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Literature / Star Shards Chronicles

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The Star Shards Chronicles is a trilogy of novels by Neal Shusterman. It follows the struggles of six Ordinary High School Students who were conceived at the same instant that a star exploded light-years away. The coincidence of their birth caused them to receive extraordinary powers; however, as our story begins, our heroes' abilities have been corrupted and twisted against their true purpose by unknown forces.

The three books in the trilogy:

  • Scorpion Shards: The six protagonists struggle to discover the source of their strange and horrific abilities and their connection to one another, and to overcome the otherworldly parasites that have corrupted their powers.
  • Thief of Souls: Our heroes must face an ancient, malevolent, soul-eating foe who has escaped from his long imprisonment.
  • Shattered Sky: Powerful and terrifying invaders appear from a parallel dimension, and only the Star Shards have the power to stop this new force... but can they join together in time?

This trilogy contains examples of:

  • The Atoner: Dillon becomes this in the second book, and Tessic views himself as one in the third book.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Maddie, before she obtains Deanna's soul.
    • Arguably, Drew.
  • Blessed with Suck: Star Shard superpowers would be a lot more fun if they didn't attract Eldritch Abominations.
  • Body Horror: Caused by the parasites.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Invoked by Dillon in the first book.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: If Michael goes too far with a girl, bad things happen.
  • Cherry Tapping: Dillon raises this to an artform, destroying an aquarium with a poker chip and the Hoover Dam with a freaking pebble!
  • Classical Mythology: Thief of Souls reveals that the Greek gods were Star Shards as well.
  • Darker and Edgier: The series is fairly dark to start out, but the third book, with its older main and supporting cast, shows an increase in sex and profanity.
  • Death Is Cheap: With Dillon's power to resurrect the dead, the Happy Campers begin to believe this. As do the Shards while under Okoya's control.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: In the third book, after Michael dies, Lourdes attempts to create these and fails. In an even stranger example, Maddy replaces Deanna at the very end by giving up her own soul to be replaced by Deanna's.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Tessic, who believes in spending his fortune to do good deeds in unusual ways.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The parasites. Also, Okoya and the Vectors. Hell, their entire species qualifies.
  • Empathic Environment: Justified. Michael's superpower is that he can control the weather with his emotions—thus, Empathic Environment.
  • Enemy Mine: With Okoya in the third book. It's also how the Shards treat Dillon at the beginning of the second book.
  • Enemy Within: The parasites, which corrupt the protagonists' powers and feed off of them whenever they're used.
  • Fantastic Aesop: Would it be morally correct to resurrect the six million victims of the Holocaust? I don't know, let's try it and see how it works out.
  • A God Am I: Dillon
  • The Hedonist:
    • Lourdes in the third book.
    • Okoya at the end of the third book. Being kept locked a facility described as catering to your every want can't be too horrible a fate.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Five out of six protagonists go bad and good again at least once, and some do so twice.
  • Hermaphrodite: Okoya. Leads to some Pronoun Trouble when the other characters can't decide on his gender; the narration refers to him with masculine pronouns "for brevity".
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: An odd retroactive variation in the third book when the Shards discover they have the power to bring back the dead, and are forced by an Eccentric Millionaire to bring back all the victims of several of the Nazis' death camps.
  • Hustling the Mark: In Scorpion Shards, Dillon does this with several games of pool. He loses the first, bombs the second, and pulls out his wallet, demanding a rematch. When his opponent (convinced that Dillon's doing this to impress his girlfriend) throws down his own wallet, Dillon doesn't even let his opponent get one shot in.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Drew is gay, but Michael is canonically asexual.
  • Innocent Bystander: Tory gets mistaken for this after her death.
  • Love It or Hate It: Michael in the first book, In-Universe. Except for the other Star Shards, every woman he meets immediately develops an intense lust for him, and every man he meets immediately hates him with equal intensity. Unintentionally Lampshaded by his guidance counselor.
  • Mass Resurrection: The main characters discover they can combine their powers to raise the dead. At some point they are hijacked by an Eccentric Millionaire, who forces them to go to Germany and resurrect the victims of the Holocaust.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event:
    • The supernova that grants the Star Shards their powers.
    • The mass supernovae at the end of the trilogy.
  • Morality Chain: Deanna, for Dillon.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Infecting Okoya with all the parasites and sending him into an alternate dimension in Thief of Souls turns out to be a very bad idea when the parasites run amok in the alternate dimension and displace its inhabitants, who decide to emigrate to Earth in Shattered Sky.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Vectors expelling Okoya leads to him assisting the Shards in their fight.
  • People Puppets: Lourdes gains this ability as her powers develop. Also, anyone who gets taken as a host by Okoya and the Vectors.
  • Power Incontinence: Zigzagged throughout the books. At the start of the series most of the Star Shards have no control over their powers whatsoever. Even after exorcising the parasites from their souls and learning how to control their powers, they still don't have perfect control, and their powers are sort of always on (most notably Dillon's). They eventually gain complete control of their powers.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Okoya is a Hermaphrodite. The other characters aren't really sure what pronoun to use.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Dillon attempts this at the end of the second book. It doesn't work.
  • Rise of Zitboy: Exaggerated with Tory, who begins the story with an extreme case of acne—she's completely covered in zits. Her zits have zits.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • Okoya in Thief of Souls. He's freed by an earthquake in the prologue.
    • The parasites in the first book. The only thing keeping them in check is the will of their hosts, as evidenced when Dillon loses control and almost destroys the entire Pacific North West.
    • Okoya once again at the end of the third book; he is confined in Dillon's cell and fairly well pampered, content to be there in exchange for not eating souls anymore.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Dillon, whose mere touch can cause insanity, accidentally destroyed his parents' minds.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Tessic designs one for Dillon in Shattered Sky.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting:
    • Zeus, as seen in the prologue of Thief of Souls.
    • Okoya and the Vectors, in a different manner. They can change bodies but only with the death of their current host.

Alternative Title(s): Scorpion Shards