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Broken Aro (The Broken Ones) Paperback – September 25, 2012
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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Open your eyes to darkness. What do you see? Does the darkness frighten you? Now imagine the darkness being the cargo hold of a slave ship. Your city has fallen. Your family is most likely dead. You don't know anyone around you, and some of them aren't even human. Giving up would be so easy to do, but not for Arowyn Mason. Not after being raised in a military family with seven brothers. Every grea...
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Probably the best review I can give a book is to NOT manage to stop reading long enough to review it, because I just had to continue on to the next one; then, once finished with the already published books in a series, looking up the author's website, book blog, facebook page or whatever else contains information on any works in progress and continuations of the story, add them to my reading lists and pout a little because I can't continue. This sequence is actually quite a rare thing for me, especially for books that are self-published or published by smaller or independent publishers.
The Broken Ones is just such a series for me. I hadn't even finished this book before I called my best friend and told her she needed to read it, but that I had to get off the phone so I could use it to order the next one, so I didn't have to delay once the first one was over. Her response: "Wow...that good, huh?"
I love the world Ms. Wylie has created. She has re-envisioned races of fantasy creatures that have long had established characteristics in the literary canon and has completely made them her own. She has put them all in the same world with roles and responsibilities that are more complex than one might first think. Fey, Elves, and Were are all present in this world. The first book gives just a glimpse and very little revelation as to their established order and roles in the world, but it introduces you the archetypes as Ms. Wylie intends to use them. There is a prophesy (everyone loves a fantasy story with a prophesy, right) and strong female character.
Aro is fifteen and real. She is not unnaturally emotionally strong; she gets hurt physically, emotionally, and mentally throughout this book and reacts appropriately, instead of supernaturally. She is strong though and keeps going despite the events that unfold and the forces against her. Her sense of family is very important and her ties to her family, both real and adopted, become a major source of strength for her. My favorite thing about her is that she is just so real. The rest of the characters are wonderful, too. Each of her boys have enough detail to make you begin to love them like Aro does, but they all have mystery in their pasts - mysteries that need to be discovered and stories to be lived out.
I cannot wait until this entire series is out. Read this book...read them all...
And the author continues after the prologue ends, introducing our hero, Aro, and her motley cast of brothers. Aro’s city is under attack and her brothers, beloved soldiers, have one task – get Aro out of the city. The author’s skill is on full display as she immediately establishes both Aro and her brothers as a heartfelt, entertaining family. Even better, Aro stands as a teenager to be reckoned given her family of war heroes.
Sadly, Aro's development throughout the rest of the book underwhelms. In the course of attempting to break free from the city under siege, Aro is captured and finds herself without her brothers and in the company of men on a slave ship bound for a distant country. Her cell companions include a Fey (think Faerie, just more dangerous), the mysterious Prince, and military comrades of her brothers.
There is a fast companionship demanded by a shared history with Aro’s brothers and their shared status as prisoners and soon-to-be slaves. Aro’s gender is a great secret, which makes sense for a small teenage girl in a brutal society. However, this secret somehow gives the author allowance to write Aro as a damsel in distress. Aro proves to be little more than a talisman to her group of escaped slaves as they journey through enemy country. This is baffling, considering Aro’s training as a member of a military family.
Aro's relationships with Kei, the Fey, and the Prince further underscores her weakness. The author plays with amorous expectations between both men and Aro. Which is all fine and good if one could assume the two men’s affections were elicited from something other than seeing Aro as a weak child who desperately needs protection. We can’t. And unfortunately, we see only flashes of Aro’s potential. Even then, she only bucks against overprotection because of her pride and not because she can actually protect herself.
A lot of this could be forgiven if told within a compelling story. And any story worth telling should have a problem or central mystery for the hero to solve. Yet Aro has no impetus but to react to various obstacles in her way. This lack of a strong central narrative allows the prologue’s mystery to become the primary focus. For me, this renders the tale one-dimensional and lacking any true hook – a disappointment given Broken Aro’s great beginning.
Listened to: Arrested Development
Most recent customer reviews
No cliff hangers, either! Thank you!