Monday, August 26, 2013

Review: Broken by Elizabeth Pulford

Broken by Elizabeth Pulford, illustrated by Angus Gomes

Review by Lauren

Book comes out tomorrow, August 27th

copy sent for review, but all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Zara has one immediate and urgent goal, and it is to find her brother, Jem. She faces a few complications, though, not the least of which is searching for him in her subconscious while she is in a coma.

Zara’s coma has pulled her into the world of Jem’s favorite comic-book hero. But no matter how quickly Zara literally draws her own escape, she is taunted deeper into the fantastical darkness by the comic’s villain, Morven. All the while she is caught between the present with visits from friends and family in the hospital and the past by flashbacks of a traumatic event long ago forgotten.

The search for her brother may help Zara see the light, but in order to find him, she must face her innermost secrets first. In a multi-layered tale that intertwines comic-book/graphic novel elements with first-person narration, Elizabeth Pulford explores the dimensions of hope, love, loyalty, denial, and truth.

Review: Going into this novel, I knew it would deal with some tough issues as Zara is in a coma and on the search for her brother Jem within her own subconscious. I love contemporary novels that deal with unique topics, so I was immediately drawn to Broken, but the fact that it would also include a graphic novel element showing the comic that Zara is stuck in definitely sealed the deal.

Broken is a quick read and I ended up finishing it in only a day. That doesn't mean that it isn't an emotional and intriguing novel. The story is told in first-person point of view so you get plenty of insight into Zara's psyche. While in a coma, she is traveling through her brother's favorite comic book in order to bring him back home. At the same time though, she doesn't realize she's in a coma. She hears people talking to her as they come to visit, especially her best friend Trace. Zara tries to speak to them but they can't hear her and she doesn't understand why everyone keeps speaking as if she isn't even there.

Despite Zara's confusion, she is desperate to find Jem and puts most of her energy into drawing and erasing aspects of the comic book to get where and what she wants. During the comic book moments, the font changes so it's easy to see when Zara is in the comic world and when the book is giving a flashback of Zara's past.

It soon becomes clear that Zara is hiding a big secret and while the basics of it is revealed early on, I don't want to give anything away. However, this secret is part of the answer for Zara on how to find her brother. I'll admit that when I learned what Zara had been through, I was surprised. It wasn't something I'd expected from Broken. However, it just made the book that more intriguing and I was desperate for Zara to realize what she needed to do to begin to heal.

Finally, I loved the addition of the actual comics from Angus Gomes. I had an ARC version, but I assume things will look relatively the same. Every panel is in black and white, showing Zara's trip through the comic book world. There are descriptions atop some of the comics and even quote bubbles coming from characters within them, so it's definitely important to pay attention to the comics. There aren't too many though, if you are someone weary of comics or graphic novels. Honestly, I wish we had a few more, but it had a nice mix overall!

Both author and illustrator are from New Zealand, which I was excited to learn as well, since it's nice to find non-U.S. titles. I think Broken would be a good choice for those that read and enjoyed If I Stay by Gayle Forman.


Erika said...

This sounds incredibly interesting. And I like the addition of the comic book feel. :)

Brandi Kosiner said...

Sounds like a gripping story. I love the premise

Giselle said...

I love one day reads! This sounds like an entertaining one, too! I hadn't heard of it before but I love the sounds of this premise! I also love that it includes actual comics! Great review!

Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

That sounds really interesting!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh this sounds gripping and I love the inclusion of the comics. Sounds like a fab read. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

Andrea @The Bookish Babes said...

This actually seems like a very cool premise. I could definitely see it being a movie. Thanks for bringing Broken to my attention. Great review!

Meradeth Houston said...

This sounds really intriguing and totally different! I love the mix of comic and novel, too. Totally going on my TBR!

DMS said...

I have never heard of this one. Glad it was such a great read- and it sounds so powerful. Thanks for sharing this one with us. The comic book aspect sounds so cool!

Candace said...

Wow, I hadn't heard of this before but it sounds terrific! Very unique but I like your sort of comparison to If I Stay. I'll have to try to pick this one up one day!

Jasprit said...

This definitely sounds really different to a lot of the books I've seen out there and I'm really glad that you were able to enjoy it. I think I will end up giving it a try one day too. Lovely review! :)

Melanie said...

this sounds like a very different book to what I'd normally choose.

Thanks for putting this under my radar, hon! <33

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

This premise is super interesting! And I love how the comics are mixed in. :)