Sunday, June 16, 2013
The Broken Lands
Alas, I did not manage to finish this book. I did figure out what bothered me so much about it though.
An amazon summary, "A crossroads can be a place of great power. So begins this deliciously spine-tingling prequel to Kate Milford’s The Boneshaker, set in the colorful world of nineteenth-century Coney Island and New York City. Few crossroads compare to the one being formed by the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River, and as the bridge’s construction progresses, forces of unimaginable evil seek to bend that power to their advantage. Only two orphans with unusual skills stand in their way. Can the teenagers Sam, a card sharp, and Jin, a fireworks expert, stop them before it’s too late? Here is a richly textured, slow-burning thriller about friendship, courage, and the age-old fight between good and evil." AMAZON SUMMARY OF PROBABLE ACCURACY
I made it to page 148 before I had my "AHA!" moment of why I realized I didn't like this book. Then I promptly put it down and stewed on it.
The attitude of the characters, the style of writing, I would go so far as to say even the tone of the story went something like "Nah nah nah boo boo! I know something you don't!" while sticking it's tongue out and chortling as it driveled through some other irrelevant details that distracted from the big mystery.
Yeah. Actually that sums up how I feel about it.
So a summary of what I read.
Sam is a card sharp (I kept wanting to correct it to card shark, but that might not be period accurate), and Jin is a girl who is well trained in the art of fireworks.
Sam tries to get money by swindling money from folks as they visit Coney Island and lives with a colorful cast of characters. He seems to be a decent enough of a fellow, he just can't get a job and is an orphan. So he fends for himself by winning folks money off of them.
Jin has a lot of mysterious allusions to coming into the situation she is in (firework apprentice person, pyrotechnic apprentice for the technical terms) without ever really telling us why she's distraught or traumatized. Again, I only made it to page 148 before I was like, "NO" so maybe it comes up later as to why she is like that.
So the story reached a point where Jin found a body maliciously torn up and is so freaked out that she faints. When she wakes up, she's in a saloon of sorts where the folks are trying to figure out if she's alright. She freaks out some more before she seems to 'snap together' and get all rigid and Jin-like again. It seemed as if the author didn't know how the character should react so they kind of guessed and then rushed through the scene.
The mystery begins to unfold, whatever, and the fireworks display that Jin set up happens and afterwards Sam and Jin meet with some interesting characters that Sam has been talking to.
Then one of the interesting fellows told a story while all the characters had to chime in and sass at some point. They revealed an interesting world concept but sassed their way through it as every character had to assert that they were awesome in their own way. (This is when I got annoyed.)
This book sounds like something that should have been right up my alley, but I think I'm done with the characters that just seem to scream, "I'M TRAUMATIZED AND HAVE TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WITHOUT TELLING THEM WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED TO ME SO THEY CAN'T HELP BECAUSE WHO WOULD I BE WITHOUT MY TRAUMA."
I understand that people have been through vast amounts of trauma, but in my personal experience, people who want to talk about it do so with the right people, or they don't talk about it at all. That's in my experience. Maybe there are a bunch of people running around like this that I've had the fortune of not dealing with.
I know this is a prequel to another book, but if it's a prequel, shouldn't that be the foundations of the sequel? I shudder to think what the sequel consisted of.
I couldn't get into any sort of caring for the characters because they all kind of flat lined for me.
Maybe if I had finished the book, something cool would have happened.
As it is, if I can't make it through the first third of the book, I let it go so I can move onto something that might actually hold my attention long enough for me to finish a chapter.
So here's hoping the next book will be readable.