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In a post-war, future world, where first contact has been made with intelligent life and humans are colonizing the stars, the nations of Earth have been united under a central government. Extrahumans, those possessing supernatural abilities such as flight and strength, are required by this government to belong to the Union, where they can be trained, monitored, and weaponized.

Michael Forward is cursed with the ability to see the future – every possible future – when he gazes into another person’s eyes. All he has ever wanted is to escape the grim destiny he sees when he looks in the mirror, but when he is tasked with a mission that will define the course of human history, Michael finds he cannot refuse. Now, he needs the help of a homeless ex-superhero to save a baby who may become the key to humanity’s freedom.

Broken figured she was done with heroics when she lost the ability to fly and escaped the confinement of the Extrahuman Union. But then the world started to fall apart around her, and a desperate teenage prophet with a baby entered her life, offering her the possibility of redemption and a chance to fly once more.

In a time of spreading darkness, when paranoia and oppression reign, can these unlikely allies preserve a small ray of hope for a better, brighter future?

Ebook edition includes tie-in prequel short story "Crimson Cadet" and a preview of Sky Ranger, book 2 in the Extrahuman Union Series!

258 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 22, 2011

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Susan Jane Bigelow

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 107 reviews
Profile Image for Tori (InToriLex).
460 reviews360 followers
November 15, 2015
Find this and other Reviews at InToriLex
Actual Rating 3.5 Stars

I expected something very different, but this is a solid read for sci-fi and alien lovers alike. The sci-fi elements were interesting, but seem tacked on instead of weaved in  the story. Mostly this book describes how Broken and Micheal come to terms with who they are, and how to move forward after heart break. I wanted to know more about this world ruled by a misguided government after a war destroyed North America. However the world building took a back seat to a sparse prophecy about a baby who will change the future.





Despite the glaring similarities this has to X-men, the Extra-humans are used and abused at every turn by the government. They are stripped of their identity and manipulated into completing other people's dirty work. We also see some variation of powers such as being Lucky, Bringing peace and being able to see future possibilities rather than a set future. Racism, xenophobia, and sex are all things that are spoken of freely and make the story more real despite the futuristic setting. There were some great action sequences where futuristic weapons were met by Extrahuman force. Although some of the action was gory violence, it definitely kept me engaged and was believable.

"Like we're something extra. Not Really human. Just something else that the rest of them don't need."

There is a alien race that has made contact with humans, but does not enjoy a peaceful existence on earth. I wish the author went into more depth with some of the awesome and interesting ideas she introduces. I know that this will be a series, however there were too many unexplained elements,  first in series books should still be able to stand on their own merits. Overall this story had a lot of cool ideas and was engaging, I just wished it was a bit more developed. Definitely a great read for sc-fi lovers, who enjoy character development rather than a solid sci-fi narrative.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.
Profile Image for Mieneke.
782 reviews84 followers
March 28, 2016
susanjanebigelow-brokenIn a post-war, future world, where first contact has been made with intelligent life and humans are colonizing the stars, the nations of Earth have been united under a central government. Extrahumans, those possessing supernatural abilities such as flight and strength, are required by this government to belong to the Union, where they can be trained, monitored, and weaponized.

Michael Forward is cursed with the ability to see the future – every possible future – when he gazes into another person’s eyes. All he has ever wanted is to escape the grim destiny he sees when he looks in the mirror, but when he is tasked with a mission that will define the course of human history, Michael finds he cannot refuse. Now, he needs the help of a homeless ex-superhero to save a baby who may become the key to humanity’s freedom.

Broken figured she was done with heroics when she lost the ability to fly and escaped the confinement of the Extrahuman Union. But then the world started to fall apart around her, and a desperate teenage prophet with a baby entered her life, offering her the possibility of redemption and a chance to fly once more.

In a time of spreading darkness, when paranoia and oppression reign, can these unlikely allies preserve a small ray of hope for a better, brighter future?

I’ve only gotten into the whole superhero thing in the last five years. Yes, I watched cartoons when I was a kid and of course, I watched all the X-Men films in the cinema, but I never really thought of them as anything other than popcorn fodder. In the past few years, that has somewhat changed. Yes, through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but mostly through books and short stories. There were the Union Dues short stories at Escape Pod, the Secret World Chronicle, Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Cookie Cutter Superhero and Lavie Tidhar’s amazing The Violent Century to name a few. Susan Jane Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union books fit right in that line up, which made me very excited to read the first book in the series, Broken. It did NOT disappoint in the slightest.

The Extrahuman Union series is set in a very bleak future world, reminiscent of political movements in the past without actually naming them, and perhaps looking at the presidential primaries in the US, also strikingly current. In an almost prescient way — reminiscent of the power of one of the main characters, Michael — Bigelow shows how human mistrust, demagoguery, greed and fear of the other in any way, shape, or form can devolve in the most frightening ways. While the book was first published in 2011, reading the novel through the lens of political trends not just in the US, but in Europe as well, might make this book even more relevant today than when it was first published.

The Others that people fear take the form of the Rätons and the Rogarians, the aliens that have come to Earth, and the form of humans with Gifts. Anyone who manifest a gift has to join the Extrahuman Union or go off the grid, else they risk getting killed, either by the authorities or by bigots. Of course, this isn’t a new concept—it is at the heart of the X-Men too, but Bigelow makes it different through her setting and through the political positioning of the Extrahuman Union. Also, there is plotting and betrayal within the Union, which is always fascinating. I really liked how Bigelow structured the Extrahuman Union, with the leader of the Union always being Sky Ranger, who is followed by his chosen Sky Cadet. With the changing of names there comes a change of position and also an inevitable loss of prior identity and allegiances, something illustrated in the flashbacks we get of Broken’s past.

While Broken is the titular protagonist, Michael is as much the main character as she is, perhaps even more so. I loved the interaction between the two; even if they never really get to know each other’s backgrounds, they grudgingly form a bond that is surprisingly intuitive, having them falling into a working partnership without even having to think about it. Self-acceptance and (re-) discovering one’s identity is a very big theme in the story, both for Michael and Broken, yet their development is very different, travelling different arcs converging on the same point: finding a purpose. That purpose — saving the world — is personified in baby Ian, and the way they each care for him in different, but equally awkward ways was fantastic. Added to the mix of main characters is Monica, whose Räton-style living arrangements in a multiple partner, communal marriage are also considered Other and sees them increasingly persecuted by the larger populace. Add to this her membership of the United Nations Party, which has been outlawed, and she has to flee her home to survive and she accompanies the group on their quest to save Ian. Each in their own way wants to change the world for the better and all are scarred by the world they live in.

