Broken Symmetry by Dan Rix

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis:

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.

My Review:

I wish I could have thoroughly enjoyed this. I really do.

A while back, I read a book about time travel/leaping (A Time to Reap) and I sincerely enjoyed it. I gave it a four-out-of-five stars review and recommended it. Time travel can get complicated very quickly because it’s a very complicated subject. Likewise, the concept of traveling within mirrors is a complicated subject as well. So why did A Time to Reap receive 4/5 stars, but Broken Symmetry received 2.5/5?

The low rating has three reasons. One: I didn’t understand it. Maybe complicated topics lose me as easily as I lose my chapstick, but I was able to keep up in A Time to Reap. In Broken Symmetry, a lot of things were lost to me. Why? Because it was poorly explained. As a reader, I learn along with Blaire; what she knows, I know. At least, that’s how it was supposed to be. Somehow, Blaire is able to understand what Damien (I’ll go over the characters later) tells her without much trouble, but I was left behind. As they walked through the plot, I was left on the other side of the mirror, still trying to figure out how to get my hand to go through. It was frustrating and unfair because it left me having to decide if I wanted to re-read the same paragraphs three times or continue on and hope I’m not missing valuable information. In the end, I was able to make it through the story without understanding it all, but that didn’t make it any less frustrating. Unlike in novellas, short stories, or novelettes, there was plenty of time to really explain how this “mirror jumping” business worked. Instead, Damien would smirk, tell Blaire something in one to three lines of dialogue, and Blaire’s mind would shrug and understand it. On the other side of the page, to my brain, Damien was explaining quantum physics to me and Blaire, who is a quantum physics expert, and as she nods along, I’m still reading the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page. How fair is that? At least there wasn’t an exam.

The second reason was the cursing. I can handle cursing, honest. I just can’t bring myself to shrug at it when it’s obviously not necessary. The plot could have casually carried on without curse words thrown in. They were used correctly, but it just wasn’t necessary.

The last reason was that there were too many things added to the plot that were never explained. Characters were introduced and never given a real purpose, they didn’t even serve to move the plot along, they were just there. Some concepts were brought up and then never talked about afterwards. Blaire experiences strong emotions for a brief second, then she’s totally fine, despite those emotions needing more than a glance before they’re solved. Which leads me into the main character of Broken Symmetry: Blaire Adams.

What a terrible example of a sixteen year old heroine. Or whatever she might be called. She was rude to the people around her, literally manages to (almost, if not actually) man ruin a marriage and career because of her selfish actions (which was an attempt to seduce him, a 40+ year old man!), acts as if she knows everything even when she’s, in truth, almost completely clueless (she thought missiles were fireworks), complains and whines about everything, and let compliments go to her head way too easily. A few people made the mistake of telling her more than two times (or at all) that she was special or the one we need or the best and suddenly she immediately thinks that that’s true and wants control over everything. She’s new to mirror-jumping (that isn’t what it’s called, but that’s what I’m calling it), but decides she knows more about the side-effects and the outcomes than all of the people that have been doing it for years. At one point, she even sees herself (a reflection, she’s gone through a mirror) and how she acts towards people and she thinks, “Wow, I’m pretty rude…” But that’s it. She doesn’t even realize this until almost the end of the book so character development is non-existent.She also barely acknowledges emotions In all honesty, I feel that Amy would have been a better heroine.

Amy is Charles’ only daughter and she can also walk through mirrors. Rix wrote her character in a way that is supposed to come off as mean and rude, but I didn’t see her that way. I saw her as someone who rightfully feels replaced and alone. She isn’t allowed to walk through mirrors anymore because of the way it’s harming her body, but her Dad loves her and her only friend, Damien, (platonically) loves her too. Then, Blaire waltzes in with her nasty attitude and suddenly everyone praises her. Amy isn’t the center of attention anymore and she’s ignored often, only getting a few moments of the spotlight before Blaire pushes her out of the way. Wouldn’t that make Amy’s reaction justified? The way her character turns out in the end was a low blow too. I just feel Amy could’ve been a way better character. Why is it that a girl always has to hate the heroine?

Charles was a great character and probably the one best written. He didn’t have character development or anything, but it was fine. I can’t say too much since it would spoil the plot, but I did enjoy reading about him. There wasn’t much to read, however, which was disappointing. I don’t know his motives, what drives him, what he cares about, or anything which are necessary; it’s disappointing that that was left out.

Damien wasn’t so bad. He was maybe the second-best written character, but he was a bit empty. I didn’t know what drives him, what he cares about, or any of his backstory. All that I knew was that he was a flirt and was pretty good at his job.

The romance aspect was completely eh. It was just the regular “girl meets two different boys, girl has to choose between boys, girl falls in love with boy #2 she just met, boy #2 falls in love with her too after pushing her away since they met.” It could have been 100% better than what it was. (Not to mention, Blaire is more or less cheating on boy #1, but Blaire doesn’t care.) Blaire and boy #2 never have an honest-to-goodness talk about the nitty-gritty stuff in their lives. They just go from “Haha we’re both gorgeous and have names that sound adventurous!” to “I LOVE YOU! IT’S OKAY. I WILL GUIDE YOU THROUGH THIS ROUGH PATCH.” What? That’s not even how you become best friends, much less lovers. I can’t stand it when the romance is like that. Don’t have a romance in your book if all it really is, is intense infatuation and teenage lust aka love at first sight.

The plot itself was good. Definitely needed better writing in order to reach its full potential. I do want to point out, that if you read this book, do not go according to the synopsis. It is completely misleading. “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.” This doesn’t happen. At all. She doesn’t just casually do these things throughout her life, she doesn’t kill people or live in “every teenager’s family,” steal things (not for her own pleasure anyways), or happily break into La Jolla mansions. She’s terrified every single time she goes through the mirror and something emotionally scarring usually happens. The synopsis makes it seem like it’s all fun and games and then “I can save the world with this!” but that isn’t what it was like for Blaire at all. The life she lives is full of emotional trauma, extreme loss, guilt, pain both physical and emotional, and terror. “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.” There’s no drug-like rush, like I said, she’s terrified. She doesn’t suspect that mirror-jumping is degrading her body, it is degrading her body and she knows it for a fact. Each reflection of her doesn’t get hazier, I’m not sure what that is supposed to mean. At one point, she goes through multiple mirrors over and over again, and she is still just as clear, but the air somehow gets thinner.

Can I briefly point out that though this is a book about symmetry and one of the characters say to Blaire that she’s attractive more or less because her face is symmetrical; yet the person on the cover (who I assume is Blaire) has coloring on the right side of her face, but not the left?

Unless this book goes through major editing and rewriting, I wouldn’t recommend reading it. It’s unfortunately not worth the headache.

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