Monday, August 25, 2008

CSFF Blog Tour: Broken Angel Day 1

This month, the blog tour looks at Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer.

Set in the not-too-distant future, the story follows the frantic flight of Caitlyn, a young girl trying to escape from Appalachia, a splinter nation from the former United States of America. She’s being hunted by Mason Lee, an infamous and vicious bounty hunter, and Carson Pierce, an agent from Outside. Her only hope of escape is to find the Clan, a mysterious group who can get her beyond the walls of Appalachia. But why does everyone want Caitlyn? And what secret does she harbor?

The book itself is a fast-paced, exciting ride. It’s a short read, which helps ratchet up the tension. Part of the fun for me was reading about this theocratic dystopia and how it developed. That, in and of itself, makes this a worthy read if, for no other reason, to provoke some serious thought and discussion amongst politically minded Christians (but more on this tomorrow).

I do have a gripe with this book and it has to do with the main character, namely Caitlyn. Caitlyn is an unusual girl. She’s slender in build and bone. She’s hairier than most girls. She’s very strong. And she has an unusual lump on her back. Don’t worry about spoilers. All of that comes out in the first several pages.

There’s a mystery about Caitlyn. Or at least, there’s supposed to be. But if you’re paying attention to the title and one sentence in the earlier part of the book, you can figure out what the mystery is. That’s especially true if you’ve got even a passing familiarity with the X-Men. I figured out Caitlyn’s secret almost before I started reading. In the story, though, Brouwer doesn’t reveal the secret until what should be a climactic moment. But because I had it figured out, it came off more as an anticlimax. There was no tension. I knew how Caitlyn would get out of the situation already.

But like I said, that’s a minor issue. If you’re looking for a fun adventure, set in a thought-provoking setting, this is a book you can’t miss.

Be sure to check out what the other blog tour participants have to say about it. I know I’ll be paying attention:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Mark Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Sean Slagle
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams


sbrouwer said...

Hello John,

thanks for including Broken Angel in your blog!

I agree with your comments about Caitlyn's secret. For months during the writing of BA, I went back and forth on when she -- and readers -- would learn about it; in the first draft, because I realized it would be difficult to hide from some readers, the secret was revealed in the first chapter. In the second draft, there were no hints as to her destiny, but it felt too contrived, as if I were serving the secret instead of the story. In the end, I realized that Broken Angel is about Caitlyn's journey. She grew up thinking she was a freak and that formed her view of herself. Throughout the chase, it seemed more authentic that she would have no idea of her destiny, even if readers could guess about her deformity.

I'm writing the sequel now, and am discovering, because she now knows why she is different, how she is evolving as a character. In the sequel, however, there's a much bigger secret waiting for her, and I hope I'll succeed in keeping it from you too.



Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

John, in my review I listed the predictability as a weakness, but in reality, it didn't bother me at all. I wasn't so much worried for her fate in the scene you alluded to because I did expect her to do what she did, but I kinda liked that. It was like knowing the outcome of a game but watching the tape anyway to see how it unfolded.

Plus, there were lots of other twists and surprises. And I actually liked the fact that the end felt somewhat open for imagination.

I'll enjoy the sequel, though, and I have to commend Mr. Brouwer because I didn't feel like the open-ended resolution was a clear pronouncement that a sequel was on the way. Good writing, in my opinion.