My head was full of glowing, electrified descriptions of the surroundings. It was such a fun ride.

In terms of the plot, I have to say that it was well developed and innovative in a way that makes the reader not want to stop reading. We get to explore the consequences of AI and the way it can affect it on a higher level. But we also get to explore the dynamics between the characters that threaten to break a fragile alliance.


Ty: A first-year medical student with a distaste for violence. He is a pure sweetheart.

Riven: Gun-slinging smuggler. Riven is such a strong female lead. Ngl, she gave me Aelin vibes from tog. She was fierce and ready to protect her loved ones. A badass, take-no-bullshit kind of girl.

Asa: heiress to a powerful tech empire but naive to the atrocities that happen behind curtains. She was such an interesting character to read and her desire to save her sister was well developed.

Overall, this is a very good and electric sci-fi story. The writing is immersive, the pace is fast and the plot is engaging.

Profile Image for Mary.
158 reviews51 followers
October 5, 2021
"When all the world has burnt, even the ashes feel like home."

Thank you Flux and Netgalley for sending me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

4/5 stars!!

Trigger warnings: death, gore, manipulation, emotional abuse, terminal illness, body horror.

I have no words for how spectacular this book was, or how it made me feel while reading it. I was hooked. It´s been a long time since I truly enjoyed a YA novel, let alone sat down and ignored everyone for the sole purpose of finishing. It´s unputdownable and action-packed. Its full of chaos and heists. It has a found family! a queer found family! <3 It was utterly fantastic and everything I was hoping for!

Riven and her crew want nothing more than to have enough money to get by in Requiem´s sprawling city. On the other hand, Asa is heiress to Alameda Industries, a techy corporation in Cortellion: an elite planet, quite the contrary to Requiem, which is brimming with crime syndicates and ruthless matriarchs. As heiress, Asa must decide whether the Industry and the progress it claims to be doing is worth it, or if she should give it up and run away.

"Right now, she was a part of one of the galaxy's biggest crime syndicates--a thief, a runaway, a liar. She was a nobody. And she fit right in."

Asa is such an amazing character. However, even though Asa was the most relatable (to me) I gotta applaud the author´s development of Riven: she is ruthless and unapologetically ambitious. She considers paths other characters probably wouldn´t take and is not afraid to use her guns. She is the very definition of hard on the outside and soft on the inside. We are living for it.

That being said, I did relate to Asa much more than Riven: her struggle to stand up to her father, the desire of being validated, her talent being acknowledged. She has a tremendous development throughout the course of the book. She misses the privileges she had:a warm bed, knowing her only preoccupation was failing her exams, etc and yet, she is willing to do everything for her sister. She is looked down upon but she is one of the most intelligent characters out there. I wish I were half as good with machines as she is: I barely even know how to print, it´s a struggle.

I loved the crew. I think that, whilst being a bit underdeveloped (compared to Asa and Riven) they were written well. Ty (don´t ask me why I pictured him as Rio from Money Heist) is pretty much an antithesis to Riven: he refuses to use a gun, kill or hurt other people and trained to become a medic. (Can we also just take a moment to appreciate the fact that he is afraid of germs??? Whilst being a medic???) I loved Samir and Diego (and their lil puppy). But most importantly: I loved the crew´s banter . It was immaculate. I can´t say much about it, but Riven and Samir´s interactions were gold.

"You know the adage about how bad things always happen to good people?"Riven opened the door, unleashing a flood of jarring bass. The gemstone skull on her face glimmered under the galaxy of colored lights.“I figure we’re safe”

The world-building is clear and precise. Requiem: a city full of violent syndicates, run by ruthless matriarchs and Duchesses. Cortellion an elite planet full of technological advances (and evil AIs) and Earth. It´s a rich book and I´d be lying if I said I didn´t want to go to Requiem´s nightclubs and hangars with the sole purpose of creating my own little gang and pissing off some matriarchs. I´d be killed in less than a day, but I think it would be worth it.

