Book Review: Broken Lies by Claire Vale

Broken LiesBroken Lies
The Broken Series #1
Claire Vale
CreateSpace, March 2015
ISBN 978-1508719175
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Scientists predicted it would take seventy years for the Arctic Shelf to completely melt. In the end, it took less than five. We lost thirty percent of our land to the oceans and a big chunk of our structure to panic and anarchy.

The Melt crippled us.

But it was the Arctic Virus at the bottom of The Melt, trapped for millennia in the darkest depths of ice strata, that broke us. The real flood was the Living Corpses. A population of billions turned to soulless, rabid shells within months. That’s what washed away the human race as we know it.

Born into a post-apocalyptic world, Lake has grown up in the last city standing. Governed by what used to be the Queen’s Cold Stream Guard, vaccinated against the threat, life in Windsor City is both harsh and fair. The rules are designed to strengthen the city and ensure survival.

Lake’s future is planned out with opportunities and unfair advantages and then there’s Ash—her best friend and hopefully more. Things could be worse, considering she’s living past the end of days. And, sometimes, she could definitely do with being a better person, which was what drafting into the Guard for two years of service was supposed to be about.

But she has no idea what she’s signed up for. The city is more vulnerable than she’d ever imagined, on its knees at the mercy of a megalomaniac organisation, and she’s just been chosen to pay the price.

Lately, we’ve had more than our share of power outages and, as I write this, we just had a brief one. The brevity of it makes me a bit unsettled and I foresee the outage coming back with a vengeance so this review will be shorter and more to the point than I had planned.

I very much like the concept of this story, the combination of natural disaster and pandemic with zombie-ish results, and I felt the author did a credible job with it. Readers should be aware that this is the first of a series so there are plot points and character development as well as worldbuilding that are lacking in Broken Lies. I assume we’ll find out more about those missing details in future volumes.

Lake struck me as a typical teen but, perhaps more importantly, a typical person trying to deal with circumstances that are not always a walk on the beach. As you might expect, Lake is, in turn, reluctant, rebellious, unsure of herself, very sure of herself, unpleasant, someone you can like very much while acknowledging her shortcomings.

To my dismay, I’m pretty sure we’re headed for a love triangle—I’m truly tired of this cliche—but it wasn’t too “in your face” in Broken Lies so maybe Ms. Vale will surprise me. In the meantime, leaving the boys aside, Ava is my favorite character, even over Lake, because she’s the kind of friend all teen girls should have.

Pacing is somewhat slow but continually builds and I kind of appreciated that as it gave me more time to get to know the characters. Still, that slow pacing leads up to a humdinger of a cliffhanger (which I love), practically guaranteeing I’ll be reading the next book.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2015.