I remember that when I signed up for this tour, I really didn't have a lot of free time. For those of you who have been here before, you probably know what I'm talking about. Those long absences? Yeah, they're not fun.
But I decided to take the tour anyway. Do you want to know why? Because this book looked amazing, and I didn't think I'd ever be able to forgive myself if I'd had the opportunity to read it and then didn't take it. It would have been such a waste.
Rest assured, this book was every bit as incredible as I had hoped that it would be. I would really like to talk about it right here and now, but I am actually supposed to have a more formal review at some point in this post. Which means that I should probably get to writing that right around now. First, though, since many of you may have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a little bit about the book:
Broken Symmetry by Dan Rix
Eleven months after the father of sixteen-year-old Blaire Adams vanished without a trace, he's found wandering outside The Scripps Research Institute vomiting blood and speaking gibberish, his sole possession a worn leather diary filled with an unrecognizable language. He has a message for her.
As he dies in her arms, he claims he never vanished. She vanished.
In a nearby military quarantine zone, scientists are being called in from around the world to sequence a previously unknown strain of DNA. Scientists…and soldiers.
When her father’s autopsy reveals a rare chromosomal disorder—a disorder, it turns out, she inherited—Blaire begins to suspect her father’s last words weren’t induced by amnesia. Like her dad, she has an additional set of instructions in her genes—instructions for what, doctors can’t say. Only one thing is certain: it’s what killed him…and it will kill her too.
But now she’s haunted by prophetic nightmares of the Yellowjacket—a young murderer, eyes the black of charcoal, who lures his victims to suicide without ever paying them a visit. The only clue she has to his handiwork is a lingering feeling of déjà vu. That, and the nagging suspicion that all she knows is a mirage. She is certain of two things—though it may mean confiding in the wrong side of good and evil, he has the answers she needs.
And he is recruiting her.
Dan Rix lives in Santa Barbara, California with his fiancée, paranormal romance author Laura Thalassa. He started writing his first novel in college while procrastinating his architecture studio work.
“Do me a favor, Blaire.”
“I’m not going to like this, am I?”
“Watch the USS Halsey,” he said. “Tell me if you see a flash . . . toward the bow.”
Behind him, the high cliffs stepped down, revealing a grove of densely packed eucalyptus. “You mean the destroyer?” I said, confused.
“Why?” My eyes flicked to the warship, its black hulk blotting out the horizon. “They’re all asleep—” A bright flash near the front of the ship surprised me. “Flash!”
Damian slammed on the brakes, and once again, I was thrown forward and bent around the glove compartment. We lurched sideways.
In slow motion, an entire sandbank beyond the Mustang’s hood swelled from the earth, sand and rocks levitating, and burst into a fireball. The windows shattered. So did my eardrums.
Damian—somehow still in control of the vehicle—didn’t wait for the debris to stop raining. He jammed the stick into gear and gunned the engine, plunging right through the still rising fireball. Flames enveloped the car, swirled inside and burned my hair, singed my skin. We caught air, my stomach rising into my throat, and then the hood plowed into the sand on the other side. The Mustang climbed up the rocks, tires skidding, and darted between the tree trunks.
“We’re fine,” he yelled. “That was just a five inch round. We can hide in the woods.”
The destroyer’s gun flashed again, and I screamed loud enough to tear out my vocal chords.
Damian dragged the wheel to the right, and my rib cage crunched against the door frame.
“Cover your ears—”
I didn’t have time. The forest to our left, just where we had been a second ago, lifted on a bed of fire. The trees shook like rubber dolls, then sprawled flat, as if a rug had been tugged out from underneath them. The blast rippled across my skin, and the shockwave sent our car careening sideways. We tipped up on two wheels, then fell back, landing with a groan of metal. I touched my cheeks. Thank God . . . my face was still there.
I glanced behind me, and caught glimpses of the destroyer between the trees. As I watched, a dozen blinding streaks rose from the ship, burning arcs into the sky and lighting the entire Pacific . . . really? They were launching fireworks?
But what I saw next froze my heart. One by one, the blazing streaks curved inwards, like claws, each one aligning its trajectory with our car. Not fireworks, moron.
Broken Symmetry definitely got me thinking. My mind was whirling around at all kinds of ungodly speeds the entire time I was reading the book, trying desperately to figure out what was going on before the book was able to tell me. Why did I do this? I don't really know. There's just this insatiable need that I have to figure out what's going to happen all of the time, even in real life. (I actually wrote more about that here if you're interested in hearing me drone on even longer). I don't know if it's just because I don't like surprises (which is true), or because I would get too bored if I just sat back and let the story take me wherever it wanted to (which may or may not be true, I'm not really sure yet).
Anyway, enough about me. Let's talk about that book I'm supposed to be reviewing right now.
Needless to say, I really liked it. You already know that it made me think, and to me, that's really important in a book like this. Don't get me wrong here. There are some books that I can read and absolutely fall in love with without my brain having to work one bit. These two are good examples. However, when I can tell that a book is going to be more of a thriller (no, not the kind with zombies, too much fake smoke, and tacky red jackets), it had better not just lead me in a straight line towards the ending. In my opinion, it comes with the territory of taking on a book like this, and if I expect to be kept guessing while I'm reading, it had better throw me all over the place.
