Book Review: Broken



  • Ebook | PDF | Mobi: 338 pages (924KB)
  • Publisher: Candlemark & Gleam
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-1-9364-6000-7

Of all the stuff I read, there’s a genre that I don’t see enough of- superhero fiction. So, I was delighted to learn that Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow was exactly that, a superhero lit book about the dangers of being different in a world in the grip of paranoia and xenophobia.

Synopsis:

Silverwyng was once a proud member of the Extrahuman Union, a league of super-humans who protected the world from threats, both at home and on the galactic scale. But when she loses the ability to fly, she runs away from the only life she’s known, and takes to living the streets. Now she calls herself broken and spends her days in a homeless and in a drunken haze in the back alleys of New York in 2106. When Michael Forward, a mysterious boy who can see the future shows up on her doorstep, Broken wants nothing to do with him, or the baby he is claiming can be the savior of humanity; but when Michael promises that she can be whole again, that she can once again fly, Broken can’t refuse.

Michael Forward instantly saw about three dozen possibilities, and wished he hadn’t. All except two ended in darkest tragedy. He wanted to shout at this man who had once been his hero, to grab his ears and scream, “How could you?!” into them. Was this why Joe hadn’t liked the man? Could he see it all coming, the devastating possibilities? But Sky Ranger had done nothing yet. And so Michael could do nothing but sit back and watch the trains slam into one another. So much for heroes.

Let me begin by saying that superhero lit is a sub-genre of sci-fi that doesn’t get enough play. For anyone looking for something off the beaten path of a sword and sorcery quest narrative or a hard sci-fi space exploration adventure, the little super lit that is out there can be intensely satisfying. Broken didn’t disappoint me on a lot of levels. The characters were fresh and real, Michael’s internal struggle with his bleak destiny is very well written, even heart-wrenching at times. Honestly, I found myself wondering which path he would choose, which was something of a surprise for me. When you’ve read as much as I have, and trust me: reading is my profession, you tend to be able to predict pretty much anything an author can throw at you. Ms. Bigelow kept me guessing until the end, which says a lot about her ability to understand a character and really give that insight to a reader. The storytelling was fairly balanced, and each character got his or her due in back story and development. Probably one of the strongest elements in the novel, aside from its characters is the pacing, which moves along full speed ahead from beginning to end, without feeling rushed.

If I had one complaint about Broken it would be that, I would have liked more in terms of the setting. Don’t get me wrong, Bigelow does a fine job of showing us just how bleak the future has become in her dystopian super-novel. She tells us enough about how the world has changed to make us understand it without getting mired in the technical details, or discrepancies that would make it seem less real. But the history buff in me would have loved to see just a little bit more on HOW things got to that point.

I give Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow 4 out of 5 stars.

 


 

If you’re interested in reading Broken for yourself, head over to Candlemark & Gleam to pick up a copy at candlemarkandgleam.com/store

 





Brandon Johnston
Written by Brandon Johnston

Brandon is a Reporter, Critic, Tornado Alley Correspondent, Technomancer, and Book Department Editor for SciFi Mafia®. When he's not writing for SciFi Mafia®, he's busy being a dad, a novelist, and a man with more hobbies and interests than is healthy for any one person to have.