The White Fire Virus has infected thousands of humans and blessed them with extraordinary powers to bend light to their will and dive into the ultimate reality of XynKroma. The catch is that they’re being slowly and painfully consumed from the inside-out by the parasite. BROKEN ANGELS tells the story of infected Watcher agents Darryl and Robert in their hunt for a particularly elusive case; missing teenager Marie-Lydia McGillis. After storming a nest of virus-infected terrorists, they instead find self proclaimed “angel” Ava Darden, the last person to see Marie-Lydia before she disappeared. The search for Marie-Lydia winds around a complex background of the impending apocalypse and a race against virus-infected ID terrorists.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this novel. Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while knows that I’ve been slowly but surely working my way through BROKEN ANGELS for a good few months now, it’s taken me a lot longer than usual to finish because of a number of factors – life getting in the way being one of them.
The characters were a little hard to connect with in the beginning; Darryl was clearly deluded and Robert was a little too stiff and boring until Ava came on the scene. I enjoyed trying to puzzle Ava out, her lost memories and conviction in her angelic status made her mysterious and she seemed to be the only character really pushing the book forward in the early stages.
I felt a real lack of plot for a long time with this book,when it suddenly kicked into gear in the final third and things turned very exciting, very quickly. For me, far too much time was spent dripping hints and clues before any real action took place, although I wouldn’t say that my stop-start reading helped this feeling at all. The pacing felt more than a little slow and coupled with a thick style, I definitely didn’t find BROKEN ANGELS an easy read.
Grey-sun has a very deep and philosophical style, which while elegant on the page, did cause me to struggle a little. The whole novel is pitched in a spiritual and religious manner; thought-provoking and quite beautiful to read. However, I would often find myself reading the same section over and over to try make sense of it. I think this might have been intentional in some places; when the characters visit XynKroma for example, but it was sometimes too often than I had patience for.
The imagination and creativity behind the world building was wonderful, I loved the concept of the White Fire Virus and XynKroma was Alice in Wonderland in the extreme. From what I understood, XynKroma is an extra-dimensional realm, a different version of reality, which doesn’t adhere to any laws of physics. It is a special kind of chaotic hell crammed with the thoughts and souls of every living being all at once. Only the carriers of the White Fire Virus can visit, and a certain terrorist group of carriers called The ID are attempting to cause this realm to leak into our reality, causing the apocalypse. It’s complicated, but I love it.
I thought the book ended rather roundly with all the ends tied up nicely, however, BROKEN ANGELS is only the first in a series. I will definitely be grabbing DIVINITIES, ENTANGLED at some point but would have to re-read BROKEN ANGELS to try cement the story in my head beforehand.
Overall, while I did struggle my way through this novel I can’t help but feel it was worth it. There was a lot lacking, but exceptional world-building and an exciting ending definitely swayed my opinion. I would recommend setting aside a large chunk of time if you’re planning on tackling BROKEN ANGELS, but I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed if you make it to the end.
I received BROKEN ANGELS for free from the lovely people at HyperVerse Books. My reviews always represent my own honest opinion.