There is a lot of history mentioned in the book that is never really elaborated upon, such as the arrival of the Rätons and the Rogarian wars. What isn’t mentioned explicitly is how the world came to be in the state we find it in at the beginning of the book, something I would love to learn more about. In fact, there is so much I want to know about the universe Bigelow has built! Such as, what exactly are the Rätons and the Rogarians? Do they and humans inhabit the same planets or are they separate? What was humanity’s reaction when they first encountered these aliens. And when did Gifts first start showing up? Are they connected to the arrival of the aliens? Lots of questions, which I hope we’ll get answers to in the next three books.

Broken was a fantastic read. I absolutely loved the characters and the world and Susan Jane Bigelow made some narrative choices that took a lot of guts and completely blew me away. There is a lot of crossover appeal for this one, as I can see a lot of YA readers enjoying this one, even if it is certainly an adult book. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Extrahuman Union series, Sky Ranger come June. If you didn’t get into this series when it was first published, you should definitely read it now. Come for the superheroes, stay for the characters and world-building; I highly recommend Broken.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
77 reviews39 followers
March 30, 2011
You know, it's all about the classics nowadays. We saw the resurgence of the vamps, then the weres, and even the zombies saw a little action recently. So, it makes sense that the creme de la creme of supes should reemerge in literature . . thank you, Susan Bigelow for bringing back actual superheroes in a fantastic way. Broken is such an invigorating breath of fresh air. If you are looking for a post-war, dystopian-type read with interesting characters possessing a supernatural twist, this one is for you.

The book was a bit confusing at the very beginning - you are thrown into a paranoid world full of Unions, suspicions and violence. The details are a little sketchy, but essentially two warring alien races introduced themselves somewhere in the mid-part of this century. The human race allies itself to one. In the midst of that war, war also broke out on Earth. NYC in particular got the holy hell bombed out of it, and now Australia occupies the seat of power for the Earth and its planetary colonies in space. It sounds like a lot, but the history is built up through out the book, and you quickly catch on through the alternating third-person limited points-of-view of Michael and Broken. Like the synopsis says, Broken is a has-been superhero who's lost her ability to fly. Flying defined Broken back in the day, and without it, she doesn't feel that she is anything much worth loving. Michael is a prescient - someone who can look people dead in the face and see their possible futures. He has inherited a mission of sorts - to get a baby who holds the future peace of the world or its destruction in his tiny hands to a safe place to be raised. And he needs Broken to help, but she's turned into a homeless alcoholic. Michael has a hook, though, and it's not one that Broken can say no to. Seriously, could you say no to your heart's dearest desire?

I may have to change my tune now about plot driven books because this ride was awesome. Not that the characters were lacking, because they weren't - in fact, I should say that Broken is a great example of balancing good plot with solid characterization. Michael is this baby brother-like kid forced into the role of reluctant hero, and wow, could you feel his apprehension about having to do all this. He nearly broke my heart sometimes. Broken was one of the saddest, most pathetic creatures I've ever read (she and Tom Mackee from The Piper's Son would have some fabulous conversations), and Monica . . she was the wild card, the one who got thrown into this mess after she loses her family. Although not as significant as Broken and Michael, she adds a very human, very poignant touch of being caught up in everything and just trying to deal.

The writing is tight, simple and its simplicity works well against the gritty landscape of this world, and it moves the story along at a great pace. There's a lot that happens in this book, so I think it's a huge testament to the plot that it never felt lacking or lagging in any areas for me. Biegelow also keeps you guessing about many things and reveals them slowly through flashbacks and chance encounters. In fact, you don't even really know Broken and Michael's ages until you are well into the book. About the only thing I could have asked for was a clearer explanation about what happened on Planet We're Screwed a bit earlier in the book - but, hey, it's speculative fiction! What's the point in reading if you aren't paying attention and figuring things out for yourself?

This is a book I would suggest for older YA readers - there are a few sexual encounters, some language,and a good age range amongst the three main characters. In general, there is a very mature, older feel to this book. In fact, I see a great crossover potential. It deals a lot with ideas we can all relate to: that life is about choices, that you have to put your faith in doing the right thing, no matter how hard it is, and that there are things far greater than yourself in this world. Sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous and always immersed in the what-ifs, Broken is a great book about deciding what your future is and making the choices and taking the actions to get there.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 46 books128k followers
May 24, 2013
Well, I think this book was pretty good, it actually surprised me because I forgot why I downloaded it, haha. Probably because it was a superhero novel, and I haven't read a lot of those.

This book's strongest thing is originality, it's set in the dystopian future (WHY IS EVERYTHING DYSTOPIAN NOW?!) but aliens exist and there are superheroes too. The worldbuilding doesn't hold up to a TON of scrutiny, but if you go along for the ride it's really fun, kind of like Looper in a way. The main character, a teen called Michael, has powers, and he just knows he has to save a baby he finds to save the world, and the way to do it is through a Broken superhero woman formerly known as SilverWyng.

There are some really interesting things here that were surprising, the character relationships were original, and the plotting was pretty good. I feel like this might be a first novel, so I would definitely be interested in what this author does in the future, it's so rare you see anything original in the superhero genre, so bravo to that!
Profile Image for TheBookSmugglers.
669 reviews1,984 followers
Read
February 22, 2016
We are publishing the new edition of Broken in the lead up to the first edition publication of the last book in the series, Extrahumans.

This is awesome, obvs.
Profile Image for Heidi.
756 reviews175 followers
March 15, 2013
4.5 Stars

Note: this is a spoiler free review I wrote for the series covering Broken, Fly Into Fire, and The Spark.

Every so often in a reader’s life they come across a set of books that makes their jaw drop. Not because they’re awesome, or surprising, or because they’re unlike anything you’ve read before, not even because they are so real. The Extrahumans series by Susan Jane Bigelow is all these things, but the jaw dropping results from the fact that they are absolutely criminally under-read. Yes, every time you discover a new author and series to love it is shiny to you, and you get excited and want to tell everyone ever–but in the case of Extrahumans, this series isn’t just new to me, it’s new to nearly everyone in the book community. So take notes, because I’m about to tell you why Extrahumans is worth your time and money (seriously folks, you can purchase this entire trilogy as e-books for less than one hardcover would cost you).

This was it, then. No more waiting.

His heart pounded. His possibilities all had this moment, but he didn’t have to take it. He could put it down. He could run away. He could live. The world would shift and change–he felt the possibilities morphing and twisting out ahead of him. This moment, more than any other, could change them all.

“Take him,” the woman said shakily. ”Take him.” She pressed a warm, squirming bundle into his arms.

