Good voice, interesting future history, and nice YA romantic suspense
Jan 11, 2013
D.D. Chant’s post-apocalyptic world is one that remembers six-packs, appreciates the beauty of which poets speak, plays chess, and keeps its Tribe in a tower-block while warriors fight for survival on the streets. Warriors protect, and the weak and helpless, the untouched, are treasured—kept safe or kept prisoner, depending on your point of view. The narrator of D. D. Chant’s Broken City surely wishes she could go outside and see it all. But Tom and her father forbid it. The novel opens with a nicely lyrical remembrance of a long-gone time, setting the scene for what’s to come. Future history is swiftly and unobtrusively described through the eyes of Deeta, a young adult, unattached, whose voice is pleasingly normal—restless, unsure of the future, feeling the steady ache of wanting something more. The author’s use of present tense first-person narration provides a convincing sense of innocent detachment, though it does tend to accentuate the lack of action at the start. Still, when Deeta ends up imprisoned in a different world of post-apocalyptic contrasts, and death and murder loom, then the present tense narration lends a convincing immediacy. In early scenes Deeta reflects “that I must be pathetic to be so self-indulgent,” but everything changes and, as war approaches, “my startled eyes collide with my Mother’s,” writes Deeta as she learns to make her own decisions. For myself, I was surprised to learn how old Deeta was, but perhaps that just reflects my lazy reading. Parts of her world seemed so well-preserved I wanted to know how, but the author does a good job of not revealing or reveling in background, keeping the need for logical questioning at bay. I was interested in, but not entirely convinced by the remnants of civilization, and I enjoyed the interplay of a large number of characters, the various separate worlds of a broken city, and the intriguing mystery of the hidden murderer. A fun story with action, innocent romance, mystery, concern for neighbors, and children spared from danger, Broken City offers entertaining reading and intriguing food for thought. Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy of this novel by the author.