vineri, 31 iulie 2015

"Balance Broken" ("Starbright", #2) by Hilary Thompson - Review

Title: Balance Broken
Author: Hilary Thompson
Release Date: 10/28/14
Edition: Kindle (provided by YA Bound Book Tours as part of the Starbright series tour)
Book Links: Amazon / BN / iBooks

Summary from Goodreads:
Balance Broken is the second in the Starbright series. In the first book, Justice Buried, Astrea fights to remain independent in a world which demands she submit to an ancient prophecy. In Balance Broken, she learns that independence means little when the world is depending on her.

The world cries for Order, but she’s igniting a revolution.

One hundred years before, the Great Sickness reduced the world to three cities. Now, Asphodel no longer lingers underground, and the Starbright Maiden of Justice has returned.

Everyone has faith in Astrea’s ability to save the world - but only she knows the dark truth about her powers.

Astrea teams with Stian, Lexan, and Zarea to enlist the help of Lord Hadeon of Tartarus. They hope Hadeon will aid in attacking Asphodel’s First Leader Keirna, but the Destroyer usually takes lives, not sides.

As Astrea discovers life outside of Asphodel, she begins to wonder whether the remaining world is too broken to save - especially since the price of freedom just might be her own life.


Review


Balance Broken is the sequel of Justice Buried and follows Astrea and Lexan outside of Asphodel, how they team up with Stian and Zarea and go to Tartarus to ask Lord Hadeon for help in defeating First Leader Keirna. 

To begin with, the thing I absolutely love about this novel is the range of characters and their evolution. New characters show up and most of them are weighty for the plot and spice it up a bit. I must say, I have imagined Hadeon otherwise (old, slimy, unsightly, sitting all day long on his throne) than how he is actually - a handsome, compelling young (well, this is questionable) tyrant. He is very intriguing and Astrea feels the same as I do. I also like the True Prophet and I am curious to know more about him and the Three Sisters of Elysium. 

I enjoy a lot the development of the characters we have already known from the first book. Astrea is the perfect example. I could see her evolution taking shape since Justice Buried - I have mentioned in my review that she starts realising things and questioning her decisions. Well, when I reached the end of Balance Broken, I saw a new, different Astrea: more understanding, more responsible, more aware of many matters of which she was not aware in Justice Buried, more determined, as well as broken, which is no surprise, considering the situations she went through. However, I saw a better version of Astrea and now I am fond on her. Lexan is still my favourite character; he is devoted, keen on learning as much as he can, determined to be by Astrea's side and help her. It annoyed me though that at some points he seemed too weak in comparison with Astrea, not only in terms of courage, but also in terms of the role he has to play in the prophecy. In other words, I believe he deserves more credit and attention because his part is considerable too, and he needs to be a little more bold. As far as Stian and Zarea are concerned, I think they are less mature than Astrea and Lexan. This is funny of course because Stian and Zarea are older than the two Asphodel teens, yet they let stubborness affect their relationship exactly like two kids.  

Furthermore, Balance Broken features, likewise Justice Buried, an interesting mix of genres. The dystopian elements are more highlighted in this novel than in the previous one and they blend perfectly with the high-fantasy, SF and romance ones.

The only problem I had while reading Balance Broken was that some events and facts were too predictable. That is why the tension that should have grown and bursted out at some points was kept back. What I mean by this is, this novel misses the element of surprise, and when there is no element of surprise, the tension doesn't grow, expand, so there is no climax either. There were some situations that could have been really intense, but because I could predict them the tension dissipated. This is how it happened when someone died (yes, someone important dies in this book, but who?). Normally, when a character - good or bad, main or secondary - dies, the reader feels somehow different than before - happy (available for sadists, I suppose), sad, shocked, and it is because death usually provokes strong emotions and because the reader can't (or shouldn't be able to) foresee the death of a character. Nevertheless, when that someone died, I was like ”Oh, well... I was expecting it to come about.” Another example concerning this subject is that I am sure who is the third child involved in the prophecy, and I shouldn't be! It is not just a hunch, we are given so many clues. Honestly, I would be glad to discover I am wrong, but it remains to be seen.

Overall, this book is a great sequel. I have pointed out my problem with it simply because I love the Starbright series and I look forward to reading the next novel and to rating it with more than four stars.

My Rating: 4/5


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