Besides its incredible world building and wonderful, witty and ambitious characters, the book is full of
excitement. As I said before, I really did ignore everyone. There was not a singular moment in which I was bored, no unnecessary moments. Towards the end, I was gripping my Kindle with such force that I´m surprised it didn´t break. It truly was remarkable.

After all that was stated, my only complaint is its predictability. I cannot say much without spoiling, but I can say I knew what would go down from the start. (I´ll edit my review when this comes out to explain why) However, it did not take the fun or the excitement away.

Overall, I truly truly recommend City of Shattered Light: its action packed, it has incredible banter, interactions, romance and rep. I cannot wait for the reactions and most importantly, I´m dying to know what happens next!


EDIT: YESSS! I got it!! I´m collapsing, I´m so excited!


A tech Empire and LGBT characters? I´m in
Profile Image for Aleee (libroslibroslibros).
110 reviews1,709 followers
October 1, 2021
City of shattered light ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Autor: Claire Winn
(Datos de la versión leída)
Idioma: Ingles
Fecha de inicio: 14/09/2021
Fecha de Fin: 26/09/2021
Primero que nada, gracias a Net Galley y North Star Editions por darme la copia avanzada en digital de este libro.
En esta historia conocemos a Asa quien ya está un poco harta y quiere probar que no es la sombra de su papá. Un día, su papá repreogarma la mente de la hermana de Asa, y cuando ella se entera, va a hacer todo lo posible por impedir que su hermana se repreograme para siempre. Inclusive huir, cuando lo hace, encuentra a Riven, otra chica, quien va acompañada y que está dispuesta a ayudarla. Pero claro que nunca nada es así de fácil. Y aquí nos sumergimos en el libro, en este mundo de ciencia ficción mezclado con fantasía y un mini toque de romance. Es una historia bastante entretenida por el mundo y por todos los acontecimientos en este, me cayeron muy bien la mayoría de los personajes. En algunas partes me costaba segurile el hilo a la historia, un poco por el nivel de inglés (que siento es como B2 o C1) y un poco por el cambio de narración. Aunque la verdad lo disfrute bastante y fangirle mucho, ya que hay mucha química y complicidad en este libro. Aunque hay poco romance, vale la pena. En el último 10% del libro me la pase gritando como loca. El libro sale el 19 de Octubre y si eres amante de la ciencia ficción, definitivamente te recomiendo este libro.
Profile Image for Chelsea.
594 reviews90 followers
June 12, 2022
This was a disappointment. The characters felt one-dimensional and the plot was all over the place. Also, I was expecting it to just have a sapphic romance, not a love triangle.
Profile Image for Hannah.
161 reviews102 followers
July 24, 2021

I went into City of Shattered Light knowing nothing other than it was sapphic, it was sci-fi, and it had found family—all of which is the recipe for an amazing book. A captivating tale of adventure and action, City of Shattered Light would appeal to lovers of fast-paced cyberpunk books.

City of Shattered Light is a young adult science fiction novel. It follows two points of view of our main characters—Asa and Riven. Asa is an heiress of a tech company who desperately strives for her father's apporval. Riven is a conwoman who is determined to prove herself and get to the top of society. When Asa's father uploads her sister's brain to an experimental piece of technology, Asa is set on rescuing her. However, in a turn of events, Asa crosses paths with Riven, and they are forced to work together.

The characters in this book were phenomenal. Not only were our main characters fleshed out well, but our side characters were also. I do wish that they had a bit more involvement, but I enjoyed the rag-tag team of characters and their banter. The worldbuilding was also excellent. I was a bit confused at some times, especially since I am new to the science fiction genre, but it was fairly easy to understand and the author made sure to remind us of different elements. The writing was beautifully done and helped capture the vivid imagery of the world. It made me just want to jump into the book and explore it myself (though, that would probably not be the best idea). I enjoyed the pacing of the book, but sometimes I felt like I needed a bit of a breather in between action sequences. Overall, City of Shattered Light was a fantastic debut and I'll be sure to be on the lookout for more books by Claire Winn in the future.
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