There was no choice, really. He took it from her, and half of the possibilities winked out of existence.


Me attempting to pitch Extrahumans to the boyfriend:

“It’s the first series I’ve read and thought ‘Wow, this would make an amazing graphic novel, but it really works in prose format’. It has a lot of the same moral issues as X-Men, with the grungy aftertaste of Watchmen. You know, forcibly retired superheroes only with actual powers so they have an odd standing in society.

In fact, it’s like Watchmen and X-Men had a beautiful awesome baby that grew up to be it’s own thing instead of derivative.”

If that makes any sense.

Susan Jane Bigelow’s Extrahumans is a series that is greater than the sum of its parts. She throws us into a dystopian-type setting just as the government shifts hands and wrests strict control over the human populated planets of the universe. Through this change, we see how those who suffered prejudices under the old government would suffer more greatly under a new regime. The Extrahumans, a group of humans with powers, have been forcibly rounded up and had their lives restricted to a single tower in New York City. Compelled to work for the government, often as some sort of law enforcement, the Extrahumans were robbed of their families, names, and any choice in who they would become.

Over the years, some Extrahumans escaped the tower, while others avoided being found in the first place. Broken, a former member of the Extrahuman’s enforcement squad, escapes with her healing powers after losing her ability to fly. Lucky they let go when she became un-Lucky. Michael the never found. Michael is a prescient, able to see potential futures when he looks directly at someone. Living outside of Extrahuman society he’s marked himself as a Cassandra, able to tell the future that no one will believe; no one until he meets Broken. Together, Broken and Michael must work together to set events on a course with the best outcome possible for humanity. Unfortunately, the other side has a prescient working for them as well.

Susan Jane Bigelow has done such an amazing job crafting this series. We get to see the world fall apart, but it isn’t the world we care about in the long run, it’s the individuals. It is a story that comes full circle through the letters of a prescient Extrahuman that dies several years before the first book opens. If you’re looking for your standard dystopian rebellion and government collapse fare, I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere–this isn’t it. What Extrahumans is is an amazingly written, action-packed, and very philisophical examination of what it means to be human.

The Extrahumans are a people who have to deal with the labels that have been pressed upon them, right down to the ridiculous superhero names the government gave them. “Extrahumans. Like we’re something extra. Not really human. Just something else that the rest of them don’t need.” But it isn’t just the Extrahumans. Susan Jane Bigelow uses this world to show us the parallel struggles of all marginalized groups, through gender and sexuality, religion, or political beliefs. It is the type of series where the reader will take away as much as they want–you can just sit back and enjoy the ride, but you can also grab hold of this wonderful opportunity to really think about everything Susan Jane Bigelow so subtly deals with.

For me, Broken, was the most edge-of-my-seat exciting of the three, Fly Into Fire was much more slowly paced, but the stakes started to ramp up as the book went on. However, The Spark was truly the book that shined of the three, showing how well plotted this story had been from the beginning and focusing on the character who easily became my favorite by the end. Each book is different from the others in perspective, pace, and story, but what remains consistent is Susan Jane Bigelow’s ability to take the road less traveled. She managed to surprise me consistently, and I wanted to hug her by the end for being willing to say “screw fate”, even if we’ll end up where we’re meant to be regardless.

Original review posted at Bunbury in the Stacks.
Profile Image for deilann.
183 reviews21 followers
May 11, 2015
Originally posted on my blog, SpecFic Junkie.

Annoying, eye-rolling dialogue paired with cardboard cut-out characters, Broken really fails to hold its own. Then the book tries to deal with issues like trauma, polyamory, and anarchism, but does so in a way that just makes the author uniformed. Oh, and the book is padded. Huge margins and text, so the publisher could make it to 300 pages.

Broken follows the story of a fourteen-year-old who is given a kid by a woman before she throws herself in front of a train. He has to do the right things so that the child will save the world. He's aided in doing these things because he can see future possibilities if he looks in someone's face. He knows he needs to pick up a woman who renamed herself Broken after she lost the ability to fly or else... bad vague things will happen.

The dialogue is all written in short sentences with the same structure. It doesn't matter who's talking. And sometimes it was just so terrible, not from structure, but from content, that I couldn't figure out if I was laughing or crying at it.

Broken is broken and we know it because she calls herself Broken. She shows plot-convenient brokenness, but nothing approaching what I've seen in meatspace. Just so shallow.

Oh, and so one of Broken's friend is living in a poly household. And they just go on and on about how alien this is. (Literally. Apparently standard-ish poly households were brought to Earth by an alien culture and everyone things it's oh so weird. Um.)

At another point, they end up with the American Liberation Army, who fits the standard stereotype of preppers, but see, America is gone now because there's a world government. And stuff. And everyone hates the extrahumans because they're too powerful. And stuff. Oh, but so the ALA has to deal with these anarchists but everyone laughs at the anarchists and they just aren't what you'd expect!

The characters are stupidly one-dimensional, too. They are either evil-evil or good-good, except for one who basically has some pretty good points, but then he clearly is also evil. Which is funny because he makes a statement about how there's no such thing really as good and evil. But then he goes and does evil stuff.

Here's the thing: I get this is YA. But just because someone's a teenager doesn't mean they're stupid and you have to treat them like they can't read. It's possible to create engaging literature aimed at young adults that isn't simplistic in content or prose. It still should be readable and accessible and contain themes that teenagers are interested in.

But don't treat kids like they're stupid. Because chances are, if they've picked up your debut novel published by a small press, they're a reader. Kids who aren't avid readers don't stumble upon stuff like that. And kids who are avid readers can handle a book that challenges them in more ways than one.
Profile Image for Nicky.
4,138 reviews1,009 followers
September 6, 2016
Perhaps it’s not surprising after Ryan @ SpecFic Junkie‘s review, but I really didn’t enjoy this book either. The set-up sounded kind of cool: I enjoy superhero stories in prose, because it’s a style of story I’m very familiar with from a childhood watching cartoons and Lois & Clark, but I’m not the world’s most visual person and sometimes comics really don’t work for me because they require more of an eye for detail. And a superheroine who has lost her powers teaming up with a guy who can see the future, in order to save a kid — okay, I’m in.

In execution, though, the prose is rather… dead, and the characters are exactly as one-dimensional as Ryan warned me. And the whole thing with the polyamorous household where polyamory has apparently been brought to human culture by aliens and everything’s weird and… um, no, I know a couple of people who are in polyamorous relationships, some of them like the one described, and it’s just… not that shocking.

