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The Broken Lands

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  362 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 461 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Clarion Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Emily Coney Island, which is in downtown Brooklyn, NYC

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Oct 26, 2012 Kate added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Again, grain of salt, cause, you know, I wrote the thing...but I like it a lot.
Aug 23, 2012 TheBookSmugglers rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2012
In these lands, these broken lands of these United States of America in 1877, the Civil War and the Reconstruction have left ugly scars. In these lands, these broken lands, the new cohabit with the old, poverty with riches, ancient traditions with wondrous technologies, bigotry with tolerance. In the crossroad formed by the Brooklyn Bridge and the East River, a man without a country wishes to claim this place for his own – by blood, by fire and by getting rid of its five pillars.

Teenagers Sam, t
Dec 06, 2014 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"You're in two halves at present," Clennan went on. "Often thought so. Come together, Moril, and there's no knowing what you might do."
The Broken Lands begins like Moril: in fragmented pieces. There's a piece that reads as a tribute to New York City, and a piece about a young boy making a living as a card shark in Coney Island, and a piece about a young girl who creates fireworks. They all have individual charms, but they don't come together well. They bump against each other. They jostle for sp
Maggie Stiefvater
Jan 12, 2013 Maggie Stiefvater rated it it was amazing
This was quite agreeable. I've ordered the next one.
Lisa B.
Aug 19, 2012 Lisa B. rated it it was amazing
My Thoughts

This was excellent. I’ve been telling everyone this book is Stephen King-ish, a descriptive term meaning ookie spookie.

I fell in heavy like with Jin and Sam. For young teenagers, they have already experienced many of life’s unpleasant moments. Jin is resilient and strong. Sam is street smart and loyal. Together they must stand up against evil.

I was not aware when I requested this book that it was classified as juvenile fiction and honestly, I could not tell this from the writing. It w
I loved Kate Milford's The Boneshaker, so I was really looking forward to this one, which just came out on September 4th (I got a review copy from Harcourt Children's Books.) I wouldn't say it was quite as good as The Boneshaker, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it. The Broken Lands is set in 1877 in New York City (mainly in Brooklyn.) The Brooklyn is just going up, and dark forces are rising at the crossroads of the East River and the new bridge. The mysterious Jack wants to claim New York for his ...more
Jun 15, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, bea
I picked this book up, as an Advance Readers Copy, at BEA--and there will be a blog post to follow about it (probably as soon as it becomes July and I have more than three minutes to spare not working with Middle School kids)

Let me begin by saying this wasn't a book I was looking for at BEA, it actually wasn't even a book I had heard about, I was just talking to a friend and she had picked it up and was looking at it, then handed it to me, and I started reading it, and couldn't stop.

The charac
Nov 11, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
Read-alike: The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

Oh, Kate Milford. Only you can write historical fiction/steampunk/fantasy replete with fireworks (lots of them), folktalke (some of them), and lots of Brooklyn-specific geography. You're one of the few who is writing speficially for smart, savvy, and snarky 7th-9th graders.

This book is a slow and atmospheric take on the old good v. evil tale, and in this case the good guys are a few plucky (and slighly unlucky) teens while the bad guys are permanent w
Samantha Chaffin
I bought THE BROKEN LANDS on a gut feeling. I found it alone on a shelf in my indie bookstore, saw the cover, and knew that I would like it. Bridges and card sharps and Coney Island and magic? Sold.

I couldn't have imagined that this book would remind me what it feels like to fall in love with a story. I mean, the way I used to when I was a kid reading every library book she could get her hands on. That's what this felt like. Remembering.

Milford's writing is magic. It's luxurious and rich, and sh
katayoun Masoodi
Nov 18, 2015 katayoun Masoodi rated it really liked it
4 stars without the next to last chapters. must say I could have done with the end chapters and all that lectures and the meaning of the life and enlightenment like stuff!!! too lecture-y...
May 13, 2014 Leselurch rated it really liked it
*Worum geht's?*
Coney Island, 1877: Der junge Sam schlägt sich als listiger Kartenspieler, der Touristen die ein oder andere Münze aus der Tasche zieht, durchs Leben. Als eines Tages ein Trickser Sam mit seinen eigenen Waffen schlägt, geschehen plötzlich merkwürdige Dinge, die New York und Brooklyn in eine Hölle zu verwandeln drohen. Düstere Gestalten mit mächtiger, böser Magie wollen das zerbrochene Land für ihren Meister einnehmen, der schlimmer ist als der Teufel selbst. In dem wachsenden Chao
Sep 21, 2012 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
The Broken Lands, by Kate Milford (Clarion Books, Sept. 2012, YA), takes place in New York, just after Civil War; the title is both a reference to the raw wounds of the war, and is the name of a hotel on Coney Island. It's on Coney Island, with its crime, poverty, and exuberant energy, that we meet young Sam, making a living beating holiday makers from the big city at cards....

