A teenage girl is transformed into a reluctant superhero and must balance her old life with the dark secret of who she has become.
Prima ballerina Anthem Fleet is closely guarded by her parents in their penthouse apartment. But when she meets the handsome Gavin at a party on the wrong side of town, she is immediately drawn into his dangerous world. Then, in a tragic accident, Anthem falls to her death. She awakes in an underground lab, with a bionic heart ticking in her chest. As she navigates her new life, she uncovers the sinister truth behind those she trusted the most, and the chilling secret of her family lineage…and her duty to uphold it.
The Dark Knight meets Cinder in this gripping and cinematic story of heartbreak and revenge.
Going into The Brokenhearted, I was a little leery, because it didn’t have a very high rating on Goodreads (currently 3.20), and many reviewers whose opinions I trust proclaimed it a pretty serious disappointment. And while I definitely understand where their complaints are coming from, overall I actually did like this one. Sure, there were things that weren’t developed as well as they should have been. Yes, the main character is sometimes quite stupid and dim. And okay, I did see the big plot “twist” coming from a mile away. But for me personally, this was still an enjoyable read and an entertaining way to spend a few hours.
My biggest complaint about this book – and the one that seems to be the sticking point for most of the reviewers who have given this a low rating – is that there is literally no world-building. What first came to mind was that the author was trying to create her very own Gotham City – called Bedlam, in this case. Maybe my opinion was influenced by the fact that I paused my reading of The Brokenhearted to watch The Dark Knight Rises, so was hit pretty much straight in the face by the similarities, including the multiple bridges in and out of the city. However, unlike Gotham City, Bedlam seemed to have no direction, no details, no specifics. I couldn’t tell if this was taking place in the US, some other country, or even some other time period, which is a problem when you’re trying to get your reader firmly invested in the story you’re telling. While I was mostly able to set aside my irritation at having absolutely no background, I can fully understand why others weren’t able to do so.
Anthem, our main character, isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed, either. She makes some poor judgements, including wandering multiple times into the “bad” part of town. She also was sort of flat for most of the book, without a lot of character development or anything to get the reader invested in her story. However, the antics she gets up to – especially once she turns more superhuman than human – were entertaining to read and I loved watching the bad guys get their comeuppance. I also liked the slow building friendship between her and Ford, who was probably my favorite character in the entire book, along with Anthem’s friend Zahra. And I LOVED the ballet scenes. But then again, I’m a huge sucker for books that contain ballet of any kind, so obviously that was one of the things that drew me in the most.
This book definitely toots the “girl power” horn, not only with Anthem’s amazing abilities, but also with Zahra, who is amazing in a different sort of way. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her, and stands up to the so-called popular crowd, most notably with Anthem’s “boyfriend” Will. While Anthem’s abilities are enhanced by her super special heart, Zahra has nothing that makes her any different physically from anyone else. She’s just amazing because of who she is, and I found her uniqueness really awesome to read. I wish we’d gotten to see more of her.
Considering that all I’ve said I really liked was the superhero-type things, two of the characters, and the ballet, you’re probably wondering why I’m giving this a positive rating. The truth is, I don’t know that I can put it into words. It was just my overall feelings while I was reading that ultimately lead to my decision to say I liked The Brokenhearted. If a book is compulsively readable, with more elements I enjoyed than those I didn’t, I’m going to consider it a “good” read and recommend it. However, I do want to say that there are definite things that will probably drive other readers bonkers, so feel free to take what I’ve said with a grain of salt. It won’t necessarily meet your entertainment needs the way it did mine, which is one of the best things about books: the reason there are so many of them out there is that we all like something different!
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.