Prima ballerina Anthem Fleet is closely guarded by her parents in their penthouse apartment. But when she meets the handsome Gavin at a party on the wrong side of town, she is immediately drawn into his dangerous world. Then, in a tragic accident, Anthem falls to her death. She awakes in an underground lab, with a bionic heart ticking in her chest. As she navigates her new life, she uncovers the sinister truth behind those she trusted the most, and the chilling secret of her family lineage…and her duty to uphold it.
The Dark Knight meets Cinder in this gripping and cinematic story of heartbreak and revenge. From Alloy Entertainment, this inventive new superhero story is sure to captivate any reader.
Released: October 8th 2013 Pages: 320
Publisher: HarperTeen Source: ARC received through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway
First Look: ***** I won a copy of this through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. It looked awesome. Bionic hearts and superheroes? Yes, I'll go for that. Even if I can't decide how I feel about the cover. It's cool but it also freaks me out for some reason.
Setting: ***** Let's make a checklist. Corrupted police organization? Check. Out-of-control crime level? Check. Rich people that are either ignorant because they're in their own little worlds or because they choose to be ignorant? Check. Fear-inducing chemicals? Check. Mysterious vigilante that saves people but keeps identity secret? Check. We're talking about Gotham, right? Oh, wait. This is Bedlam, the setting of The Brokenhearted. You were only four letters off. If I didn't know better, I couldn't tell the difference.
Apart from the lack of originality, the worldbuilding still wasn't great. I'm thinking this was a slightly futuristic setting, but we were never told. It couldn't been happening in 2013, for all I know. Or it could be in the future. I have no idea.
Characters: ***** Someone needed to knock some sense into Anthem Fleet. She goes to some random party in the most dangerous part of town. I wonder how anything could ever go wrong. And then she meets some random guy and instantly falls in love with him. A few chapters later, they're kissing, and a few chapters after that, they're sleeping together. And she barely knows anything about him. Also, instead of using her new "powers" (though they really aren't powers--it's just an artificial heart transplant) with common sense, she just rages all over the city tying up criminals. While on a revenge mission. She ends up making bigger messes by trying to do good, but does she stop? Nope.
Gavin was too perfect. Right from the start, I knew that something was wrong about him, and not just the Edward Cullen Syndrome. I predicted the twist about him (half of it, anyway) long before it happened.
I didn't understand why Will suddenly turned into such a jerk. He was Anthem's boyfriend at the beginning of the novel, and she gave no indication that he was manipulative, disrespectful, or mean. Yet after getting back together with him, he became an awful person. Was he like this before? If so, why was Anthem still with him? And if not, why the sudden change? It made no sense.
Plot: ***** Given stronger characters and a more original setting, the plot could have been awesome. That is, if the insta-love was removed from the story. This particular case of insta-love has to be setting some kind of record. Page 21: They meet. Page 38: They kiss. Page 60: They sleep together. It moved way too fast, too fast to be a healthy relationship. Again, she hardly knew anything about him, yet she temporarily set aside all previous commitments to spend time with him. Other aspects of the plot interested me, but the overbearing romance made it hard to keep the rest of the plot moving.
And then she spent too much time in bed, being depressed. She doesn't feel like anything will ever be okay again, and she just wants to sit and feel sorry for herself. I can't stand characters who sit and pity themselves all day long. And I've never been able to like characters who are utterly focused on revenge, like Anthem is.
Uniqueness: ***** This book is basically a Batman movie, in novel form. I've already talked about Bedlam's many similarities to Gotham. And besides, Ballerina Batman is already more of a thing than you might think, as this reviewer pointed out.
Now all I can think about is Christian Bale trying to be a ballerina.
Christopher Nolan: Christian, you need to learn to pirouette for your big showdown with the Scarecrow.
Cillian Murphy: I absolutely cannot wait.
Christian Bale: Wait...what...this wasn't in my contract.
Nolan: Too bad. Go find a tutu.
Bale: Well, at least I'll look fabulous when I take on Superman. That Kent guy won't know what hit him.
DC: JK, LOL, NOPE.
Ben Affleck: THE BATMAN IS MIIIINNE.
DC: Oh, snap!
HISHE Batman: I'm Batman.
*highlight to view spoiler* He's Batman.
Writing: ***** The writing was alright. I don't have large issues with it, just little nitpicks. Like the inconsistency. At times, Anthem referred to her parents as "my mother". Other times, she called them by their names. It makes so much more sense to just pick one, and stick with it.
The author hardly touched on the emotional effects of having an non-human heart. This would have a huge emotional impact on the bearer of the heart, and would make them start asking some difficult questions about their humanity. Why was this never touched upon?
Also, why did everyone have a normal name like Will or Gavin, but Anthem is, well, Anthem?
Likes: Nothing not already mentioned.
Not-so-great: "...this inventive new superhero story is sure to captivate any reader." That is a lie. It didn't captivate me. Someone needs to rewrite this pitch.
Overall: This book could have been so much better. Bedlam was basically Gotham with four letters changed. Anthem did things that annoyed me. The insta-love was just...ugh, and took away from the exciting, promising aspects of the story. And it wasn't even a healthy relationship. One of the major twists was predictable. Overall, I didn't like this much. Not recommended.
Similar Books: It had a main character discovering/gaining an inhuman/machine body, like in Mila 2.0, or Virals. It also reminded me of Shatter Me.