Title: Breaker (Exile #1)
Author: Kelly Wyre and A.F. Henley
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Genre(s): Scifi, Dystopia
Page Count: 58
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
In the wake of several near-cataclysmic events, humanity created the Cure, a DNA-altering antidote to death by disease and old age. But all cures come with side effects: a small percentage of the population develops a wide range of powers, some of which are lethal to others, and some which are lethal to the wielder.
These people are called the Estranged, hunted and shunned, safe only on the Island of Exile. It is here that Kaeva and Eddie meet—and where they set a prophecy in motion, quite possibly sealing their own demise, and even the end of Exile.
This is a delightful gem of a book. The dystopian genera as a whole has become rather saturated and I found this one stood apart for several reasons:
Pacing was perfect – many dystopian books get bogged down in the catastrophe that brought about the New World Order, but the authors integrated the world building in with the character development in a show don’t tell method of writing. The reader sees through Eddie’s journey to Exile what Humanity now has to cope with, and, subsequently what Eddie and Exile mean.
The authors kept Eddie’s journey to Exile short and sweet. The story is on Exile, not on the mainland. Even so, it helped to establish the setting. Nicely done.
Kaeva’s and Eddie’s relationship dance was interesting and avoided so many tropes found in the romance genre such, especially the insta-love. Eddie is a quirky, resolute, babbling, insistent kinda guy. Kaeva has found a sort of isolated peace and emotional detachment from the world and people that Eddie blows wide open. But by the end of the story, it’s Eddie’s world and thoughts that are challenged – and I loved that both men benefited.
Initially I had some concerns the cause of the catastrophe was mimicking a popular scifi series where two viruses combine and mutate to create zombies, but (whew!) instead we have a cellular mutation that created the Estrangement. Where if you took the Cure, became sick and survived, then you became a mutant of some kind and no two mutants were the same. Kinda cool, almost a little nod to the Marvel Comic universe.
I did feel there were a couple of concerns: Lake’s prophesy didn’t quite flow as well as it could have: there was talk of crosses and lightening and scales balancing, but I didn’t think it fit other than to get the characters in place.
I thought there were a few inconsistencies with Kaeva and going into the City as the plot progressed – which might have been on purpose? I couldn’t tell and that left me perplexed. Too much subtlety leaves the reader more confused than not.
I found the climatic ending a bit muddled as the plot/POV/timeframe shifted from Eddie to Kaeva and some kind of additional transition other than chapter heading would have been helpful. But I DID really enjoy the ending other than that hiccup.
Ultimately, a very enjoyable book and I sincerely hope that Exile #1 means there will be more to come.