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Thursday, 3 March 2016
Review: Broken Sky
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Usborne
Warning: BOOK HANGOVER territory.
Welcome to a ‘perfect’ world.
Where war is illegal, where harmony rules.
And where your date of birth marks your destiny.
But nothing is perfect.
And in a world this broken, who can Amity trust?
Yep. That's it. That's all the synopsis you're getting. I could expand on it but then I went in to the book only knowing that and while I was expecting good things, I was still surprised and I completely loved this book! I read the Angel trilogy back in school, or started it back in school rather! I completely loved it and eagerly waited for each new book, I loved how original it was and the spins and twists to it, and so while I didn't know much about this book...I trusted Weatherly to do something completely awesome and she really, really did! This should legitimately be a movie. Like I said on Twitter, Broken Sky has broken me!
I was intrigued from the start, the book has an air of mystery to it, if you read the synopsis above, you probably have a million possibilities running through your head. Literally. I ran a few options and none of them came close to the book! The prologue hooked me from the start, and I had to sit back and digest everything for a minute because I immediately knew that whatever I was expecting or had conjured up as a possible plot was really wrong, and this was going to be way bigger than the prologue lead you to believe.
Right away you want to know what Amity's done. Why she's done it. What happened and so on. As you're reading you're taking note of things that must be very, very bad. She has a heart pounding escape, and like I said, there's hints of something much larger going on. I was immediately hooked. I'm hesitant with what to describe this book to be honest. The beginning felt like a WW2 spy movie, as did other parts of it, while other parts of the book where very dystopian, and others hinted at WW2 itself. But I'll get in to that later! But there are a lot of elements to the book that all blend together to give you a unique and atmospheric world and a plot that has you glued to the page. I read the book in one sitting. One.
My curiosity wasn't satisfied. We go back to before the mysterious event, and the build up was so perfectly done. It's building up to the event that has Amity in trouble, and you know it is. Everything is being set up, and you're desperate to find out what happened. You're piecing all the clues together, every time someone or something is mentioned that was from the prologue...you get a sinking feeling in your stomach. The entire time you're reading, it's building up and setting up the main event, and you're getting a bigger and bigger sense of foreboding because you know something bad is going to happen, but you don't know what or the specifics, and I felt incredibly tense reading the book especially in the last part because that bit really ramped up the tension. You've got puzzle pieces falling to place, and a picture forming and you've become so attached to characters that you're on the edge of your seat, as the tension becomes a palpable thing. It was so, freaking, brilliantly done.
Broken Sky is full of tension, and foreboding, but it's also full of betrayal. So much betrayal and lies and secrets. Some of them come out, particularly from the past and some of them don't. Some of them are hinted at, some of them you figure out just in time for the book to end as you scream in to a pillow in rage! There where so many plot twists that completely blew me away and left me shocked. Don't get me wrong some things I guessed, but they where small fry. I can't even. The ending in particular. Every time a new twist happened, I was left gaping mouthed, staring at the book and trying to digest the information.
There's a lot to untangle. The plot is brilliantly done, besides the twists, you have so many plot threads. There's threads from the past, threads in the present involving both countries, and more. All of these many threads come together to give us a complex and completely engrossing plot. I tried to work it all out, really I did, some of it I did, smaller things like an affair, but not all of it, and certainly not the big revelations that had me reeling. It was fun to try and work it out though, I was never sure who was a trustworthy character and who wasn't. The plot has so much going on, and keeps you hooked. There's fights, if you know what a WW2 dogfight is, think along those tracks but different. There's always something going on, whether it's action or romance, or a mystery to be solved, or a clue to try and work out, there's never a dull moment and the book gets more and more compelling.
I particularly enjoyed the trips back to the past, they where a nice break in the narrative, helped you get to know Amity and Collie a bit more, and provided more mystery and more puzzle pieces. I liked how seamlessly they fit in with the narrative, they didn't seem out of place, they where vivid and they always added something to the story, especially when it came to characters. I also like how the narrative caught up with the prologue, it was very well done, I've seen authors ignore the prologue but in the actual narrative as if it didn't happen and others make us read it all again, and Weatherly brilliantly catches us up and moves us on.
Weatherly's writing is fantastic, it really is. I've said multiple times already, compelling, intriguing and so on, but she also writes very vividly, I could picture each scene, each setting so perfectly. So perfectly in fact that I'm going to go ahead and say it was ridiculously cinematic. I could picture the fights up on a big screen, picture other scenes in dark streets and so on. So cinematic and vivid. So atmospheric. The atmosphere was fantastically done, each setting had a different one, each one you could feel like a tangible thing and towards the end of the book, like I said, things where very tense. Edge of the seat, hold your breath tense.
Now's the part where I tell you we have two POV's. Amity's obviously, and a woman called Kay. Now Kay lives in Central States. They are the bad guys of this book, Amity is from Western Seaboard. I don't want to give too much away but Central States has a leader called Gunnison and he's a complete nut job. I've debated how much to tell you and decided to axe half my notes and give you next to nothing, sorry guys! Anyway, Kay is in the "bad guy" country, and I liked the dual POV. We didn't hear from Kay much, but she had her own, distinct, narrative, she offered another perspective, the switches where smooth and both narratives worked well together.
Having Kay's perspective allowed us to see what both countries where like. What the atmosphere was, because each had a very different one up to a certain point. I don't think this book would have worked without Kay's perspective because it helped you to learn about the situation the world of the book was in, learn what was really going on, provided you with an even greater sense of foreboding, and allowed you to get to know the bad guy. Not to mention showed you a perfect contrast between the two different countries, that I found downright chilling, especially at the end.
