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The Broken Heavens by Kameron Hurley. Book review

January 15, 2020

Book cover of The Broken Heavens

The Dhai people are left reeling after the invasion of the aggressive Tai Kao, fleeing from their disintegrating world. Now Tai Kao leader, Kirana, seeks to close the rift between worlds before the power of the dark star Oma, fails. But in the process, there will continue to be a life and death struggle with the invaders and the Dhai still prepared to resist them.

Kameron Hurley has created a fantasy not in one world but many, since the rifts allow passage from one alternate reality to another.

As always in Hurley’s stories, it is about people and nothing is straightforward. This time there is a big question over morality. Who really are the bad people?

As the story shifts from one side to another you are constantly left asking yourself who is evil and who is good. Who has the right to live and die, given that if your doppelgänger or that of someone you love exists in the reality you are fleeing to for safety, and do you have the right to have them killed to make way for the person who means so much to you?

I enjoyed the constant shuttle back and forth through the warring factions. Ultimately the story is probably best to be observed from a position of everyone is trying to survive in the best way they know how. At the same time the author allows you, the reader, to form attachments to characters who might not survive in one world, but in another. Do you have to prepare to mourn the potential demise of one version of a character that you prefer and make room for another? On what do you base your judgment, because each of their perspectives and consequent actions might be valid given the predicament they find themselves in.

This is the third and final book in the series, however I had not read the previous two books and was coming to the world, or worlds, for the first time. It did not take me long to catch up, and given the depth of character development (yes there is still room for that, even in a final book), and breadth (in terms of people and their interactions) of the well thought through plot. I found there was a great deal to hold my interest.

It is clear from The Broken Heavens that the series will easily take several re-reads to fully appreciate all the nuances of the whole story.

The Broken Heavens was courtesy of Angry Robot.

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