Happy Sunday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for CITY OF SHATTERED LIGHT! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with Claire Winn to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so excited to for you to find out more about it!
City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn
Published on October 19, 2021 by Flux
Genres: Queer, Science Fiction, YA
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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.
What would you do if you spent the day with Asa and Riven? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive a day with them! Hah. I did create Requiem as a place I’d love to explore (but maybe only if accompanied by someone as dangerous as the city itself). I’m fascinated by the future of entertainment and technology, so visiting VR dens and nightclubs in the year 2188 would be exciting. One of my favorite locations on Requiem is Olympus, home of gravity-shifting gladiatorial pits. Which might be a bit intense.
If Asa and Riven were to hang out with characters from other books, who would they be and why?
Asa and Iseult from Truthwitch would probably be buddies, since they’re both voices of reason, and they’re both shy nerds who are pulled unwittingly into dangerous situations. Riven would get into trouble with Alyssa from Crownchasers and would have a mostly-friendly rivalry with Jesper from Six of Crows.
If there was one fictional place you could travel to for a day, where would it be and why?
Ooh, tough call. I love Toussaint from the Witcher 3 (the video game)—a beautiful, idyllic fantasy kingdom teeming with intelligent and terrifying monsters. Other faves are Omega from Mass Effect (seedy, vibrant mining colony), Skyhold from Dragon Age: Inquisition (the home-base castle for your warrior found-family), and Camorr from the Lies of Locke Lamora (mysterious, intricate city full of nooks and crannies).
If you buried a time capsule with three items inside, what three items would you choose and why?
This is tough, because so many things worth preserving are digital now. Maybe the first LARP foam sword I ever built—black and silver with runes, which I was pretty proud of at the time—as a relic of a hobby that will undoubtedly have changed in the future as gaming evolves. Also, printouts of meaningful text/DM conversations over the years, since I think so much data of this kind will eventually be lost, and it’s always interesting to stumble across deeply personal journal entries from the past. And I’d also probably include a copy of City of Shattered Light, if only so people in the future can make buggy eyes at my probably-totally-inaccurate vision of their world.
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
While Alpha Centauri (where most of CoSL takes place) is the closest star-system to Earth, the one with the most potential habitable exoplanets is the Trappist system. Some of these planets probably contain more liquid water than Earth. It’s interesting to think about what human civilization might look like if we could reliably (and quickly) transport living humans to faraway planets.
Also, while some research about EMPs made it into CoSL, what doesn’t come up is the major potential of EMPs for the future of warfare. Since electrical grids are increasingly important to societal function, they’re becoming a prime target. Some countries already have EMP weapons capable of a country-wide attack, and it has some pretty big implications for international relations.
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from City of Shattered Light?
Hard to pick a favorite! There’s a few scenes I love, but among the first scenes I dreamed up was when Asa and Riven are temporarily and reluctantly allied—and they’re accosted by muggers in an abandoned subway. Riven’s revolvers are loaded differently—Verdugo is her “executioner” with live rounds, and her left-hand gun, Blackjack, contains a roulette of stun-rounds and mechanical disruptor bullets. So when Riven gets the upper hand, she gives their would-be attacker the option of playing his odds and possibly surviving one of Blackjack’s bullets. The scene’s a little brutal and shows what Riven is capable of—and confirms that Asa is in far over her head.
My favorite sequence in the story is near the midpoint—the nightclub heist. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but there’s colossal mistakes, awkward flirting, unexpected action sequences, and some big revelations about the main villain’s abilities and aims.
What do you think about City of Shattered Light? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!