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The Legend of Broken Hardcover – Deckle Edge


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (November 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781400062836
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400062836
  • ASIN: 1400062837
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“An excellent and old-fashioned entertainment . . . The Legend of Broken seamlessly blends epic adventure with serious research and asks questions that men and women grappled with in the Dark Ages and still do today.”—The Washington Post
 
“A sprawling fantasy saga . . . Caleb Carr boldly goes where he’s never gone before.”—USA Today
 
“Carr keeps the action hurtling along with a steady diet of gruesome murders and political betrayals. And he clearly wants modern readers to see something of their own world in the political corruption and greed that ultimately doom Broken.”—The Boston Globe

About the Author

Caleb Carr is the critically acclaimed author of The Alienist, The Angel of Darkness, The Lessons of Terror, Killing Time, The Devil Soldier, and The Italian Secretary. He has taught military history at Bard College, and worked extensively in film, television, and the theater. His military and political writings have appeared in numerous magazines and periodicals, among them The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He lives in upstate New York.

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Customer Reviews

I really think it's just not the type of book I feel like reading at this time.
Sadie Allison Hope
I put the book down after reading the first two pages - not a good sign - and had to try again several times before I found a narrative hook.
Brian
Simply put, it's boring and I cannot keep track of or have any interest in the characters.
Carrie L. George

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Brian on December 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Caleb Carr is one of my favorite authors and I've anxiously looked for his next release. The premise behind Legend of Broken caught my attention. For all the rambling, disjointed storytelling of George Martin (and all the copycat fiction it's spawned) that has caught fire recently, I hoped Carr's tale would show what really could be done with the fantasy/historical genre in its modern iteration.

Unfortunately, I couldn't finish the book on the first read. Dense storytelling (count how many times a character speaks and then the reader is forced to wade through a paragraph of explanation) interfered with the story. Too much telling, not enough showing. I put the book down after reading the first two pages - not a good sign - and had to try again several times before I found a narrative hook. I skipped ahead to pages where there was dialogue and action and enjoyed those scenes. I connected with the characters but wanted the backstory to get out of the way so I could experience the story. The energy of Alienist, Angel of Darkness, Killing Time, and Italian Secretary were missing. And the distraction of violating a basic writing rule of using "he/she said" became absurd. Characters chortle, scoff, whisper, grunt, moan, hiss, announce... Before you judge me a literary snob, trying saying any line of dialogue while you simultaneously grunt or chortle. It's comic.

I wanted so much to like this story - and I will eventually finish it - but it disappointed my high expectations. I respect the amount of time it took to create this novel and the depth of world building behind it. But in the end it just didn't come together.

After reading the afterword, I truly hope that Mr. Carr's physical and mental health are okay.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By smb8d on December 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I find it unreadable. The sentences are long and tortuous; often, they're quite beautiful in their parallel clauses and use of subordinate clauses, but they're getting in the way of the story. It actually reads like it might come across better as an audiobook. None of the characters are interesting. As an ancient historian, I'm picking up on allusions to actual historical events and societies; it's a very intellectual book, but maybe too intellectual if pleasure reading is your goal.

UPDATE (3.2.13): I gave it a second chance before it was due at the library. The writing still irritated me, but the plot kicked in and held my interest around pp. 150-200. Upping my initial 2-star rating to a 3 in consequence. I guess I wold say, give it a chance, though it still isn't one of Carr's best.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By applewood on January 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Previously unfamiliar with this author, but initially drawn to read this book by a glowing review in the Wall Street Journal, I ended up having a love/hate relationship with it right up till near the end when I mostly just felt impatience with the mixture of predictability and inconsistency which Caleb Carr brings to both his prose and story telling. In the end I felt it would make a fine if forgettable (mostly) PG rated Disney movie.

I will avoid making specific plot/character comments and so spoil the story, but I found the tale interesting enough to keep me reading, looking for historical connections and modern metaphors in an often laboriously scripted tale. It is long (651 pages, with an additional 80 pages of detailed notes, which I never felt inclined to consult), but fails to develop in a truly satisfying and engrossing way (as for instance, Tolkien's classics do).

In its favor it is a finely printed edition, thick but of small enough size to make it easy to hold and read. It also had potential to be an interesting story - a fascinating and blurry-lined mix of fact and fiction, history and fantasy. And this potential is what kept me engaged for much of it, despite it's obvious weakness.

For me the weaknesses were various ranging from inconsistent narrative voice and character development, to improbable scenes (for instance what was accomplished within limited time frames), and plot holes, overly wordy and dull dialogues, and ultimately, uncertain philosophical implications. At times the novel (and it's characters) was so sure of itself, even heavy handed in its message, and then almost in the next breath vague and inconclusive seeming. There were moments that pulled at my heart or engaged my intellect, but more often it just skimmed the surface.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Colleen B. on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I actually really did enjoy this book even though it is not popcorn reading material.
If it were a 10 star system I would give it a seven but given the current five star range a four is sufficient as a three would be too low given how much I enjoyed it overall.
The subject matter was interesting, the characters were compelling and the story had several mysteries (not all of which were resolved at the end). There were more than a few occasions that I had to reread portions in order to grasp, what I assume was, the author's meaning.
I am hoping for a sequel to this book because the story as a whole did seem a bit unfinished. Perhaps it's just me but I felt like I was left making some assumptions with limited hints provided by the author and I would have preferred to have things made a bit clearer.
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