Despite the cool-sounding premise, I was pretty much immediately turned off by main characters’ self-pity. Like Broken: she names herself Broken because she’s lost her ability to fly. And she fritters away her life because she’s broken. And yes, yes, we get it, you’re broken, your whole identity apparently depended on being able to fly. Right. Tired of that now!

Originally posted here.
Profile Image for Glinda Harrison.
267 reviews42 followers
January 17, 2011
This is a beautiful piece of speculative fiction. It is set in a dystopian world ruled by an evil dictator, loosely based on our earth, but one in which superheroes exist. It is against this background that author Susan Jane Bigelow skillfully crafts the extremely compelling story of a broken superhero and a scared young man who can see the future. Together, they must save a child who is mankind's hope for the future.

I thought this book was absolutely amazing! Bigelow is a gifted writer with a definite talent for story telling. I thought the story was fresh and interesting with completely believable characters. It was an extremely satisfying read and I am looking forward to a sequel.

Profile Image for Pamela.
317 reviews223 followers
March 23, 2011
Broken is a pretty damn amazing novel, if you’ll pardon my French. It is at once a chilling dystopia and an absorbing story of human emotion, beautifully written and absolutely addictive.

Pretty much everything about this book came together wonderfully. The world itself, a future Earth that has been shaped by war and encounters with alien races, is both fascinating and frightening, and it’s interestingly relevant to me. The government is slipping into totalitarian fascism, having been taken over by what are basically human supremacists. They not only want to take back power from alien allies, but they also distrust the extrahumans, people born with special powers. The Black Bands, as their groups of glorified thugs are called, dispense their own brand of justice to anyone perceived as a dissenter, and riots have begun breaking out all over Earth.

In the middle of this is Michael Forward, who is one of the best protagonists I’ve run across in quite a while. A teenage boy who can see the future–in the form of flashes of possibilities–he finds himself at the front of an effort to bring peace to Earth and its many colonies and allies. He must get a baby to the safety of a colony planet, for this child will grow up either to be their savior or their worst nightmare. He can’t do this alone, so he finds Broken, a former superhero who let her life fall apart when she lost the ability to fly.

Broken, formerly known as Silverwyng, is a deeply compelling character. She’s at absolute rock bottom and thinks she’s worthless without the ability to fly. She can heal any wound and can even come back from the dead, but with the sky taken from her, she abandons her home, the Union, and lives on the streets, stealing and scrounging to get by. She decides to help Michael for reasons that aren’t even really clear to her, and as they try to make their way to the spaceport to get off-planet, they meet Monica, a young woman who loses everything to the Black Bands.

Of the three main characters, Monica is the least developed, but perhaps this is because none of the story is narrated from her third-person point of view. Most of the novel switches between Michael’s and Broken’s points of view, so we get more of a sense of the way their minds work, the way they see the world and react to it. We only see Monica through Michael and Broken, so our perception of her is colored by their perceptions, and we also don’t get much insight into her thoughts or motivations. It’s an odd choice, to make one of the three main characters a non-POV character, and by doing so limit the amount of empathy the reader feels for her. But overall, the characters are very rich. Michael in particular is my favorite; he’s the perfect encapsulation of a teenage boy forced to grow up too quickly. He feels young, but at the same time, he’s the oldest soul in the group. I suppose seeing possibilities of your own death every time you look in the mirror will do that to you.

The plot rolls along at a solid pace, twisting and turning and building up the tension until I was hanging on every page, desperate to see how it was going to end. The world itself is a masterfully created dystopia, and I really like how Bigelow never dumps it on the reader all at once. Over the course of the story, we learn more and more about the world and its history, and there are few things I appreciate more in speculative fiction than a well-developed world without infodumps.

I said in my review of Erekos, the publisher’s first offering, that Candlemark and Gleam is an indie publisher to watch. Broken is, for me, proof that C&G have an eye for excellent, out-of-the-ordinary fiction. You should definitely keep an eye on their upcoming works.

(Review originally published at The Discriminating Fangirl)
Profile Image for Michelle.
109 reviews37 followers
February 9, 2012
One would think that a dystopian novel set in a future that is not only post-apocalyptic but also post-alien contact would feel, well, alien, and would take some suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader - especially when the superhumans are added in. One would be wrong. Susan Jane Bigelow is a master world-builder; it is frighteningly easy to see the roots of our earth in hers. The dystopia feels like an organic evolution, a natural conclusion, for all that it feels so different. What is even more interesting is how Bigelow achieves this - no info dumps, bad-guy monologues, or even omnipotent narration. Everything comes directly from the experiences of our characters - sometimes flashbacks, sometimes flashforwards, sometimes during the action - but always first person. I don't particularly like Robert Southey, but Bigelow's writing reminded me of a one of his most famous quotes that, despite myself, I do like:
"If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn."

Bigelow's words are brief, and they burn. The tension, the fear, the sense of danger felt by the characters is palpable on each page. There were multiple times where I felt my heart racing, or caught myself holding my breath, trying to remain silent so that Micheal wouldn't be caught. Bigelow surprised me. For someone who loves to wallow in descriptions, I was amazed at how evocative I found her writing.

Broken is full of love stories: friendships, romances, families. It is full of conflicted emotions: characters doubting themselves, doubting others, struggling with what defines a hero or heroism, which sacrifices are worthwhile. These things are all in the story because they are part of all human stories; but they do not define it. I think that is one of the things I liked best about Broken; everyone was shown in all their glory and beauty and muck and mess. Each possible future laid out before the characters says as much about the characters themselves as it does their future. Michael can see only possible futures of choices they might actually make - and Bigelow uses this to show the readers so much more about the characters than we would otherwise know.

Broken works really well as a stand alone, but the world Bigelow has created is interesting enough that I would read more books set there. Broken did have a few detraction's - I was a little sad to see that the villain was not given the same depth and breadth as all of Bigelow's other characters. Also, on a slightly-spoilery note, Michael reads much older than 14 or 18, the two possible ages given for him. If he is really 14, which I think he is, then Broken is technically adult speculative fiction, but I think it would do well with an older YA audience, and see why it is occasionally being billed as such.

Free copy provided by Candlemark & Gleam as part of the promotion for the sequel, Fly Into Fire.
Profile Image for Nancy Brauer.
Author 4 books12 followers
January 10, 2011
If superheroes ever come to be, the dystopian future of Susan Jane Bigelow's Broken is entirely probable. Broken is set a hundred years in the future, where humanity is seemingly united under one government and the United States is a backwater. Extrahumans like the titular character Broken are required by law to live in the Extrahuman Union Tower, a gleaming skyscraper towering over the half-ruined New York City.

