Had some time to read the Kindle First book this month (Finally!), and chose The Breaking Light by Heather Hansen. Unfortunately, pesky work made me late to the party so I missed out on the first page, so no top review this time… Yet! You can see it onsite HERE:
Spoils, they be not here. Unless you count reading the book’s description as a spoiler. And you should read the description first. You really, really should.
And I don’t mean a quick glance at the Sci-Fi genre and assuming “Yeah, cool wicked rad alien explodin’ dark matter, bro!”, I mean, like physically dragging the mouse to the “read more” text and actually READING the entire thing. Nye unthinkable, I know. But it can make the difference between you getting what you thought the book would be and what it really is. Sci-Fi? Half Check. YA Romance? Check Plus.
Because really, the setTING isn’t nearly as important the setUP. It’s a classic story–two worlds collide, and each think the other is Teh Worstest until they actually meet someone from over there. (At least I think it’s classic. Probably some kind of Shakespeare or something?)
As for our lovers to be or not to be, they’re the only two characters that really matter. Classic romance. And Hansen doesn’t play around. These two meet by sentence 1 and it’s pretty clear where it’s headed. But in case you couldn’t figure it out, their taboo attraction is told to you directly in the first few pages. There’s Arden, the tough girl from down below–and we all know Up is always where it’s at–who’s just trying to survive. She’s, courageous, wise, powerful, the whole Triforce. And the same goes for her counterpart Dade. He may be rich, but he’s a good soul through and through, aka Junior Bevil from Cool Runnings. So unless you’re Cinderella’s wicked stepmother, you’ll probably root for our heroes. Of course, there are some lines gooier than sharp cheddar Easy Cheese, but it’s a love story, nay, FIRST LOVE story, so I wasn’t bothered much by most of them.
It’s the world I wasn’t so thrilled with.
The whole thing kept me confused, and I wasn’t sure what Hansen was aiming for. The world borrows from many well-known stories and TV shows, which only made it more confusing. The story takes place on a different planet and I’m not sure how far in the future it’s supposed to be. Far enough that they don’t know the name of the “Old Planet” as they call it, but not enough that Batman isn’t immediately recognizable to our characters. Maybe the comics rebranded it as “Old Planet-0” or “New Old Planet” or something? There’s mention of people leaving the Old Planet more than 100 years ago, so kudos to the Dark Knight for standing the Flashpoint of time, but it was still an unusual reference.
And odd things like this were littered throughout. The technology brought up the most issues, as it was central to plot advancement. Somehow, these poor people on the downside had access to all sorts of advanced technology. And the rich money-grubbers above are all but oblivious to their special tech, how it works, or how they managed to get ahold of it in the first place (Same goes for me). Not only was some of it contradicting–like the questionable phasers–but tech issues led to numerous plot holes that I couldn’t ignore. It also made some action sequences so confusing I’d have to retake English 302 to decipher what was actually happening.
As for questionable content, it’s more like a Domestic Persian than full-on wildcat. There’s only one or two uses of minor swearing, and no sex scenes. Drug use is talked about often with their society’s fictional drug, but not something that’s glorified. Of course in any of these stories there’s bound to be some violence, but nothing graphic.
Even though were some glaring problems, there were several bright spots too. The premise of sunlight as a luxury is intriguing, though I find it hard to believe that it would be able to advance as far as it did and form such a deep divide. So ironically, even though it’s branded more towards Sci-Fi, it shines more as a romance.
Overall, if you’re hoping for shoot-em-up alien eroticism, pass on this one. But if you’re looking for a shimmering love story and a glimmer of hope in a dark world, it’s worth a read.