Broken Sky by L. A. Weatherly
Published by Usborne
Genres: YA, (NA?), Disptopia, Utopia,
For Fans of: Legend trilogy,
My rating: 4 stars out of 5
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?
From the bestselling author of the Angel trilogy comes Broken Sky – an exhilarating epic set in a daring and distorted echo of 1940s America and first in a new trilogy.
I am PLEASANTLY surprised.
First of all, who the hell wrote this blurb? Because not only does it do nothing for the book, it’s also misleading as fuck. I honestly had no clue as what this book was about until I read the prologue. There were just so many questions. So, before I get to actually reviewing this, I’m going to clear up a few questions you may have had upon reading the blurb.
What is this about?
Going to take this moment to write my own summary of this book. I’ve seen other people do this in their reviews. I’ve just been too lazy.
“Amity Vancour is a Peacefighter – a pilot who competes in one-on-one airstrike matches against an opponent from a another country, to determine the outcome of a political debate. The tiered Fights are a fair and mostly non-lethal. If your plane gets shot down, you lose, and the opponents country wins the vote. It’s like coin toss, but with bigger stakes and decidedly more dangerous playing field.
Peacefighting is in Amity’s blood. She’s a legacy, and to her, there is no greater honor than being a Peacefighter. But Amity soon discovers that Peacefighting isn’t as noble as she imagined. Now she’s accused of murder and treason, and is on the run from authorities. When everything she’s believed to be true turns out to be a lie, who can Amity trust?”
What gives with the setting? An echo of 1940’s America? Is this, like, an AU historical fiction?
I was worried about this, too. 1940’s America? It… it wasn’t the most pleasant time. Racism, flimsy women’s rights, WW2? Yeah, no. A book set in this time, AU or not, would have been messy – especially if the author chose to gloss over how bad it was an only focus on, what, the glamour of it.
But I’m pleased to report that, no, this is not a historical fiction AU. It’s a dystopian novel set in the future. Waaay in the future, if I had to guess. It just feels very 1940’s. From the clothes people where when they’re off duty, the music they listen to, the fighter pilots, the WW2 and Hitler parallels. All these elements scattered throughout the novel come together in a way that feels a little 1940’s.
But it’s set in an America very far in the future. Many wars have taken place, and for some reason, we’ve regressed technology-wise, which, I’ll admit, does contribute to the confusion of when the events of this book take place. But I can tell you it’s definitely in the future. All the signs are there: It’s Sacrament now, not Sacramento. It’s Angeles, minus the Los. It’s the Western Seaboard and the Central State, not the West Coast and East Coast. The central part of Hollywood, where the walk of fame would be, is now called The Heat (short for Heatcalf City). The Hollywood Hills are now called the Holy Hills, because most of the letters from the infamous and iconic Hollywood sign are gone.
And now for the review:
I’m going to be completely honest with you. I had no idea what to expect going into this book (thanks, blurb) I didn’t know what it was about, I didn’t didn’t really know the setting, and I hadn’t read any reviews of it to find out, because I didn’t want it to affect my feelings on the book. Hell, the only reason I even chose to read this one was curiosity. That, and I thought the cover was really pretty. I went into this with zero expectations.
Broken Sky turned out to be one of the freshest things I’ve read in a while. Considering that most of the things I’ve read in the past year have been retellings, ’cause they’re all the rage, this is hardly surprising. But this book was also a very original Dystopian piece. Yes, the old tropes of Evil Dictator, special girl who fights for justice, giant secret that blows up in everyone’s faces, are still there. It’s the little elements that build up the book that were original.
I liked it. I liked the futuristic, 1940’s vibes. The concept of peacefighting (I’m still not over the oxymoron) was weird at first, but, you know, once I let it sit for a while, it kinda made sense ?? I liked the craziness with Gunnison and the whole segregating people according to star signs and horoscopes. I really enjoyed that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone play around with star signs in fiction like this. And unlike a certain series (*cough* Divergent *cough*), the business of finding people Discordant and tossing them into correction camps made sense. You can look at someone’s horoscope or whatever and find out how they’ll affect your plans. I got it. I liked it. I thought it was a pretty interesting thing to write about.
I’m going to be completely honest (and when am I anything but) and say that the character development could have been done better. I liked Amity. She was tough, and noble, and she knew who she was, but she didn’t really change all the much by the end of the book. Sure, she’s a little more jaded now, but eh, not much has changed. I liked Collie. Cynical, charming, sweet-smartass Collie. I liked him, and I hated that cliffhanger at the end.
Not really much to say here. It was engaging, concise. Weatherly didn’t bother with flowery prose and complicated similes. The strongest tool in her arsenal was her wording. Seemingly normal sentences turned out to mean a great deal in the future.
(Eg: When I finished the book, I hated the twist at the end, because I felt like it came completely off-field. But now that I’ve let it sit, I’ve realized that the signs were there all along. Little word choices. Minor details that I didn’t pay close attention to in favor of bigger more pressing details. Do I still hate it, regardless? You betcha.)
Pacing was an issue. There were some slow bits in the middle and it took a long time for the book to get to the Complication and the Body of the story – which actually isn’t the problem I have. I think the time spent building the story was great – except that then the author went and bloody rushed the ending. Such a crime, because that buildup was great.
Amity and Collie were cute. Very cute. Their beginning was a little blegh for my taste. (blegh = sugary/ cliche) but once their relationship solidified? Man. They had their fights, but for the most part they were just a very steady couple. They trusted each other, they had each other’s backs.
I like Ingo. I love his sardonic way of speaking and his wry air. BUT IF THERE’S A LOVE TRIANGLE IN THE NEXT BOOK I WILL FLIP MY SHIT.
Except for a few, not-so-tightly-tied ends at the final bits of the book, I think the plot was pretty good. This also may have something to do with the pacing issues. WHY WAS THAT ENDING SO RUSHED AND CHOPPY. GOD.
I liked the heck out of this. Read it in two sittings. It was a fun, engaging read, and it was written so well that even the twists I called were revealed to me with a little surprise tacked on. Really. That’s rare. So, yeah, I recommend this book. If you’re looking for a well-written, original dystopian, read this. If you’re looking for something that has a historical fiction vibe, while still being modern, read this. If, like me, you read the blurb and were simultaneously confused and intrigued, and couldn’t decide whether this was work the time; READ THIS.
(Seriously though, that blurb was awful. If I’d seen this book in a bookstore, I’d have put it back on the shelf. And what a shame that would have been)
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.