Title: Broken Aro (Broken Ones #1)
Author: Jen Wylie
Publisher: Untold Press
Page Count: 250
What is the book about?
Open your eyes to darkness. What do you see? Does the darkness frighten you? Now imagine the darkness being the cargo hold of a slave ship. Your city has fallen. Your family is most likely dead. You don't know anyone around you, and some of them aren't even human. Giving up would be so easy to do, but not for Arowyn Mason. Not after being raised in a military family with seven brothers. Every great story should begin with a plan. Aro's was to escape and to survive.
Escape comes, but at a price. As they reach the shore, Aro and the other survivors learn that freedom doesn't mean safety. The slavers want their property back and will do anything to get it. The party uses every ounce of their brute strength, a hearty helping of cunning, and even ancient magics to keep themselves alive. Sickness, danger, and even love surprise them at every turn. Dealing with danger becomes their way of life, but none of them ever considered that nothing can be quite as dangerous as a prophecy. Running turns into another race altogether as her world falls to pieces again and again.
**TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual assault.
Who wrote this?
Jen Wylie was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.
Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.
Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories.
Jennifer resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her two boys and a disagreeable amount of wildlife.
Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?
Broken Aro immediately gave me the "Snow White" vibes, but quickly evolved into something much darker and more serious... and I wasn't mad at it. The story breaches many subjects such as violence and sexual assault.
Quick and Efficient
There is never a dull moment in this book, as the characters go from land to sea and back again. The story goes by very quickly, which I appreciate. Wylie doesn't dwell on moments for too long, preferring to keep the story moving.
I think one of my favourite things about the book is the prologue. Wylie introduces us to Dragos, a seemingly uninteresting character until he later appears in the brunt of the story, discovering a prophecy that will affect the land for generations to come. You really don't see a connection between the prophecy and the story itself right away, which is what made the story work so well. I was able to get immersed and invested in the story and characters before I was reminded why the story was taking place at all.
Teenage attitudes and prophecies
Arowyn has the wit and personality of an actual 16 year old girl. The way she acts emotionally stays true to who she is. There is no false bravery - she cries, gets upset, and is impulsive, but when the time arises she steps up where she can. I love reading about what goes on in her head. I love that she was real. I think it's so important to portray characters as real, rather than beings that feel no emotion and can do the impossible. I give Wylie serious cred for this.
As for the rest of the characters, what a bunch! A Fey, and and Elven Prince? What are the chances? The excitement I felt when the name Key was mentioned further in the book after he was introduced in the prologue isn't even describable. Like, obviously the prophecy has to do with the story, but when everything connects like that I audibly gasp and get weird looks from people around me. That's fine though, right?
Stuck between a rock and a hard place
This unlikely cast of characters came together in a moment of hardship, and created the most amazing friendship. I find this sets a theme of resourcefulness and togetherness, and a message that says people can rely on one another no matter what kind of person they are. Human, elf, and fey alike came together to achieve a common goal and succeeded, even coming from all different parts of the world.
Wylie presents a theme of courage and strength among the characters, but not alone - they feed off of each other. I'll just keep repeating myself over and over again if that's cool - believe that this message is a strong and important one.
The book closed with a promise of a great adventure involving the elven prince and the great prophecy we keep hearing about. I loved the setup and am SO looking forward to reading the next book (or maybe I already have and I'm just messing with you...). 😉
I give Broken Aro 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Stay tuned for my review of Broken Prince, book two in the Broken Ones series.
Until then, read on.
~ Hayley's Reviews, xo