Source: ARC provided by the publisher.
My Description of the Book:
Laila came from a wealthy family, but after several traumas in her childhood and teen years, she just wanted to leave it all behind. Modeling was her ticket out of Texas, but later she earned money as a high-priced escort/prostitute in Chicago. When a "date" goes badly wrong, she shoots the man in self-defense. Leaving everything behind, she flees to a new city.
She's now a respectable bank teller who keeps all guys at a distance. But the man she killed still haunts her dreams...and, suddenly, her waking hours. Then the man's brother appears asking for money or he'll turn her into the police for murder. And now spirits are terrorizing her each night in her apartment. When the man gets rough, she flees to a city that she has happy memories of, but the past isn't about to let her go.
Broken was...surreal. Weird. Creepy. Depressing. Not to mention disjointed and confusing. It's a fast-paced suspense novel, but it was hard to be worried when I sometimes had no idea what was going on. I'd actually call Broken a horror novel. The author mixed nightmares, reality, and supernatural until I wasn't sure what was happening. Granted, the author was probably trying to make the reader feel what it was like inside Laila's head, but for much of the novel we're not really in her head but at a distance watching things unfold.
The author also introduced new characters without telling us how they related to other characters, where they were, or why they were acting in the mysterious way they were. Sometimes he gave full names but no connections, but other times he hid the character's identity, too. An author can get away with a little of this, but this happened so much that I felt confused most of the time. Ironically, though, I still did guess the "surprise twist" before it was revealed.
All that said, the characters dealt with realistic problems and were realistic enough. I only really liked one of the characters, though, and I'm angry at the author for what he did to this character.
Most of the novel had a "supernatural" theme rather than a Christian one since spooky supernatural events were the focus. Laila rejected God because she believed that He didn't care about her--if He even existed. And, if He did, then He wouldn't want anything to do with her anyway because of all the bad choices and sins in her past. A Christian message was worked into the last few chapters, though, as Laila thought over things she experienced and things she believed now but still struggled to accept.
The novel was written in third person, present tense ("Laila goes to the door") which read awkwardly. There was some swearing and cussing. There was no explicit sex or gore. Overall, this novel just didn't work for me.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt from Chapter One
If I believed, then I would have to come to this conclusion. God doesn't want me. How could He? People like me don't belong with people like you. If eternity does exist, I've sealed my fate and done it with my hands bathed in your blood.
She hears the fingernails on the door. Scratching to get out. Clawing and scraping at the wood. Then she hears the pounding of fists against the solid oak. Beating in vain.
The handle rattles and jerks, yet the door remains closed.
Behind it she can hear him.
Screaming her name.
"Don't. Don't come in here. Get out. Get out of here, Laila."
It's a desperate and scared voice. And everything she tries to do to open the door doesn't work.
She falls to the ground, her hands wrapped around the knob, the sound of her screaming finally waking her up.
Yet Laila doesn't find herself in her bed having another nightmare.
This time she finds herself standing at the door to her apartment, clasping the handle, trying to get out. The light she eventually turns on wakes her up, revealing a clock on the wall that tells her it's three in the morning.
Six months since New Year's Eve, and the nightmares still come. Almost a thousand miles away from Chicago, yet Laila still has horrific visions.
Read the prologue and more of chapter one.