Broken is similarly ruined. After losing the ability to fly, she fled the Tower and moved to Skid Row. Michael, a young Extrahuman who sees possible futures, drags her out of her self-imposed exile. He needs her help to flee Earth to escape the increasingly oppressive government. Michael carries with him two burdens: multiple bleak futures for himself, and an infant in his backpack. All of the possible futures show the orphan to be a great leader. Whether the boy becomes a liberator or despot depends on Michael's and Broken's journey.

Bigelow skillfully weaves multiple plot threads and character arcs through the detailed world she's created. Broken, Michael, and their ally Monica are well-developed and sympathetic characters. Rooting for them during their trials came naturally. Along the way we meet multiple secondary and tertiary characters. Each is appropriately imagined and fleshed-out. Despite the large cast, I was never confused or forgot who a character was.

The aspect of Broken that I enjoyed the most is the juxtaposition of superhero tropes like silly names and costumes with the dark side of humanity. Humans are slightly evolved animals; it doesn't take much for a demagogue to whip his or her followers into a xenophobic mob. Bigelow explains why caped crusaders with names like Silverwyng and Sky Ranger exist in the Broken universe. The explanation and the world's history are doled out gradually through the plot and character interaction. Between that and the book's quick pace, I had trouble putting it down.

If you're in the mood for a dystopian, superhuman, sci-fi adventure, I highly recommend Broken. It's a fun yet serious read; no cackling supervillains necessary.
Profile Image for Christie.
455 reviews164 followers
April 15, 2011
Michael Forward can see glimpses of the future when he looks into a persons face. These glimpses are just possible outcomes for the their life. His visions change as the course in which they are on does. He has known for several years he would have to find an orphaned infant in order to prevent the child from falling into the wrong hands and growing up to become a monster. He also knows a silver haired woman will help him. He didn’t plan on that woman being a homeless Extrahuman (think superhero) who turned to alcohol when she lost the ability to fly. Together they set out on a dangerous journey, and meet many unique characters and challenges along the way.


Broken isn’t like anything I’ve read before. I found the synopsis extremely intriguing, but being the kind of girl who isn’t really into superheroes I didn’t know what to expect. I must say I was extremely impressed and just might have to start calling myself a girl who is into superheroes. Such a great mix of characters and action. I had trouble putting this one down even when it was way past my bedtime. It is set on Earth, which seems to have been sent into upheaval when it was invaded by life from another planet. Yes, superheroes and aliens in the same book. Cool, right?


Broken is the name Silverwyng took when she realized the doctors couldn’t help her to fly again. Having spent most of her life in the Tower with other Extrahumans so much of her identity was linked to her abilities. When her abilities failed she ran, and was forced to live a life on the streets hiding from those who knew her. She is the kind of character you want to see come out on top. You can’t help but to root for her to overcome her issues. Michael is also a great character, and I adored his selfless nature. There is also many secondary characters that added so much to this great plot. This book really has so much depth and so many layers, but the action makes it a very fast paced read. I couldn’t believe how quickly I finished reading.


Broken is a real gem, and one that I can see appealing to fans of both sci-fi and dystopia genres.
Profile Image for Kate.
124 reviews11 followers
January 27, 2011
From start to finish, Broken is snappy, well-paced, and utterly engaging. Although the prose is often stark, it fits well with the bleak, dystopian future laid out before us - a future where mankind has united under one government following several devastating wars, including one interplanetary conflict. That government is, perhaps, not as benevolent as we might like - a fact that young Michael Forward, who is capable of seeing glimpses of the future in other's faces - is quickly coming to realize.

Michael's own fate is intertwined with that of Broken, a fallen superhero who illegally left the Extrahuman Union when she lost her ability to fly. Living on the streets, she's a shadow of her former self - but that doesn't stop her from joining forces with Michael and Monica, a young woman who's lost her family to rioting and bigotry, in order to try to rescue humanity's last best hope for a better tomorrow.

While the setting of Broken is engrossing and impossibly well-thought-out, it's the characters that truly make this book shine. Dystopian stories often have really unlikable characters, people you wouldn't mind seeing eaten by the local cannibals. Not so here. Everyone has their flaws - some significant - but that just makes you care about them MORE. Every time Michael, or Broken, or Monica screws up, gets frustrated, screams or cries...you know why, and you empathize. You feel for them when they triumph, and worry when they get in a corner. And you always, always want to know more about them.

Broken could've been just another "young hero following his fate" action story, or just another "what happens when the world goes wrong and a dictatorship takes over" story. It could've been just another grey, dull, depressing entry into the popular YA dystopia genre. It could've been just another story with superheroes.

It's not.

It's a glimmering look into a bleak future, dotted with bright little sparks of hope, and threaded throughout with a realism that makes your heart alternately ache and soar right along with Broken...
Profile Image for Kate.
468 reviews79 followers
August 4, 2011
Since 2011 seems to be the year of dystopian novels, I expected Broken to fit into the cookie-cutter format that I am beginning to see emerge. What I didn't expect was how Broken pretty much avoided all the stereotypes to give a unique take on dystopian / science-fiction reads and superheroes.. all rolled together into a pretty amazing package.

One of the first things that readers will notice is the almost choppiness feeling of the chapters. Bigelow continuously keeps her readers on their toes by switching back and forth between current events and those that are being remembered or possibly in the upcoming future. At first, it took me a while to get use to this format. I would be caught up in the moment to only be thrust into another scene / time frame. After a while, I finally got use to this interesting writing style. And would even go so far to say that it makes the novel even better due to continously trying to figure out what may come next.

It would be too easy to throw Broken into one category or another. But there is simply too much here for me to really classify it. Poignant characters. Plot driven action. There are so many levels to this novel. Broken is not a novel that I normally would have picked up. But I am glad that I did.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
939 reviews79 followers
January 23, 2011
I was really surprised by Broken. I've seen a lot of superhero movies, but had never read a superhero novel. I had assumed that superheroes just wouldn't work in novel form. Broken showed me the error of my ways.

Broken was a superhero named Silverwyng before she lost the ability to fly. Now she's a homeless alcoholic who is killed often but just can't seem to stay dead. As she tries to help Michael save a baby he psychically sees as the savior to their unstable world, she begins to face her own demons along the way.

Michael is the heart of the story. He cares in a world where people have lost hope. He risks his life time and again (and knows it since he can see his own future by looking in the mirror) to give the world a chance at happiness in the future. In Broken, Michael is the character you root for, care about, and inevitably come to love.

