Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fighting Foreseen Futures

Broken by Susan Jane Bigelow
This book gets a fantastic 5 out of 5 gnomes for being a superb story with complex characters that you will find yourself truly caring about.

First of all this is a dystopian story about superheroes, so if you like superheroes or reading about dystopian futures then this story is definitely for you.  

The story is told from two points of view, that of Michael and Broken.   It's great to see the world through these very different characters.  Michael is full of hope and Broken acts well broken and in the beginning doesn't have much if any hope left about the world.

Michael Forward is on a quest that he's known about his entire life.  He can see possible futures by just looking into someones eyes or even his own reflection in a mirror.  His quest/goal that he's been seeing for pretty much his entire life is that he has to be in the right place to find a baby and keep this baby away from the current government.  The baby will either save humanity from all the horribleness and corruption that's a part of everyday life or he will be a major conqueror of the world.  To accomplish this he has to have the help of an extrahuman (superhero) who nobody has seen for a long time.  He must find both the baby and the superhero because without the hero he can't succeed.

Broken is the superhero that he's looking for but she's seen better days.  She used to call herself Silverwyng and be a part of Union Tower, where they keep all the extrahumans.  Her powers were flying and super fast healing.  Broken can actually die and come back to life so she's like a super powerful² version of Wolverine.  Her powers also remind me of a lizard or starfish because it seems that she can grow back any part of her body that's lost.  She left the tower after losing her power to fly, now lives on the streets and is drunk most of the time. Their first meeting is especially memorable because she's just finished trying to kill herself but once again it didn't work.

Much of the world is seen on their travels as they follow Michael's visions of possibilities through to the end.  There's a palpable sense of danger and tension throughout the story.  The reader gets to see the world where the United States isn't a top superpower anymore.  Wars and bombings have left many ruins.  The government is failing and a dictatorship like regime is on the cusp of taking over.  Things are bleak and Michael's quest seems to be the only event that could lead humanity in the right direction.  

I think it's great that the potential savior or overlord of the human race is named Ian.  It’s a good name but not one that really makes people picture a great hero.

This journey is all about possibilities and choices and the effects they can have on people and the future.  What the future holds is full of possibilities but in the end they all seem to be heading in the right direction.  

I usually don't like stories where so much has to be sacrificed.  The actions of the characters that make major sacrifices actually felt justified and even heroic.  The story comes full circle, it begins and ends with a letter from a great prophet talking about the possibilities of what will happen in the future.  I really enjoyed the ending of this story because it felt like the characters all get to have the redemption and lives that they deserve.

Overall this is a great stand alone story full of sacrifices, secrets and mystery.  This is one dystopian tale with plenty of heart that is well worth reading.

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