In the wake of several near-cataclysmic events, humanity created the Cure, a DNA-altering antidote to death by disease and old age. But all cures come with side effects: a small percentage of the population develops a wide range of powers, some of which are lethal to others, and some which are lethal to the wielder.
These people are called the Estranged, hunted and shunned, safe only on the Island of Exile. It is here that Kaeva and Eddie meet-and where they set a prophecy in motion, quite possibly sealing their own demise, and even the end of Exile.
Rating: 5 out of 5!
Breaker brings us two flawed, fascinating main characters, but it also brings an amazing world as well. It's a futuristic dystopia where all is well if you are well-off and "natural", that is, receiving only the good aspects of the Cure. For the Estranged, those to whom the Cure has given a frightening array of powers, controllable and not, life is much harder. If lucky, they live on the outskirts of society, fighting for meager crumbs. Those not so lucky just...disappear. Perhaps they are whisked off by the military or the government for research, no one knows. But to be Estranged is to be outcast, unwanted.
In all of this, a small, hidden haven has arisen: Exile, an island off the coast of the United States. Perhaps the government knows of it, perhaps they don't, but it is well-hidden and well-fortified, and populated by Estranged who have fled for its sanctuary.
It is on Exile where we meet Kaeva, a Breaker - a man whose uncontrolled outbursts can send massive jolts of electricity through anything (and anyone) near him when his emotions get the best of him. His Estrangement has made him a loner, bitter and hopeless, fearful of getting close to anyone.
We also meet Eddie, a "richie" with an affluent upbringing whose abilities as a Scanner (he can hear the awful thoughts of those committing terrible acts, but only as they commit them) he has tried to hide all of his life. When discovered he runs, eventually reaching Exile. Eddie is an amazing character. He is naive about the hardscrabble life of the Estranged, yet well-versed in the interplay of adult society, in public and in private.
The book brings Kaeva and Eddie together and the sparks fly, pun intended. Once the setting and characters are established the story is straightforward, but the atmosphere of the story makes it quite an enjoyable journey (and one that had me sniffling through happy tears as well). I can easily imagine Kaeva's isolated little house by the ocean, spartan but homey, the sun warm and the wind blowing. The rest of Exile comes to life for the reader similarly.
Two questions that I ask myself when I finish a book: "Do I want to spend more time with these people? Do I want to learn more about this place?" In the case of Breaker the answer on both counts is an unqualified Yes! I look forward to more from Wyre and Henley and the fascinating world of Exile.
Originally posted 19 January 2017