Broken is a dark story with a troubled superhero battling more than just villains. This was a fantastic debut novel for Susan Jane Bigelow and I can't wait to read more from her in the future.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,859 reviews5,634 followers
Read
March 3, 2013
Honestly, I could not for the life of me get into this book. I read about 20% of the way through before I called it quits. The beginning was too muddled for me with the jumping around and the confusing world building. I'm not going to rate this one because I know I didn't read enough to give it a truly fair shot.
Profile Image for Tiger Gray.
Author 1 book31 followers
January 22, 2011
I am lucky enough to have an ARC of Broken, the upcoming release from e-publisher Candlemark & Gleam, on my Kindle. Thank you to Kate for giving me a chance to read this upcoming title.

I read this book in a single sitting. I’d already whetted my appetite for it with the sample chapters available on Candlemark & Gleam’s website (include link), and couldn’t stop thinking about them. So, I approached the book with a hunger that had to be sated all at once.

Michael Forward sees possible futures. Most of them include him being given guardianship of a young child, a child who can either make or break the world. His visions also include Broken, once Silverwyng, a former super hero turned street rat. He promises her that, should she help him, her lost ability to fly will return.

With only that dim hope to guide her, Broken decides to throw her lot in with Michael’s, and they journey with the baby they name Ian towards the future, the future where Ian brings all warring factions together in peace.

Of course, there are many forces who want Ian so they can raise him to be the great dictator they prefer, and therein lies the thrust of the novel. Michael, Broken, and eventually Monica dodge government enforcers, make friends with crazed revolutionaries, deal with hunger, cold and the challenges of having a child in their care on their journey towards the idyllic planet Valen and the shining future
Michael can still see for Ian there, no matter the challenges he and his friends face.

What truly stands out to me about this book is the atmosphere. Sparsely detailed, the scarcity of description feels deliberate rather than like an oversight. The sense of snow and deepening twilight skies hangs over everything. The tension is likewise pervasive, subdued, building quietly so that the few exultant or frightening moments you do get are all the more powerful.

The author has a tendency for taking the expected and remaking it to her own ends. We learn that Broken, a super hero who has since lost her ability to fly and fallen on hard times, loves cats. Normally I think I would find this device cheap, but in Bigelow’s hands I find myself empathizing with Broken when she finds a cat, murdered by the antagonistic Black Bands, in an alley.

Bigelow continues in the tradition of Watchmen and some of the grittiest Batman graphic novels, creating a dystopian super hero future (where aliens, alien politics and traditions also complicate matters) rather than subscribing to a more idyllic notion of those with extraordinary powers. There is no shining Captain America here, even if Sky Ranger, the head of the Extrahumans, strives to be like him. (and mostly fails)

In Bigelow’s world, the fascist regime has the power, those super heroes still conforming to their regulations acting more like government enforces than the vigilante dispensers of justice we’ve become used to in other works. The thread of identity is a delicate but complete thread throughout the book, as one of the most basic concepts of the genre, the super hero identity, is assigned in this world rather than chosen.

It is clear from the tone and what happens to the main characters that there is no safe place for those who want to live outside those rules, but one of the masterful things about this book is that as soon as you are about to become bogged down by hopelessness and tragedy, Bigelow gives you a little shining moment of peace, like the familiar golden glow from the windows of a home where you might rest for the night. I think it is important to give readers a place to breathe, and this book does that very well.

Michael Forward, the man who helps drive the story along with the eponymous Broken, is a classic example of the hero who does not want his destiny. This is summed up with an exchange between Broken and their friend, Monica, when Monica asks why Michael cares about saving humans when he doesn’t seem to get along with most of them. Broken simply replies that he does so because he can. The power of individuals to affect change is also a well realized theme here, and it is what keeps us cheering for our ragged band of main characters.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS





The pacing is both good and bad. In places it is just right, choppy flashbacks interspersed with current reality in a way that is gripping. The beginning is wonderful, crammed with details that inspire further reading. However, towards the end, once Michael makes his decision and the major plot points are mostly resolved, we descend in to details that, frankly, I think could have been cut. Some of the tension—will Broken really fly, as Michael has seen in his visions?—is lost because this section drags in to mundane details.

I would have liked to see more of a connection with the man the women eventually give Ian to. The narrative never explains him, so he is simply convenient. In a way this works with the story, which is all about being disconnected from one’s self, other people, the divide between alien and human, but I would have liked some of that connective tissue to carry through here.

Some of the visuals are beautiful. As Broken begins to remember her past, she recalls the moment she realized she had super powers. Her healing factor comes about when she is pinched by a crab and her finger regrows, and that sky blue crab looms larger and larger in her memory with each recollection. Because the scenery otherwise is so gritty, it stands out for us too, sky blue in a setting otherwise made up of gray concrete and slush.

The subtle creepiness in this story is nicely shown when Michael, Broken and Ian meet Jaenene, a woman able to project an aura of peace. However, it is all too easy for Michael to sink in to that aura and lose sight of his goal. This is a nice analogy for how many people give up their freedoms to fascist governments, lulled in to a sense of security by empty promises.


***


All of Bigelow’s main characters, often heroic against their wills and desires, have feet of clay. But some rise above, realizing that in the struggle between freedom and fascism it isn’t the relative comfort of the people that matters, but rather our right to do what we like with our futures. Michael’s power of prescience shows us that there is no preordained straight path, only possible ends that are always in flux.


Broken is a smart, readable book, and despite some minor pacing issues I recommend it. It’s a well thought out contribution to dystopian super hero fiction, and I encourage everyone to immerse themselves in the thoughtful landscape and characters that, despite their rags and alcoholism and other trappings of desperation, manage to make you invest in them not in spite of these flaws, but because of them.



Profile Image for Stephanie Lorée.
Author 11 books20 followers
June 3, 2012
(No Spoilers) Broken is the titular name of the main character in Susan Jane Bigelow's debut novel from Candlemark & Gleam, small press publishers of exemplary speculative fiction. Broken is a former superhero turned homeless alcoholic who encounters a young man named Michael Forward. While the story covers the journey of Broken from disavowed Extrahuman Union member to drunkard to unlikely savior, the real hero of this book is, in fact, Michael.

You see, Michael can see the future as a stream of possibilities, some more likely than others. In most of them, a baby is the key to humanity's freedom. And in others, the baby grows to be humanity's downfall. The future hinges on how this babe is raised and influenced, and Michael sets out to make sure it's for the good. To do this, Michael must convince Broken to protect them and deal with his impending demise by the thin man.

Ah, the thin man. Talk about a great villain. No matter what Michael seems to do, the thin man is always there in potential futures. And in most of these, Michael dies by the thin man's hand.

