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Broken (The Extrahuman Union Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 235 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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Decades in the future, earth’s been united under a single government and other planets have been colonized. Michael Forward is an extrahuman – someone with supernatural abilities. He was born with the ability to see possibilities of the future whenever he looks at someone’s face. And the possibilities show that the course of history depends on one mission. A baby boy can grow up to bring either great good or great evil to earth, depending on whether or not Michael succeeds in getting him off planet. And he sees that all possibilities of success depend on the presence of Broken, a homeless ex-superheroine. So this is a story about a teenage boy, a former superheroine, and a baby seeking an escape and hope for the future as the world falls apart around them.
Broken wasn’t especially great, but it was enjoyable. I liked the oddness of the central group and the form Michael’s psychic powers took, and the pacing and action were enough to keep me happily flipping the pages. It’s solid entertainment without any flaws or issues large enough to put me off.
It did sort of feel like two genres had been slammed together (superheros + dystopian), but the combination at least felt different from the hoards of YA dystopians out there. There’s never any explanation for why people have superpowers or how they work, but I just accepted it as a genre device and moved on. It’s like FTL drives in science fiction. Are you really going to question it?
Michael and Broken were the two protagonists, and I liked that they felt different enough to avoid falling into clear stock types. Broken in particular is allowed to be messier than most female protagonists you see. However, it was Michael who ended up being my favorite character of the book. He knows all of the grim futures that could lie in wait for him, and he demonstrates incredible bravery by continuing to do what he believes is right.
While Broken is the first in a series, it stands well enough on it’s own that I don’t feel the need to read the sequel to get a complete story. If the sequel followed the same cast, I might be willing to read it anyway. While Broken isn’t a novel I’ll be vigorously recommending, it’s not something I’d discourage anyone from reading.
The extrahuman abilities are fascinating, although we only see a sampling of them in this book. My favorite is prescience. It apparently comes in a near-term fine-grained variety that Michael has, as well as a broad, long-term version that takes the greater picture into effect. When these two types of future perception square off, the results are unexpected and intriguing. I particularly liked it when Michael’s visions would change on the fly as particularly dangerous moments arrived. “The future has millions of possibilities, and I only see a fraction of them.”
I loved this book, and shed a few tears over it. I would like to read more stories in this setting.
That being said, I should however give clear warning that whenever I read about the power to see the future, prescience, I always measure it against the GOLD standard : Dune, especially God Emperor of Dune.
So in light of that I think this book doesn't push the envelope of what it truly means to be prescient...yet. But throughout the book there are hints and clues that there is a character that is almost as powerful and can see as deep and far into the future.
Out of a near infinite possibilities of choices...you can find the Golden Path if you look long enough.
That's mainly what I liked about this book. It seems there is a path our heroes are trodding upon, sure it may trample the sense of 'free' will you believe in. But short of having a super power that lets you not be seen in the timeline by a prescient being, you're gonna be trapped and following the path set by the prescient powers and their users. Especially the ones with a deep enough prescient power that lets them dictate how the timeline will flow...
Ms Bigelow weaves a good enough novel that lets you think the characters have freedom and free will. But not really. Ha. That does take talent.
So Miss Bigelow: You write. I will follow your golden path. Because fear is the mind killer....and I embrace new things as if I'm truly naive..