Broken: The Young Hellions Series review by weekst...
Age Range - 12 and up
Genre - Fiction

LitPick Review

Age at time of review - 52
Reviewer's Location - NaplesX, Florida, United States
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Broken by Braxton Cosby is a post-apocalyptic story which takes place in the United States following “The Big Drop.”  The Big Drop is what occurred during a nuclear war after Russia invades the Ukraine.  This attack awakened secret alliances and ignited inflation, which all led to World War and nuclear destruction…  Some survivors of radioactive fallout and other consequences of the nuclear attack, exist among a wasteland called The Deadland in The Establishment. The Establishment is a society run by The Enforcers.  Keesa is a seventeen-year-old slave of this society.  She lives in Precinct Six of The Establishment, somewhere near Savannah, Georgia, in the U.S.  Rituals and practices have evolved in this post-apocalyptic society such as The Reckoning which intimidates the slaves and helps control them through fear.  Keesa is recognized by The Establishment for her leadership qualities and is singled out to become a Hellion, part of a select group of specially trained private guards of the leader Cress.  Despite this elevation in status, Keesa yearns for her freedom, and along with friends, she helps mastermind an escape from The Establishment. 

The escape is successful, and Keesa, her brother Kiran, and a few friends traverse The Deadland to find their way to The Resistance.  Unexpectedly they are captured by Horders.  Horders are post-apocalyptic thieves living in The Deadland who have bonded together as tribes and who avoid confrontation with The Establishment and The Ashers, radiated mutants who have an insatiable hunger for warm human blood…  Will Keesa be able to survive The Long Walk and will she and her friends escape The Horders?  Will the Horders accept them as fugitives of the Establishment?  Will Keesa and her friends finally find their way to the safety of The Resistance?  




Think of a dystopic society in a Lois Lowry story, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, and the post-apocalyptic empty wasteland of Mad Max with scattered societies, some reminiscent of past plantations in the U.S. deep-South, along with a touch of communism of the western world thrown in.  This is the setting of Broken, which at times seems fresh, and at other points in the story seems like you are revisiting past characters and plots.  

Broken is a story of family and friendship.  The main character, Keesa, is reminiscent of Katniss from Hunger Games, fighting for self-preservation, with a deep love and connection to her younger brother, Keenan, and her desire to break free from her life as a slave.  Keesa is a multi-dimensional character who occasionally even exhibits some complex feelings which may be interpreted as bisexuality. She rebels against an authoritative, oppressive regime run by adults and leading to an awakening.  Adroitly written by the author as not just a young adult rebellious or coming-of-age tale, Keesa’s awakening is more a self-realization about living for others and owing her desire for survival to a determination to help the many people who love and support her.

The author also comments on our world in general through his story.  He seems to be expressing his own desire to promote a sense of “love and unity,” among the human race’s tendency to make “bad decisions based on hate and separatism.” 

In the story, I found the slang and phrases injected into the speech of various characters, a stark contrast to the author’s otherwise smooth writing and the flow of the narrative.  I often stumbled upon phrases spoken by characters which felt forced and awkward to read, causing me to pause and question their appropriateness in the context of the character’s circumstances.  The choice of speech was most likely used to appeal to a certain age group or reader, but I wonder if foreign readers would also have trouble with certain idioms and phrase uses, limiting the appeal of the story and book.  

The author is obviously a very talented and skilled writer. He is very experienced in his development of characters, settings, and particularly in portraying situations full of tension and suspense.  His prose and story-telling skills shine and culminate in the exciting ending of Broken.  I flew through the last 100 pages as the story mounts to a climax, with a thrilling ending that beautifully leads into a much-anticipated sequel in this young adult post-apocalyptic series.  

Content Rating:

Content rating - some mature content

Explain your content rating: 

The characters in the story are not openly romantically involved but there seemed to be flirtation and suggestive sexual scenes which hint to the bisexuality of the main character. There is also some violence and murder which could be upsetting to younger readers.




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