I wasn’t too sure what to expect going into this book – the synopsis on the back is deliberately very vague and doesn’t give much away (which, side note, is such a relief – I’m so sick of books giving away almost all of the important plot details on the back). However I was pleasantly surprised, with this book giving me the dystopian fix that I didn’t realise I was missing.
Broken Sky is set in a dystopian version of 1940’s America, which has been divided into the Central States and the Western Seaboard. The Central States are under the control of a dictator who rules according to his ideology, ‘Harmony’, which is based on astrology. Star charts are used to determine how likely individuals are to cooperate with the regime, and anyone who appears to threaten this is labelled as ‘Discordant’ and sent to a correction facility. Amity Vancour, our main protagonist, is a highly respected pilot for the Peacefighter Corps of the Western Seaboard, until she discovers the corruption within the organisation of which she is a part and is forced to go on the run.
There are some incredibly clear parallels between these themes and the real events which were taking place in this time period in our history, which I found fascinating. My favourite kinds of dystopian novels are those which take inspiration from real events. It took me a little while to get a good grasp on the world of this novel, but once I did I found it to be one of the most compelling fictional settings that I have read about for a long time.
Amity is a fantastic female lead – totally capable and self-aware without any of the ‘chosen one’ syndrome which tends to be a defining characteristic of many female protagonists. She is active in pushing the story forward yet still makes human errors. As far as I can tell this series is not heading in a direction where Amity is the only character capable of leading a rebellion or revolution, and I will be disappointed if this does happen. Part of what I enjoyed the most is that the book feels like a real breath of fresh air compared to many dystopian I have read over the years.
Then we have Kay, a cynical astrologer who is our secondary lead. Kay does not believe in Harmony, instead using her ability to interpret people’s charts to further her own ambitions of power. Kay is a very interesting character and not a great deal of her motivation is revealed in this first book, which makes me intrigued to see where the character goes in the rest of the series. I think it was the right decision to give Kay far less frequent chapters – allowing the right amount of space for her story to develop without it seeming dragged out.
Initially the plot takes a little while to get moving, instead preferring to allow time for world-building and introducing the characters. Once the story does get going however, it doesn’t let up at all, ending on a fantastic cliff-hanger which I totally didn’t see coming and left me desperate for the second book.