Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Engines of the Broken World by Jason Vanhee--OPTIONAL

Vanhee, Jason Engines of the Broken World, 262 pgs. Henry Holt and Company, 2013. $16.99. Language: PG-13 (34 swears 0 “F”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13

Merciful Truth and her brother Gospel’s mother is dead. They want to give her the proper burial she deserves, but the snow and cold won’t allow them to break the ground and dig a grave. The Minister who guides them through animal form disapproves of their actions and makes them feel guilty for their choice. The siblings vow to lay their mother to rest as soon as the storm ceases, but in the meantime, put her under the table in the cold of the kitchen. Merciful does her best to justify her actions to the Minister and even begins to feel less guilty until she hears the lullaby begin. How is it possible that she is hearing her mother singing when Merciful knows her mother is dead?

What begins promisingly as a creepy story of the dead rising again quickly devolves into a confused plot about parallel universes, the end of the world, God and his plan, and a hazy battle between good and evil. As the supernatural genre of young adult literature persists, many authors attempt a new take on a tired idea. This story makes such an attempt and is ambitious in its scope, but fails to create a book that feels complete or comprehensible. The ending is abrupt and unsatisfying as the reader is left with many unanswered questions.



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