Hi, guys. Je suis retournée. I feel like the most frustrating part of reviewing a book is that I can't spoil things, so I'm left saying 'it was shocking when a certain thing happened halfway through, and --' - which makes no sense. There will be general spoilers for Slated (#1), though nothing you couldn't guess.
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: April 4th 2013
I really really loved Slated (my review here) but I just couldn't get into the first half of this book. Could not. It was all dream sequences and flashbacks, weird disconnected memories and events that seemed to have no bearing on how I remembered the plot of the first book. And so it took me weeks to read that part (this is becoming a worrying trend - I think I need my reading mojo back) but I bought it so I was sure as hell going to finish it.*
So what made the first half so hard to get through? I've already briefly mentioned most of it, but here's some more detail.
Dream sequences are expected in this series - the prologue, the very start, of the first book, is one. But I feel they got out of hand in Fractured and devolved into filler, especially since most of them are very similar. I understand that Kyla is trying to remember something so her mind keeps flashing back to it and uncovering more details, but it got samey and there was probably a better way to present it for the sake of the readers.
Following from that, Fractured lacked the narrative drive I loved Slated for (in the first half). It seemed like a lot of plot strings were being assembled frustratingly slowly, and while they do lead up to a great finish, it's very frustrating for impatient readers (like me, in this instance).
This gripe applies to the whole book, but - the writing style seemed very unusual, so much so that it distracted me from the story. There was nothing strictly wrong with it, but the way the words were strung together was strange. This is probably down to personal taste, so take it with a pinch of salt.
So what did I like? I think the ending was a resounding success. The plot threads that had so gradually been built up pulled together seamlessly (well, almost). One character whom I hadn't been particularly fond of throughout the book redeemed himself near the end, and then tragedy struck. So I wanted more time with them and didn't get it. Also, there is a shocking betrayal at one point, leaving me feeling like Kyla never gets a break. Basically, there was some absolutely brilliant stuff in Fractured, but it didn't start early enough or last long enough for my tastes. Quite possibly a case of second-book-in-a-trilogy syndrome.
I can't say much here without fear of spoilers, but it's really well researched. Fractured in particular requires quite a lot of specialist knowledge (or a remarkable dexterity with creating believable fictions). I appreciated that.
So: the whole book is a massive entanglement of secrets, lies, and Kyla trying to understand it all even though she barely understands herself. The world order (as it's a dystopian) is still completely askew, leaving lots of material for the third book. It also avoids the trap of making one side completely bad and the other perfectly good. And yes - I am definitely going to read Shattered (out now).
I almost feel like I should rate the two halves completely differently, but overall it's three out of five stars.