The writing is in third person, past tense. The perspective changes between Michael and Broken, but is never jarring, happening most often during chapter breaks. Bigelow provides a good transition between characters, and being in either Michael or Broken's head is engaging for the reader.

Pace is snappy with conflict and no long, unnecessary details. Bigelow focuses on the important bits and moves us from scene to scene quickly, heightening both the plot and tension.

The plot itself is entertaining, if a bit contrived. Visions and prophecies are difficult to pull off, often leaving a bad taste in my mouth as I notice authors
pushing the narrative along by prophetic plot device alone. BROKEN isn't entirely this way, but sometimes it relied too heavily on these elements without providing strong enough character motivations. This nitpick certainly wasn't enough to stop me from reading, however.

Because straight up, BROKEN is superhero fiction at its finest. It takes old comic book cliches and spits vodka on them. It's a fast read, with lovely character development, and a dark, dirty underbelly.

And if you want to read about a real superhero, one without spandex or a diamond-glittering grin, one who's tired and lonely and scared of the costs of doing the right thing, Michael Forward is your man. And if you want to read about a beaten-down woman who isn't afraid to die (over and over and over), sacrificing her body and sanity to save a young man and his baby...

Well, BROKEN is your woman. Or your book. Or whatever. Just read it. It's that good.

Content Warning: PG-13 (violence, language, mature themes)

Rating: 4 Stars
Profile Image for Between the Covers.
104 reviews56 followers
February 10, 2011
Reviewed by Christin for Between the Covers

Really 4.5 stars

Although I love dystopian novels, I will admit that I have never been the largest sci-fi or superhero enthusiast. Broken may have just changed that. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect with this novel, but this book drew me in from the beginning and kept me reading eagerly.

Set in 2107, Earth has dealt with alien invasions, another world war, and now has a global government based out of Australia that controls not only Earth but also a host of colonies. But still all is not well; there are political factions and dissenters and those who would rather not have Extrahumans, or superheroes. It is in such an unstable climate that Michael Forward, a Prescient, must deliver a baby to Valen - a baby that well may hold the future of the world in his hands. But to do so, Michael will need Silverwyng - or Broken, as she now calls herself. Finally joining together despite the odds, Michael and Broken, along with Monica, a woman who's lost her family due to the political situation, set out on their perilous journey. But even with Michael's foresight, he can't predict everything...and when death is the only possible future, what do you do?

Broken is a wonderfully crafted narrative with many different dimensions to the story. Although initially I found some things a bit confusing, even this meshed with how the characters were. As the book progresses, we learn more about each character - we come to understand them as they come to understand themselves. I found the interweaving of flashbacks and flash-forwards to be extremely effective. Even without all of the pieces in place, it is extremely easy to sympathize with the characters, to feel their pain and sadness, to find amusement in the smallest things, to wonder, to hope. Somehow Bigelow takes a story that could so easily be just dystopian, or just about superheroes, or just about self-discovery, and fuses them together in a new and compelling way.

I have to say that I was completely unprepared for the ending - there were aspects that I thought were beautifully handled, but at the same time a few things left me wondering. I don't know if there are plans for a sequel (I can hope!), but if there is, I would read it in a heartbeat!

Broken is a classic example of why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover - and by cover, I mean genre, or even synopsis. Even after starting another book, my thoughts keep returning to this one, especially some of the final scenes. I will definitely look forward to seeing more from this author in the future!
Profile Image for C.D..
Author 4 books8 followers
February 7, 2011
About a hundred years from now, Earth has been invaded by two species of aliens, and, thanks to a world war, is united in a single government based out of Australia. One of the invasions gave humans the capability of interstellar flight, and now there are colony worlds around the galaxy. For reasons not explained in the text, a fraction of people have developed superpowers since the Rogarian invasion, and, for reasons that will be familiar to X-Men fans, the "extrahumans" are all brought to Union Tower, where they're kept together (and away from "normal" people).

Michael Forward, a young prescient, is looking for Silverwyng, a member of the Union who's been missing for about ten years, because he needs her help to get a baby to Valen, one of the colony worlds. This baby, whose mother hands him off to Michael in a train station, has the potential to be humanity's savior or its greatest dictator. He finds Broken, who used to be Silverwyng.

Michael, Broken, and the baby, whom they name Ian, have to escape from the Black Bands, the enforcement arm of the Reform Party, who have just taken control of the government and are in the process of enacting totalitarian rule. On the way, they meet some people who follow the Räton (the other set of aliens) lifestyle, anarchists, and neo-nationalists.

The overall setup is a fairly standard dystopia, wherein an ostensibly fairly elected government turns totalitarian and outlaws opposition parties. Bigelow puts a very relevant spin on this classic trope. The Reform Party was voted into office on a wave of anti-alien sentiment and a hearty dose of fear of Extrahumans. The newsmedia has become a mouthpiece for the Reform Party and serves mainly to feed the public the Party's spin on events and whip up their fear of the Other, in order to cement their radical right-wing policies.

One of the most poignant moments in the book occurs about halfway through. Michael and Monica, one of the Räton followers, are picked up by the American Liberation Army, who proudly display an American flag, now banned as a symbol of nationalism. Michael remembers something his mentor Joe had said before he died, about how he'd fought in the Last War, that the flag "used to stand for something a lot better than what it ended up standing for," and that Joe's father had "hated Greenleaf [the last President]. But he loved this....they were two separate things to him." (p 191-2)

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Megan.
1,090 reviews63 followers
Read
July 19, 2018
A teenage boy who can see glimpses of possible futures tracks down a lost and broken former superhero, so that the two of them can save a baby who is the future savior of progress & revolution (or the future emperor of evil, depending on how well their efforts go).

Recommended, for a fast-paced and surprising plot as well for one of the more elegant renderings of the talent of prescience I've come across. Characters who can see into the future are, I imagine, difficult to write, and often when I encounter them (in books or on TV), there's a lot of clumsiness and authorial manipulation, but Michael and his talent were very well-written (and the other prescient characters were written with care as well). I liked the character of Broken (bitter ex-superhero!) as well and I especially liked her flashbacks. The world Bigelow created was very engaging, even if not everything about it was explained.

The book "only" gets three stars from me because there wasn't enough character depth for me. I never really felt like I was "inside" the characters; there was almost always a gap of connection, a lack of emotional understanding between me and them. (Michael, near the climax of the story, is an exception. That was beautifully written and came from inside his head and his heart.) This lack of depth disappointed me because it's clear that Bigelow came up with some very interesting, non-stereotypical characters, but I wanted to be inside their heads more than what the text provided.The writing style was simple, unadorned, and straight-forward, but I think that sparseness contributed to the lack of emotion.

