There aren’t many young adult fiction trilogies that get better as they progress.
At most, if the first book is good, the author manages to maintain the quality throughout the sequels. But L.A. Weatherly’s Broken trilogy is one of the exceptions.
Books two and three of the series definitely improve on not only the storytelling, which is fast-paced and filled with twists, but also character and relationship development, which is really well done.
Just a warning before I proceed that some plot twists from the first two books (Broken Sky and Darkness Follows, both released in 2016) will be brought up, so stop now if you haven’t read them and don’t want any spoilers.
Black Moon opens with Collis Reed waking up after he shot himself to cover up the fact that he released Amity Vancour after she assassinated dictator and astrology nut John Gunnison.
The prologue has Kay Pierce – once Gunnison’s Chief Astrologist and lover, who has now taken over his position – making a deal with Collis to work with her, despite knowing that he had released Amity.
Meanwhile, Amity, her former fellow concentration camp prisoner and Peacefighter pilot Ingo Manfred, and her brother Hal, have officially joined the Resistance, which has relocated to New Manhattan in former Appalachia territory.
They are not only working on a secret plan to overthrow Kay and return the deposed Appalachian president Arthur Weir to power, but are also exploring the old tunnels under New Manhattan to find a way of smuggling those found Discordant (enemies of the state and random people, just to keep the population cowed) off the island.
But with this scheme coming to a head just about a quarter into the book, you know that things aren’t exactly going to go to plan.
In the interests of trying to be spoiler-free, I won’t say any more, but rest reassured there is lots of action throughout the book, including full scale battles and attempts to deal with the nuclear weapons Amity and Ingo discovered in Darkness Follows.
Meanwhile, Weatherly takes Collis’s role to the next level as he gets more and more involved with Kay and her regime, leaving readers guessing whether he is truly with the Resistance or has turned into a double agent.
Similarly, the time Amity and Ingo spend mapping out the old tunnels under New Manhattan deepens their relationship.
Fans will be tempted to plow through this book in one sitting, despite its mammoth 651 pages – an easy task if you consider the fast-paced writing alone.
The only thing I found slightly annoying is Weatherly’s propensity for leaving cliffhangers that are only resolved several chapters later.
I already found this technique rather overused in Darkness Follows, and it makes the story a bit hard to follow at times because Weatherly also jumps back and forth in time when she does it, which can be rather confusing.
Otherwise, Black Moon is an excellent ending to the trilogy,
I like how Weatherly reflects what actually happened historically during World War II in this story – which is also set in the 1940s of the dystopia’s reset timeline – but in a fresh way.
For those young fans who really like the story, you might want to read up a bit on the real-life war.
Or ask your grandparents or other relatives who lived through the Japanese occupation in Malaya how similar the story is to what really happened.
Author: LA Weatherly
Publisher: Usborne, young adult fantasy