Title: The Brokenhearted
Author: Amelia Kahaney
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: Edelweiss DRC
Genre(s): YA Science Fiction, YA Fiction, Superheroes, Pseudo-Dystopian Future
The Dark Knight meets Cinder in this gripping and cinematic story of heartbreak and revenge.
With a tagline like that how can you go wrong? Let me say up front that the Brokenhearted certainly didn’t ‘go wrong’ and it was an enjoyable read – even if it did try a bit too hard to be Batman at times. It was really nice to see a female superhero kicking ass and taking names – we don’t have hardly enough of those. And it was interesting to watch Anthem’s transformation and how she dealt with the things in her real life and her ‘other’ life. It was, however, very stereotypical at times as a superhero origin story. Other than the fact that we’ve got a heroine instead of a hero it was a lot of the same old same old. The resolution of the main conflict in the book I sort of called but it’s nonetheless effective and the actual end leaves things open for an interesting sequel. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of the genre and girls desperate for a heroine of their own.
That’s about all I can really say without giving too much of the story away. So from here on out the brief summary of the main conflict and the comments I’ll make will probably spoil a LOT of the book.
So, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
The Brokenhearted introduces readers to Anthem Fleet, a wealthy teenage ballerina in a crime-ridden, Gotham-esque city called Bedlam. She starts out – as a lot of superheroes do – as a the naive, wealthy sort whose life is changed in some violent, devastating event.
For Anthem – as with most YA female protagonists – it all starts with a boy. Not her son-of-the-District-Attorney boyfriend, Will, but the down-on-his-luck, poor-starting-artist Gavin who she meets while on the wrong side of town at a party with her friend Zahra. She falls head over heels for this upbeat, bad boy with his motorcycle and sensitive, artistic means of expression. Then one night it all goes wrong. Gavin is kidnapped and held for a ransom her parents won’t pay. It ultimately gets him killed. And it nearly gets her killed, too. While heading home after the kidnapping she meets a guy named Ford who initially freaks her out unintentionally which then causes her to fall off an overpass and almost die.
Hell of a way to start a friendship, you know? And it’s also a pretty sad origin story. Which makes it a bit funny and comical. Anthem wakes up to find out that Ford took her to some back alley tech genius who gave her a mechanical/hummingbird heart that basically makes her super fast, super strong, and super bad ass. The whole ‘science’ behind the heart and how exactly it was made (and what exactly it was made of, too, even) weren’t really well explained or anything. Plus, I mean, who just opens up some random person and shoves an suped up, awesome heart in them just because your street rat friend brings them to you?
I think it’s moments like that which would have worked great in a comic book but in an actual book it’s a bit flatter and a bit more probably needs to be said/explained. That’s the biggest weakness of the book as a whole. It leaves out a lot and tries to be just a little bit too much like a Batman story.
All in all, though, the story worked itself out in a very satisfying way. The story has some really awesome action moments and the big “OH EM GEE” moments at the end were well placed and the build up to them was great. Ford was a fantastic supporting character and I’d like to see more of him in the next book. And as much as I like Serge the driver I have to wonder how much he really knows about things that Anthem does not.
I guess we’ll find out in the next book!