This one did, without a doubt. I'm not saying that it was perfect or anything because I do have quite a few questions (which I will get to later), but there wasn't a single moment when my brain was given a break. If you want at comparison, I'd say that the movie Inception comes pretty close. Neither of them were perfectly airtight in everything they tried to execute, but they came pretty close, especially considering the topics they tried to take on.
There were a few moments when I was a little doubtful of the explanations I was given as for how the phenomena worked. I consider myself to be pretty science savvy, and I started getting a little iffy somewhere around the halfway mark in the book. Some of the things that Charles tried to explain to Blaire didn't quite make sense to me, and I think that was my biggest problem with this book.
For example, I do agree with what he said about a photon having two options when it hits glass, but the same thing doesn't work with mirrors, especially not mirrors of the quality he was using. If it did, then we should be able to see some light on the other side of the mirror, just like we do with glass. Also, I have studied the double-slit experiment before, and I'm not completely sure that's how it works. Still, this was some deep physics that Dan Rix took on in writing the novel, so it's completely understandable if there were some disconnects. Even today, we aren't entirely sure about the specifics of what happens when we get into the nitty gritty areas of our universe, so for all I know, everything Charles said could have been right. If he wasn't, nothing he said was going to kill me or anything, but if I had to pick something about this book that could be improved, that would be it.
I really debated about what rating to give this book. On one hand, there were a few world building and plot development errors that stood out to me, but this book still turned out to be one of the most engaging that I've read in a long time. Any problems that I'd had around the middle of the book were arbitrary considering all of the great stuff this book did have to offer.
Damian, for example. He was definitely something incredible that came out of the novel. I didn't really like him for almost all of the book, but once I got to the end and realized what was really going on, he stole my heart away. His acceptance of who he really was and the role that he had to play was mind-blowing, and I'm not so sure that I would have been able to do it myself. We saw what being in that situation did to Charles, and it really wasn't pretty.
If you haven't read this book yet, you might think that I'm just describing another boring incident of troubled bad boy coming to terms with his past, causing all of his sins to be forgiven, but that's not what happened. Trust me, I hate that just as much as you may. What we discover about Damian is something completely different, but I can't exactly explain it to you because then I would be ruining the whole book!
Even when it sucked, the relationship between Damian and Blaire was still pretty great. Take this quote for example:
Do you see what I'm talking about?
The ending, that was another thing that I really loved. In fact, it may just be the best ending I've read all year. It was the perfect mix of hilarious and character-fitting, not to mention that I know that I couldn't have come up with a better way of closing things up. The place where Blaire was at right before the end was a very dark place, yet this book still managed to have a happy ending. Before you say that dark books can't have happy endings, read Broken Symmetry. I didn't really think that they could either, but I was definitely proven wrong.
I've been seeing a lot of bad reviews for this book, and in a way, I guess I can understand why. There will probably be people that accuse me of only giving this book a good rating only because it's on a promotional tour, and that's okay with me. They're entitled to their opinion just as much as I'm entitled to mine. It may be the wrong opinion in my mind, but that doesn't mean they can't have it.
So to all of you Broken Symmetry haters out there, you can just suck it. This book rocks.
His black eyes targeted mine. "I've seen you suffer," he spat. "I've seen you go after what you want, and fail every time. I've seen you make every single wrong choice..." He held my gaze, breathing heavily. "And I've seen you get back up every time. I've seen you become stronger. I've seen you grow up. You're a different person now. You're the Blaire I know."The fever in his black eyes didn't intimidate me. My heart echoed, beating in some far off place I no longer had access to. "Tell me you love me," I whispered."I don't love you. That's not for me to do."
Now for those questions that I said I had. AS A WARNING, THOUGH, THESE DEFINITELY CONTAIN SPOILERS, SO IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK YET, SKIP AHEAD TO THE GIVEAWAY.
This is your last chance. Okay, here I go.
- How did reflection Damian know that he wasn't in the source? Did he just come to the same conclusion I did through reason, or am I missing something else?
- Why was Blaire's dad so sick when he came into the reflection if he was only one level down? Was he already expired? If so, how did that happen without the ISDI being created? Was he up to something else?
- If the ISDI was only an interior design service to the rest of the world, then why did Blaire get an internship with them through her Biology teacher?
- What happened to the shadowy figure after Blaire returned to the source?
- Why did Blaire stop experiencing the symptoms after she stepped out of the artifact? Is it because of her 48th chromosome?
- What happened to Blaire's mom?
- What happened to Amy's mom? Is she still alive in the source, or did she die before the symmetry was broken?
- Where was Blaire's dad's reflection going eleven months ago when he had to be orphaned?
- Why was the source's side of the mirror in Nevada?
- What had Damian been up to during the past twelve years?
- Where did his mom end up?
- What's in the 47th chromosome that makes it so special?
- What's at the bottom of the maze? More shadowy figures? Or is there just the one?
- When did Charles get "possessed?" Was it around the time he went into the fail safe, or was it further into the maze?
- What was Damian supposed to be doing at Dr. Benjamin's house?
- Why didn't anyone notice Blaire's dad climbing out of the artifact if Damian and Blaire couldn't get out of Scripps once without someone seeing them?
- What caused the infrared messaging to screw up when the hard drive was downloading?
- What happened that made Charles feel the need to create a fail safe? Is was only two months ago that he did it, so it couldn't have been the disappearance of Blaire's dad.
Wow, that was a lot! Sorry about that, but I'm done now.
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