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Broken Aro (The Broken Ones) Paperback – September 25, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
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"Filled with dragons and fey, mortals and slavers, adventure and mythology, Broken Aro is grand adventure in an epic style that leaves one eager for more!"
~ Rusty Fischer, author of Zombies Don't Cry
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Top customer reviews
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I do not want to include more spoilers since a short summary will not do this novel justice. This novel is like no other I have read. It was pleasantly surprising. It is worth every page. I was hooked from page 1 and was extremely disappointed when it ended-I didn't want it to end. Aro is a strong and brave girl. Her character is easy to like and you can't help but feel her anguish. Wylie did an excellent job with each character, giving them life and a different personality. There is a bit of a romantic triangle between Aro, Kei and Prince, yet it is so subtle you wonder if it's there at all (I am rooting for Prince btw). Each character was unique, adding their own impact on the main character, Aro.
I do have to say that, for an imaginative reader, the emotions were so strong they were overwhelming at times. I would have liked a bit more "happy parts". Although by the end of the novel, as the prophecy was explained, I understood why Aro had to be so...broken. Also, there were parts where the purpose, or objective, of the story wasn't so clear, so they felt like fillers. However, these were minor and never compelled me to stop reading.
Overall, I was extremely pleased with this novel. The novel was so enthralling that I basically stopped most of what I was doing just to continue reading. It was full of hope and love, it emphasized the meaning of family and its importance. It was also sad, unpredictable and full of suspense. Compelling you to read every word, without skimming to the next paragraph (like I sometimes do when something just gets boring and I want to know what's next). I strongly recommend this book; it is suitable for all ages. Parents: you do not have to worry about your child being corrupted here. Adults, you will not be disappointed! Once again, I strongly recommend you to read this book!! It is excellently written, well-crafted and you will really, truly enjoy this novel.
I was highly disappointed in seeing a female protagonist with so little agency. On her escape from her home, she is excitedly fitted out with her favorite belt of knives, but gets taken a slave without once attempting to use them. Her first real action is to act the healer and nurturer of one of the male characters, Prince. After that, her role is regulated to cook and seamstress, an object of male jealousy, with the most action she gets making her the victim of any real encounter. Like any continuously victimized character, she's seen to cry a lot, needing to be, and wishing only, to be taken care of by the many male characters for whom she plays restrictive female roles: little sister who needs protecting, stand-in mother who needs protecting, possible lover who yearns for strong male arms to hold her. In another scene, where she mentally faces off against the most dangerous of magical creatures, a Dragos, we see her standing on top of the walls of her own mental fortress, her favorite bow from home appears within her hands and it feels right, as though Aro has found herself and her agency. It's a powerful moment, almost. She takes the attack without once fitting an arrow to her bow. The encounter, another example of where the character could have made a step towards independence, growth, and strength, ends in just another case where the male characters must come and save her just in time to find her mentally "raped." There is a promise throughout the book that Aro will become someone important, even powerful, but for all the talk the book and character does about wanting to be strong and fight rather than just be married off, the character never actually acts on these supposed values. There's a wonderful moment, right before the near-rape scene, where she fights off 6 slavers with her bare hands only, her fists left badly swollen and cut after the ordeal, but the moment the slavers discover she's a woman (up to this point they assumed she was a boy), all her power is gone. She's held down, fondled and then rescued. What's exciting about Aro's character, in theory, is that she's a woman who wants to empower herself. What's disappointing is that her femaleness continuously gets in the way of that power, not because that's how the world sees her, but because the moment she's identified as female she herself seems paralyzed by it. She is already, and continuously, placed only in the supportive and nurturing role of a wife before it's even been decided which character will ultimately be her "king."
Yet, you say, the book is called "Broken Aro" and for good reason. The entire prophecy that will lead us to Books 4 (and maybe 5) surrounds Aro having to be broken. We get this wonderfully true response from the character after her near rape in which she becomes angry and lashes out at everyone around her. Her "fury" only seems to diminish when she's allowed by the male characters to continue her martial training. For me, this becomes another moment of hope, that Aro's brokenness will lead to her own self-determination and strength. But despite all her training and work towards a more empowered character after this moment of breaking and rebuilding, she still remains the victim, always injured and always protected by male characters who themselves never seem to be harmed during these same dangerous and outmatched encounters.
And yet, I kept reading. Yes, I felt that some of the sibling-like exchanges were a bit overly cheesy and that the narrative seemed too unaffected by the drama demanded by its own settings (the scenes in the slaver's cargo hold, even with rape victims screaming in the background, characters laughed and joked with one another as though it was rather homey, without there ever being a sense of an ever-pervading oppression). But, the magical geography of this world is so interesting. I'm intrigued by worlds that have mankind developing side-by-side with the magical races. Many fantasy books show that the magical races begin to die off the moment man begins to strengthen. But this book offers hope for those magical races. It offers a greater conflict than the personal ones Aro encounters, the conflict between the dying off of magic as represented by the sanity that has taken most of the Fey, and the possibility of man not meaning the demise of magic. There's ever this sense that a greater danger, the mad Fey, are prowling just inside the treeline. There's that wonderful moment where Kei's struggle with being sane or slipping into that same fury permanently that has claimed the rest of his race becomes a metaphor for the rage that Aro feels within herself against the men who have harmed her. I suppose what is most motivating me as a reader is the possibility the next books promise. We have yet to see the hordes of mad Fey. We have yet to see the political world of the Elves and condescending treatment of man by Elves, who see humans more like pets. We have yet to understand the Were culture, only hinted at by a brief encounter with one as it tried to warn Aro away from the slaver's camp. There's the long-standing question of what has happened to Aro's brothers. And yes, there's even the surviving hope that broken, weeping Aro will step out from behind the protective arms of her new family and begin to take control of her own world, one devastating failure at a time towards those small yet character-blessing successes.
Notes: There are minor typos sprinkled here and there, but they are not too distracting. There is an attempted rape, and the scene could be distressing for some readers.
Most recent customer reviews
I am quite looking forward to the next book and rest of the series.