And to this place, through coincidence (possibly) or design, come others. The Chinese firework maker, and his adopted da
Brandy Painter
Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

The Boneshaker has been on my TBR for a while now. I have been eager to read her writing, having heard so many good things about it. When her newest book, The Broken Lands, which is a prequel to Boneshaker, became available on NetGalley I requested it immediately. It's no secret I love historical fantasy and this is historical fantasy set in Industrial New York, just as the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge is coming to an end.

There are a l
LeAnn Suchy
Aug 19, 2012 LeAnn Suchy rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
Originally reviewed at Minnesota Reads.

I loved Kate Milford’s first book The Boneshaker. I was surprised such great writing came from a new author, but excited that I’d get to read a lot more from her in the years to come.

Her latest book, The Broken Lands, has cemented her place as an author I will continue to watch.

The Broken Lands takes place in the broken United States in 1877, where the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction is still felt, and new innovations are battling against old
Mikka Gottstein
Apr 13, 2014 Mikka Gottstein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ich finde das Cover wunderschön - es vermittelt meiner Meinung nach sehr gut die Mischung aus Fantasy und Geschichte, die das Buch ausmacht. Im Buch finden sich übrigens auch weitere großartige Illustrationen der Künstlerin, Andrea Offermann, die das Titelbild gestaltet hat, und sie sind eine wahre Bereicherung für einen ohnehin fantastischen Roman!

Das Genre "Historic Fantasy" / "Fantastic History" ist bisher eher ein Stiefkind des Genres "Fantasy" - spontan fallen mir nur wenige Beispiele ein,
Kristi Bernard
May 31, 2015 Kristi Bernard rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Author Kate Milford loves writing stories set in the past with plenty of true historical references. Her book, The Boneshaker, is the sequel to The Broken Lands. The Boneshaker puts readers in 1914 Missouri where readers are introduced to Natali Minks. Natali loves machines and her story revolves around solving the mystery of a traveling medicine show. Milfords underlying themes in these books shares a story of family, community, courage and looking evil in the eye. The Broken Land hotel had ...more
Aug 21, 2012 Karissa rated it it was amazing
I got an advanced reading copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. I absolutely loved Milford’s first book, Boneshaker, and was so excited to read her next book. The Broken Lands doesn’t disappoint, it is supposed to be a prequel to Boneshaker and was an absolutely wonderful read.

This book takes place on Coney Island in the late 1870's. The main protagonists are a 15 yr old boy named Sam who is a card shark and a similarly aged Chinese girl named Jin who is a fireworks expert
Aug 18, 2012 Laurie rated it it was amazing
This book is set in an alternate history New York of 1877 and populated with a diverse and appealing cast of characters. It’s a fantasy, a battle of good vs. evil, and a coming of age tale. And it’s magical. It captured me almost instantly.

A force of evil is coming to New York, and his advance troops- a couple of supernatural beings- are planning on delivering the city to him. But they aren’t the only supernatural beings in the city, and when some of them get wind of the plot, a small group for
Bethany Miller
Jun 17, 2013 Bethany Miller rated it liked it
Shelves: royal-may-2013
The Broken Lands is set in an alternate version of New York in 1877; the Civil War is over and slavery has been abolished, but the country is still in a state of unrest. Walking amongst the humans are human-like roamers, one of whom is looking to claim New York City for his own. Sam is an orphan who earns his living as a card sharp on Coney Island. Jin is a young Chinese girl who creates beautiful fireworks displays with her uncle Liao. The two meet by chance at The Broken Lands Hotel where Fata ...more
Mar 12, 2013 Ryan rated it really liked it
Wonderful - I stayed up way too late finishing it.

This was an impulse check-out at the library. Cover caught my eye (I often judge books by their covers...) and then I read the dust jacket. "A crossroads can be a place of great power..." AND there is a bridge in the story. The only thing that could have made it better would be the addition of a dragon.

I was pretty much hooked after the first chapter: "A crossroads can be a place of great power; this should not come a any surprise. It is a place
Aug 01, 2015 Nicole rated it liked it
Bought this book to read on a return road trip. The novel opens with crossroads, and if you have heard any lore about those, then you can guess the path the story might take. Because where there's a crossroads, there is a devil to be had. Or, more accurately, the man the devil rejected from hell. This book was an easy read, and one that carried you along very easily. The world's magic is born of jumbled tales from folklore, and I loved both Sam and Jin. Their puppy love romance is prominent and ...more

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: The Civil War has ended, but the United States of America is in bad shape. The war has left the country broken and scarred, but the people are resilient as ever.

