Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: August 25, 2013
Publisher: Burning Ember Press
Add it: Goodreads
Sixteen-year-old Blaire Adams can walk through mirrors.
It’s called breaking symmetry. To her, a mirror feels like a film of honey. She can reach through it, grab things…even step inside.
On the other side she lives every teenager’s fantasy: a universe all her own, zero consequences. She can kiss the hot guy, break into La Jolla mansions, steal things…even kill. When finished, she just steps back into reality and smashes the mirror—and in an instant erases every stupid thing she did. Gone. It never happened.
But breaking symmetry is also dangerous. First there’s the drug-like rush she gets when passing through the glass, like a shot of adrenaline. She suspects it’s degrading her body, making a new copy of her each time. A reflection of a reflection, each one a little hazier. Then, of course, there’s the risk of getting cut off from reality.
When she narrowly escapes a military quarantine zone with the San Diego Police Department hot on her heels only to discover her escape mirror littering the floor in shards, her worst fear is realized. Now, trapped in a broken reflection, she must flee through a mind-bending maze of mirrors, going deeper into the nightmare as she struggles to grasp a betrayal, uncover the chilling truth about her ability, and somehow find a way out of a dead-end universe that “never happened.”
Somehow, she must find a way home.
Broken Symmetry was a complete impulse buy. I saw the pretty cover on Amazon and decided that I just had to have it. Since it was cheap, I bought it there and then, despite being on a book buying ban. I probably shouldn’t be allowed to access the internet when I’m sleep deprived at 12AM.
I am hugely fascinated by parallel worlds and universes, so Broken Symmetry sounded right up my alley. It’s about a girl called Blaire who can ‘break symmetry’, which basically means she has an extra chromosome that allows her to walk through mirrors and create parallel worlds. Does this not sound awesome?
And, sure enough, the world building was my favourite part of the book. While the prose and the characters both failed to draw me in, I loved the idea of parallel worlds being created when you walk through mirrors. Rix does a great job of explaining how all this works, although there was one point at the beginning where he fell incredibly close to info-dumping. He also repeats things a lot, and it was a little frustrating because I was sitting there thinking ‘Yes, I get it, can we continue with the story now?’, but maybe other readers will appreciate the recaps on all the science-y stuff.
Despite the amazing world that Rix has created, I am unable to give Broken Symmetry more than two stars. The characters are the main downfall, in my opinion, since I was unable to connect with any of them, and I don’t think they stood out enough. I was very confused by Blaire’s personality and traits at times. Was she meant to be the popular, beautiful girl at school, or was she the doesn’t-know-she’s-gorgeous girl? Sometimes Blaire came across as very arrogant, and other times she was very self-conscious. Her character was all over the place.
There are few secondary characters in this novel, which could have worked well because it would have given Rix a chance to develop both his main and secondary characters. Instead, we got what were basically cardboard cutouts. Amy is the bitchy girl who has it in for Blaire. Damien (yes, Damien) is the hot, broody, sarcasm, somewhat inappropriate love interest. And then there’s Charles, who becomes Blaire’s boss throughout the course of the novel. I won’t go into too much detail about him, because he starts off as a bit of a mystery with regards to his research and things, but he’s also fairly cliché.
The romance between Blaire and Damien was also awful. It seemed as though the author had a set checklist that he was ticking off. Two beautiful people? Check. Arrogant, dark, broody guy? Check. Guy must be reckless plus attractive – Check! It was all too much, and on top of that they fall in love incredibly quickly. I don’t remember them having one conversation that was about themselves rather than the “mirror-walking” stuff that they do. The connection wasn’t there for me, nor was the chemistry.
And, like I said, I also had a problem with the prose. It was nothing outstanding, which was disappointing because this story had a lot of potential, and I think that in the right hands it could have been absolutely brilliant. The dialogue was dull and the writing all together was unengaging. I also noticed quite a few typos, which is never a good thing, because it draws me out of the story and I find myself turning into an amateur copy editor. Plus, the author misspells Aladdin. Yeah. Unforgivable.
I would probably recommend giving Broken Symmetry a go if you’re into stories about parallel worlds as much as I am. It’s not all bad, and, like I said, the world building was incredibly interesting. Rix just doesn’t pull the story off, unfortunately. I say go for it if you want a cheap and easy read, but don’t go into Broken Symmetry expecting anything profound, because you will not get it.