The human capacity for self-delusion is limitless.
I think this book will divide this series' fans in more ways than one.
If you loved the first book for the crafty world-building, the imagination of The Dark City and the justifiably swoony and honorable Captain Malachi Sokol, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this might be a disappointment.
Fortunately for me, I was this side of apathetic towards Sanctum. As a whole I liked it enough to continue with the series but I had my gripes and issues. Particularly the awkward mesh between the paranormal details that felt too intricate to be solid and the heavy-handedness on the Lelachi diabeetus: they were okay apart, but together they generate toxic doses of saccharine.
Fractured wasn't perfect but I wasn't whining as much as the first trip either.
Given that the story has shifted sharply away from The Dark City with new roles to fulfill, I feel like everyone was given a fresh, clean slate. The Mazikin has escaped from The City and is wreaking havoc in the land of the living and with the help of a new crew, Raphael and Michael, it is up to Captain Lela and the happily-demoted Lieutenant Malachi to stop them while playing by the rules of the human world.
One thing that I did like about Fractured is that there was evident character growth on the part of Lela. Being a loner before she went to chase and save Nadia in Suicide City, it would certainly be counterproductive to the current storyline if she'd barely have any emotional stake at the Mazikin situation. So our little angsty Lela gains some social wings and it comes with rich friends to protect and worry over, a hot jock that competes with Malachi for her affections and since this is high school, PROM! I actually liked most of the new characters - Henry, Jim and Ian were great additions - and that the story, despite taking place in the drama-fueled contemporary high school setting, had more latitude beyond the claustrophobic Lela-Malachi storyline.
However,the use of the most hated trope in YA/NA-Contemporary Romance, i.e.The Bermuda Triangle of Love to move the story along here just felt like an ill-fit to how this series started (and no, John Hughes-ing the storyline isn't an excuse). It's not a deal-breaker for me but there's a way of incorporating this in the story tastefully. And it's certainly not by making the other guy a petty, jealous douchebag who goes into snit-fits that just begs me to hate him.
I'm also not Malachi's biggest fangirl but he was such a disappointment for most of this book. He actually started off well, bringing that unique and harrowing perspective of someone who survived a Nazi concentration camp, trying to blend in as a high school senior. But the way he chose to act after a particular point in the story was just excruciating to read about. I am all for not dating your boss but there's no need to resort to wearing the asshat hat. Also this
"This beats for you. It has for some time. And it always will. No matter what happens now, no matter how you feel, that's how it is for me."
Outside the scene, the line isn't so bad, but within context it makes me cringe.
Certain aspects of the story were definitely predictable but I found it to favor a more focused delivery. I always felt Sanctum's world building to be a bit complex and generated more questions than it gave answers but here, that has been taken out of the equation and I am now looking at the entire series with better clarity. Though I'm still unclear over the origins and motivation of the Mazikin by the end, I am now better invested in where the story will go.
The dialogue was not as organic as I wanted it to be but I felt the crackling energy in most of the scenes better this time. The fight sequences were more gruesome and the losses were abrupt and painfully jarring. You know it's a good book when you feel like you're not reading the pages fast enough.
As I reached the end, I was quite surprised I wanted to pull the breaks and wanted it to last a little while longer. Can it be? Is it true? I feel like a different person all of a sudden.
I am not quite sure many will share my feelings towards this installment, but for all the punches this book threw at me, I can't deny the few hits this connected has left me a little bruised.
ARC provided by Amazon Children's Publishing (Skyscape) thru Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Quotes may not appear in the final edition