I have mixed feelings about Broken For You. I vaguely recall reading a review on it somewhere and adding it to my “to read” list awhile back because it’s based in Seattle, and because it’s a first novel for the author, Stephanie Kallos, also a resident of Seattle. As a Pacific Northwest native, I was curious to see whether the setting of the novel would be as nostalgically evocative as the Northwest setting in Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah. Sadly it was not, but that’s not a mark against the book in any way. I spent very little time in Seattle and most of the references to the area are too Seattle-specific for me to have a connection.
My mixed feelings come from a different place altogether. The story was intriguing. Two wounded women trapped in patterns of self-imposed exile, from the world and relationships, cross paths and their lives change. Other characters come into play. Things get better and they get worse. And then there’s the art. Ah, the art. I’m not much of an art aficionado so this component also didn’t compel my interest. The writing is well-crafted, except for a few times when descriptions of the art or other minute details ran on a little for my taste. The characters were mostly believable but there were aspects of the characters I didn’t like. I think the author intended this or rather may have intended to not hide the more unpleasant sides of the characters. I can appreciate that and the intent of the story but it’s just not the kind of story that really moves me. It didn’t excite me, I don’t feel buoyed by something meaningful I took away from it, or refreshed by reading it. If anything, I was a little bummed out by it while reading and I’m just glad to be done. I did read the whole thing; I was interested enough in the plot and the struggle of the main characters that I stuck it out. I can see how it might appeal to others of different taste. Every so often I try to mix up my reading of fantasy and historical fiction with a contemporary novel like this, just to break the routine, but more often than not I’m disappointed and can’t wait to get back to magic, dragons, and other fantastical creatures, or courtly intrigue and political strife of the past.
The great thing about fantasy is that you can drag dreams and longings and hopes and fears and strivings out of your subconscious and call them ‘magic’ or ‘dragons’ or ‘faeries’ and get to know them better.
~ Robin McKinley
- How Do They Do That? (mmendus.wordpress.com)
- Stephanie Kallos, Broken For You (fernham.blogspot.com)
- Book Review: Broken For You (www.marytrimblebooks.com)
- Book Review: Broken For You (spittingvenomreviews.com)