Broken (Extrahumans, Book One)

Broken (Extrahumans, Book One)
Sarah Jane Bigelow, 2011

Premise: Broken used to be a superhero. Now she’s alone, living on the street, hiding from the authorities and her former friends. Michael Forward has a power as well: he can see possible futures, and he knows he needs Broken’s help if there’s a chance to save the child who could transform their world.

Hey, an indie novel about superheroes that’s pretty awesome! Sign me up for that. The dystopian setting felt plausible without needing to know all the details, but the highlight was really the characters.

Broken, Michael, and the other Extrahumans we encounter, like Sky Ranger and Lucky Jane, feel like true superheroes without ever feeling like copies of existing comic-book characters. Think Astro City-style, but a darker world. The description of Michael’s ability to see the possible futures is eerie and morbidly fascinating. Broken (formerly Silverwing) is a suicidal healer, angry and hopeless by turns, but capable of so much.

I was a little lost during an interlude when the fugitives are hiding out with a family who are also persecuted by the current government for their nontraditional family structure, which is based on an alien race humans have allied with. Some of the exposition about that was handled clumsily, and Michael’s relationship with Janeane was somewhat incomprehensible to me, the feelings and descriptions were just very vague.

However, I still really loved reading this book overall. The action is well handled, and my frustrations mostly came from when I could see the characters doing something foolish when I was invested enough to worry about them. So I can’t criticize too much for that.

4 Stars - A Very Good Book


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