Additionally, I was left with a lot of questions about plot (WHY did Broken lose her ability to fly, for one) and world-building (what was the relationship between the two alien cultures? what was the nature of the outer space colonization?), and due to that emotional gap previously mentioned, I didn't really get Broken's love for Sky Ranger or why he sided with the people he had sided with. HOWEVER, I am pretty eager to read the next book (maybe my Sky Ranger questions will be answered!), and I still recommend this one.
8 reviews
July 17, 2012
Broken is a mid-22nd century dystopia, set in New York City, New Jersey, Australia, and a distant alien planet. The future has not been kind to America--NYC is a hollow shell of its old self, and, following a disastrous and depressingly plausible-sounding war in which the US seemingly went crazy and attacked the rest of the world, the only people who still think of "America" as some kind of country are a handful of militia loonies lurking in the wilds of New Jersey.

The setting is the most fun part of this book. With the possible exception of the ending, the emotional dynamics of the narrative are flat. For example, the protagonist, Michael, winds up with a baby at the beginning of the story; his responsibility is to protect this baby from falling into the hands of the Evil Government by getting it off-planet. He is with the boy for something like three months. How does he feel about him? Does he resent the baby and the responsibility he represents? Does he start to care about him? I have no idea!

Similarly, the title character, Broken: she agrees to help Michael mainly due to a vague promise that she will be "fixed", i.e., able to fly again. You might suppose that this mercenary motive would be eventually subsumed by more immediate human reasons to protect the little group she found herself with. There were hints of this, but they were ultimately too subtle for this reader.

Characters are vaguely drawn and emotionally flat. Setting is fun, but vastly underdeveloped (couldn't we have heard a *little* about why superheroes suddenly turned up in the world?). The climax is surprising, but not in the "a-ha! It all fits so beautifully!" sort of way. Not a total failure, but I would probably give it a miss.
Profile Image for M. Fenn.
Author 4 books6 followers
September 29, 2012
Broken is the debut novel of Susan Jane Bigelow, published by Candlemark and Gleam earlier this year. It's a gritty science fiction story that takes place in what's left of the United States after many wars and many heartbreaks. The title character, Broken, is a homeless drunk who used to be a superhero. When she lost her ability to fly, her world went to hell. A young boy, Michael, seeks her out because he, too, has special powers and can see possible futures. She is an integral part of most of the futures he can see.

I was very impressed by this book. Ms. Bigelow has created some fascinating characters who will stay with me for quite some time. She has also created a story that is most definitely a "page-turner." Michael and Broken grabbed me on the first page and wouldn't let me go until I had completed their journey with them. My heart broke or cheered for them depending on what page I was on. Along the way I got to see the author's idea of what the future might be and what that new world (actually, new worlds) will hold. It's a dark place, but not hopeless. Kind of like now.

Just as a point of interest, this book is being somewhat presented as a YA title. That shouldn't stop you if you're over the age of 18. I am several decades over the age of 18 and enjoyed every minute of it. I've heard through the grapevine that the author is going to be creating more stories that take place in this future world. I'm looking forward to them.
Profile Image for Barac Wiley.
80 reviews3 followers
December 12, 2012
I only got about halfway through this one, but I'm pretty sure I'm done with it. I enjoy superhero stories, especially outside of the 50+ years worth of increasingly tangled and mostly poorly written continuity that most superhero comics are saddled with. And I've been pleasantly surprised by some past encounters with self-published Kindle novels, like Wool, Ex-Heroes, The Academy, and Zero Sight. But unfortunately Broken just isn't one of them. It's not really got anything original to say narratively or settingwise, and while I don't insist on originality when the prose is good enough, here it's awkward, clumsy, and overly expository. Bigelow frequently tells when she should show. I finally dropped the book when one of the (apparent) primary villains of the tale reads a report full of made up military acronyms that the author then painstakingly spells out immediately thereafter. It's not a cardinal sin by itself, but it's typical of the generally unpolished level of writing displayed here and I just couldn't take any more of it.
Profile Image for Louise Bro.
6 reviews1 follower
February 19, 2012
"Broken" first caught my attention with its awesome cover, which has that wonderful combination of simplicity and storytelling which is so powerful. Luckily the narrative is every bit as powerful as the coverart.
"Broken" is the story of Michael Foreward, a fourteen-year old who can see the different routes peoples lives might take when he looks at them. He gets stuck with the responsibility for a little baby boy who will either be the savior that ends the tyranny of the Reformist Party, or the tyrant that makes everything so much worse. Michael teams up with Broken, an Extrahuman who can heal and used to be able to fly, and Monica, on the run from the authorities for belonging to an outlawed party.
Susan Jane Bigelow has crafted a compelling plot that drives the reader onwards with the need to know what happens next.
Profile Image for Dillydally.
50 reviews
January 25, 2012
Four and a half stars.

Distinctive in its insight into human behaviour both individually and collectively, this book stands well out from the pack in the YA dystopian field. The inclusion of the fantasy "super-hero" element also contributes to the departure from the run-of-the-mill dystopian setup, bringing us a unique and engrossing story.

The characters are well drawn, the pacing is excellent (although please note this is NOT a non-stop action-adventure book), and the actions and setting completely believable. I could rattle on with superlatives for quite a while, but the best thing would be to just read it, and see what I mean.

This was an immensely enjoyable read for me, and I'm so glad the next book has just been released a few days ago. I highly recopmmend it.
Profile Image for Laureen (Ms. Bibliophile).
297 reviews32 followers
August 3, 2013
This was a surprisingly good book, and it wasn’t much at all like what I expected. Broken is set in a dystopian future ruled by a tyrant, there are extrahumans everywhere, but there is a slim hope for the future. Michael, a 14-year-old boy who in an extraordinary situation, is left fleeing for not only his life, but the life of an infant thrust into his arms. Along the way he meets people who can help him and the infant: Broken, an extrahuman who has forgotten how to fly, and Monica, a young woman with nothing left.

(More.)
Profile Image for K..
Author 27 books14 followers
August 5, 2011
When I first dove into Broken, I didn’t know what to expect. A broken superhero and an apocalyptic world? It seems a large undertaking for anyone, especially a first-time author. However, Susan Jane Bigelow manages to not only tell an interesting story, but to paint a picture of a world gone wrong and the superheroes that society has turned their backs on.

Read my review on Fandomania.
Profile Image for Stevie Carroll.
Author 4 books25 followers
October 6, 2011
This story blew me away with the strength of its characters, its world building and the level of thought that went into the background details.

I gather there's a sequel in the offering, and am looking forward to it very much.
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