My Thoughts: As a lover of all things historical fiction, I had a great feeling about this novel before I even began. A little research told me that it was a prequel to another book - which I plan to go out and get ASA
Nov 04, 2013 Kira rated it it was amazing
Evidently it is a trend for me to stumble upon Kate Milford's books by accident; I found The Boneshaker because I thought it was a different book, and I found this because I wanted to see if the title had been taken (I was trying to find a title for this year's NaNoWriMo attempt). Needless to say, Milford's books are a delightful surprise. The combination of the setting (Coney Island, late 19th century) the story (mysterious murders, fireworks, pillars of the city) and the characters (teenaged c ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Ali rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this book. It's smarter than your average young adult novel, pulling in bits of fairy tales and lore in very subtle ways.

I found it a bit difficult to get into the book for some reason, though, and never fully got submersed in the narrative like I usually do when I read.

But my biggest problem was that Milford used a real person (Ambrose Bierce) in the novel for no good reason. I much prefer my historical fiction to involve ordinary people in importa
Ticklish Owl
The ebook, as is typical for Houghton Mifflin, wasn't well proofed. It's missing a chunk of text in chapter 26. Thankfully, I was able to read the missing portion in Google's book preview. I'm becoming quite wary of HMH published ebooks, too many errors. The story was wonderful, no stars lost for publisher laziness.

If you liked this book, you might also enjoy:
The Apothecary
Beyond the Deepwoods
The Night Circus
Dec 09, 2012 C.J. rated it really liked it
"Best not to go looking for yourself on the roads. The view changes, but there's no guarantee you will." So says a roamer of a character in Milford's The Broken Lands, and it's a theme that she set bloody well throughout. On top of madcap chases, peril, firecrackers and intrigue -- not to mention the textured taupe of State-side post-Civil War rot and unrest -- Milford neatly wove the self-discovery thread. It climbed through each character, uniquely, and came out to the aforementioned quote for ...more
C Hellisen
Five stars, were I still in the habit of giving out meaningless yellow shapes to such contrary things as stories.

An absolutely wonderful read, filled with things that made me grin in glee. (Santine! OMG the game of Santine!). It's not a book made of deep complicated characters, there are no anti-heroes here, but the characters are bright, firework bright, and I love the meeting of folktale and myth, and the history of New York and Brooklyn. This is urban fantasy at its finest, where the fantasti
I really struggled through this one. Long, drawn-out, extremely flawed writing style (so much passive language and sentences I had to read over and over before they made sense!). Murky world-builing: I never really understood what was going on with certain aspects of this book's mythology, not in the good, I-can't-wait-to-figure-it-out way, but the bad, I-really-don't-care!-how-many-pages-are-left? way. So many minor characters with similar names and descriptions, I had to stop and think to ...more
Aug 25, 2012 Becky rated it liked it
I just loved, loved, loved Kate Milford's The Boneshaker. I can't say I loved The Broken Lands as much, but, I still really liked it. I think I loved the narration more in Boneshaker. With The Boneshaker, it was love almost from the first page, it definitely took me longer to connect with the characters and the story from this newest book. But. Once I started caring about Sam and Jin, I did care. Both books, of course, are about good versus evil, and being brave enough to make the right choices ...more
Oct 15, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I had originally read Bone-Shaker, which I enjoyed but was a bit confused by. I always enjoy reading YA books alongside contemporary fiction and non-fiction, as easier reads. It took me a couple of chapters before I began to enjoy this book, but as I progressed further, and more of the story was revealed/characters introduced/history incorporated, I got sucked in. There actually was a lot of complexity to the story,and the use of history, place, lore, duty really came to the forefront. I would ...more
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Kate is the author of THE BONESHAKER, THE BROKEN LANDS, GREENGLASS HOUSE, and the forthcoming THE LEFT-HANDED FATE (Fall 2015). She is also the author of the self-published Arcana Project series. The first two volumes, THE KAIROS MECHANISM and BLUECROWNE, can be purchased for e-readers at all the usual outlets and in paperback from or The third volu ...more
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“any book in the world - if there was only one way to read and understand it, what would be the point of reading that book?” 3 likes
“The world is not simple. The world is not one place. It's the sum of an impossible number of incomprehensible things, and if you start out on any road in the world and follow it for any distance at all, sooner or later you enter into a strange country.” 2 likes
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