Monday, March 04, 2013

REVIEW: Broken Aro

Title: Broken Aro
Author: Jen Wylie
Genre: YA fantasy
Price: $2.99 (ebook) / $12.95 (paperback)
Publisher: Untold Press
ISBN: 978-0615703367
Point of Sale: Amazon Barnes & Noble
Reviewed by: Chris Gerrib

Broken Aro is the first book of a series, and the first novel of Jen Wylie’s that I’ve read.   (Full disclosure – she’s on my Facebook page, but I can’t recall exactly when we met.)  Although I don’t consider myself a fan of fantasy, I enjoyed reading Broken Aro.

The book is the story of Arowyn “Aro” Mason, youngest child and only daughter in the Mason family.  When the main story opens, fifteen-year-old Aro is hastily packing, as her city is being overrun by invaders.  Her and her brothers are trying to make a break for it, but fail, and Aro, somewhat disguised as a boy, ends up in the hold of a slave ship.  You could say she’s having a really bad day.   Things go downhill from there, although during the course of the story Aro runs into and befriends (with hints that things will become more amorous than “friends”) with a Prince and a Fae, as well as several ordinary human males. 

Like I said, I’m not a fantasy reader, but I found this story very appealing.  First off, this is in many ways not epic fantasy.  Aro, although more competent with a knife than the average fifteen-year-old, is no supergirl.  She has a believable set of skills, fears and motivations.  Second, the focus of the story is on her survival – what happens to the kingdom matters only inasmuch as it affects her and hers.  Lastly, although there is magic, it’s not laid on too thickly.  I’m also not a romance reader, but the hints of a potential romance were well done.

Overall, I found Broken Aro a very engaging read, and recommend it to all ages.


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