This series has been sitting in my queue for a month and I’m excited to finish. Find the first review here: Imperfect. There will likely be small spoilers for the first book below.
First of all, I have to thank the author for providing me with a copy of Broken. There are so few reviews for this lovely little book that I really hope my review will help others to choose it as something they’d like to read. What follows is my honest review for Broken.
Staying in the Nextic world is more difficult than Theo imagined, especially when everything seems to be falling apart–literally. The mysterious and beautiful world that Theodosia decided to stay in is no longer the safe haven that it once was; the growing presence of the half-beings threatens the well-being of the Nextic people in an increasingly inescapable way. Their options are running thin, and Theo and Ahuil are willing to do anything to save it. When anything becomes too much, Theo realizes that there is one way to save Ahuil and those she loves, consequences be damned.
Broken dealt with decisions: what it means when you have tough choices to decide between and the repercussions to follow. It details the complications of dealing with the decisions you made and being unable to go back on them. For Theo, this means she is torn between the people she loves. Naturally, she misses home and her younger sister, Louisa. But if she returned to England in the 1800s, she would lose the love and the comfort she finds in Ahuil. There’s a wonderful conversation that highlights this fact: although she does know that her family loves her and wants the best for her, they do not know her, and therefore, do not know what is best for her. Arranged marriages aside, I think this feeling of being lost and not being known is something that is highly relatable to readers. Everyone wants to be known, and we often search for this knowing in our friends and relationships. Theo feels that she as finally found love and knowing in her relationship with Ahuil. It’s an impossible choice to make because she’ll always have that longing for the other regardless of what she decides.
The romance between Ahuil and Theo that started in Imperfect continues in Broken. Everything that I mentioned liking about it in the first novella continues in the second. Broken is very much a fantasy novel with a smattering of romance, and the romance doesn’t take over. It is slow and realistic, without pushing the characters into something they wouldn’t do. Their characterization remains spot on and true to that which was established in the first novella. I liked the continued complications of coming from a strict society into one that is more accepting. Although Theo is becoming more comfortable with showing and sharing affection, the upbringing she had still causes her to be more cautious in showing her affections. Again, I liked that Theo is a character who doesn’t just throw modesty out the window. It helped the novel stay true to the time period it was set in. There is a gradual change to how she views modesty rather than suddenly having her do a 180.
The part I liked the most about Broken was the fact that Theo did not become a wet-noodle character. She remains a strong and independent person who isn’t willing to compromise what she knows is the right thing to do. When she realizes that the options they have are few, she faces and deals with them even though she is terrified. Theo comes to realize, too, that some of her options don’t include Ahuil. She loves him intensely, but she also believes that nothing is worth dying for, and Ahuil is on this list. That’s incredibly practical, which is something that I don’t often see in young adult novels where romance is involved. Sometimes heroines focus too much on staying with the one they love rather than the problems of the world they’re in. I love that this book doesn’t betray the fact that it’s fantasy in order to focus on romance.
Like Imperfect, Broken ends on a cliffhanger that means you need to pick up the next novella immediately.