Strange Horizons, March 31, 2004

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"Broken" by Rosamund Hodge

Strange Horizons, for the week of May 31st, brings us "Broken" by Rosamund Hodge. It's a story told in contrasts–the real world versus the world of magic, the hopelessness and helplessness that lies in reality versus the empowerment of magic, and youth's hopes versus experience's despairs.

The tale is told from two points of view: Karin's, who lives with husband Jason's burned out memories on a day-to-day basis, her only respite those moments when they unlock new potentials and Jason is himself, and Chloe's, a pudgy teenager who escapes her tormentors with an acquaintance, lands in Cambrydia, and together with Danny, is offered an opportunity to stay for training and fight the enemy with magic powers.

While the sentence-level writing of this tale is well-done, I had more difficulty with the early scenes' jumps and switches in point of view until I relaxed into Hodge's pattern. There were also a few points where I found the bits of back history awkwardly dropped and the teens' characters lacking in depth, but I did enjoy the resolution's note of hope for Karin.

A decent read, all in all, but not as memorable as others Strange Horizons has given us that I've had the pleasure to review.