The world of the book fascinated me from the start, I wanted to know what had happened in the past, I wanted to know what the current situation was with the world and I loved how rich it all was. The history to the world, the politics and so on, it was all so rich and so well explained without taking pages and pages and destroying the pace of the book. I was so eager to learn about the world and enjoyed every new bit of information and putting things together. We get a feel for the world and an idea of how it works straight away, that goes in to more depth as we go on. The history of the world is intriguing to say the least! I thought it was incredibly original and well thought out, and the world building was so well done that you could get lost in the book. It was also incredibly terrifying because thinking about being in the position of someone in CS made me feel so helpless, like I'm sure a lot of the characters felt.
For me, the book had huge echoes of World War Two. Yes it's set in the 40's, but the world and events are entirely different. You have a leader, giving people to blame for all the wrong that's happened. A leader who decides to persecute people for something they have no control over. You have said persecuted people having to wear a letter on their clothes to mark what they are. Correction camps. The group called the Guns who where pretty much the Secret Police. Behaviour exactly like what I imagine it was like in WW2 Germany. A mindset of do what you can to survive even if you have to betray people. Any of this sounding familiar?
Obviously it's not all exactly like WW2 because then this would be a WW2 alternate and it's not. But there where so many little bits that so strongly echoed WW2 that it really hit me hard. I felt how helpless and hopeless these people must have felt, and it made me feel incredibly sad and angry for them, despite the fact it's a book. Ya know. Just fiction. It's the echoes of the truth and the past in this book that hit me emotionally. Especially as a school trip to Berlin and some of the sites and museums there are permanently etched in my mind.
Character wise we had a great cast of characters. I loved the banter between everyone on Amity's team! I liked Amity and how blunt she was, I connected to her, I rooted for her! She shields herself a little from being hurt, but she's brave and she's courageous and determined to do what's right. I understood her motivations and I understood her thanks to snapshots of her past. Collie I was suspicious of from the start considering his whole vanishing trick, but I liked him, I liked his determination. I never really stopped being suspicious of him though...well alright, maybe I did for a little bit. I loved Ingo and I desperately need to know what happened to him!
Kay is tricky for me. I understand her motivations perfectly, and in some ways I can't really blame her, she just wants to save her own skin. But I never really liked her. She was in a position to do so much, but instead she decided to play with people's lives with no thought or method to it. She choose who had to die, and messed with Amity and Collie and yeah. I'm kinda wondering if she might redeem herself in book two, but I've not got high hopes! We then have Gunnison our bad guy. The problem is...he may be crazy, like if you believe in all that stuff the fair play, but he's just gone way past that and is just not okay. But he's so damn charismatic. Which is why he's so popular and gotten where he is, and at points I thought okay maybe he's not full crazy, but then at the end I was like okaaaayy you're a full on raving loony. He's a very good villain though, to be fair. Villains that believe they're right and doing the right thing and the best thing are always good villains in books because they're so damn realistic.
Each and every character, whether secondary or main, was brilliantly written. They really did come to life, you could picture them and they where so realistic and believable. I loved getting to know all of the characters and there are some I'd like to know better like Vera and Harlan! Each character had a load of depth to them, I mean you could see how past events made them who they are in some cases. A lot of the characters clearly have more going on with them than you originally thought. I grew so attached to some of these characters, it's insane!
Now I believe I mentioned some romance? If I haven't yet, then this is me doing it! The romance between Collie and Amity was so freaking perfect. I loved watching it develop past and present, it was organic and they had some of the best scenes together. I loved them as a couple, you could feel the chemistry and they made sense. They're childhood best friends, the feelings grew, and then stuff happened and then they where reunited and then it all came back. Because of that and the relationship they had, the romance they had made sense, the very strong feelings they had, like strong enough to warrant declarations and certain actions, made sense. I am, however, still suspicious, and after the end of the book I have such a sense of foreboding for my ship.
We have to talk about the end chunk of the book briefly, because the tension was at an all time high and when everything comes to a head and war starts....that scene. That scene was fantastically written. It was chilling. It was hair raising. It sent a shiver down my spine. Especially as it was so vivid. I have never read such a passage before, that caused that kind of reaction. I think I was kind of staring in horror at the book, but admiring at the same time, like DAMN those are some insane writing skills! It also has to be said, I had a sinking suspicion about Sandy and I was right, like throw the book in rage kinda right, I was wrong however and had it confirmed before the book ended! It makes the end of the book a little easier to bear, but not much and I desperately need the next book! I'm so excited it's out in Autumn! According to the back of the book that is...helloooooo maddeningly intriguing book two synopsis, thank you for briefly distracting me from picturing all the horrifying things than can happen to my ship because of "Sandy". Then ya know...making it worse!
Broken Sky is a book that will blow you away with every aspect. From the palpable atmospheres of the book, to the vivid settings, to the cinematic and heart pounding fight scenes, to the world building that brings you entirely in to the book, to the complex plot full of shocking twists to the characters you come to love and root for. There are so many surprises in this book, and it's such a brilliant one to dive in to, it's original, it has a strong romance in it that doesn't over power the plot, it has mystery and action and it's a read-in-one go kind of book. I don't know what else to say, other than it's a fantastic start to a brilliant new trilogy that I can tell I'm going to be obsessed with because it's going to be very, very good!