Hello :3! Thanks for stopping in to find out more about Dan Rix's YA sci-fi novel, Broken Symmetry!
What you'll find in this post:
Synopsis & excerpt
My rating & review
My rating & review
Author info & a sweet giveaway :)
Also, don't forget to check out the other blogs on the tour! There are 5 other excerpts...plus there'll be interviews/guest posts.
Author: Dan Rix
Publisher: Burning Ember Press
Date of Publication: July 28, 2013
Genre: YA sci-fi
Eleven months after the father of sixteen-year-old Blaire Adams vanished without a trace, he's found wandering outside The Scripps Research Institute vomiting blood and speaking gibberish, his sole possession a worn leather diary filled with an unrecognizable language. He has a message for her.
As he dies in her arms, he claims he never vanished. She vanished.
In a nearby military quarantine zone, scientists are being called in from around the world to sequence a previously unknown strain of DNA. Scientists…and soldiers.
When her father’s autopsy reveals a rare chromosomal disorder—a disorder, it turns out, she inherited—Blaire begins to suspect her father’s last words weren’t induced by amnesia. Like her dad, she has an additional set of instructions in her genes—instructions for what, doctors can’t say. Only one thing is certain: it’s what killed him…and it will kill her too.
But now she’s haunted by prophetic nightmares of the Yellowjacket—a young murderer, eyes the black of charcoal, who lures his victims to suicide without ever paying them a visit. The only clue she has to his handiwork is a lingering feeling of déjà vu. That, and the nagging suspicion that all she knows is a mirage. She is certain of two things—though it may mean confiding in the wrong side of good and evil, he has the answers she needs.
And he is recruiting her.
The glass under my thumb gave way. It was like a thin sheet of ice...melting under the warmth of my finger. I squealed and yanked my hand back.
I stared at the mirror, unable to believe what I’d just felt—and what I was seeing. My reflection had just vanished. So had Damian’s.
Gone. And I understood. The mirror was now a portal; the world on the other side no longer matched our own.
“There. You just broke the symmetry,” said Damian. “Now try to get more of your hand through.”
Once again I grabbed his hand and touched the glass. This time, I melted through much faster—now that I believed it could happen—and got up to my wrist. On the other side, my hand tingled, like I had pressed it into an electric field. When I stopped moving my hand, it felt solid again.
Damian chuckled. “You already broke the symmetry. You can let go of my hand.”
If his hand had been a hot coal, I wouldn’t have dropped it any faster.
“Come on,” he said. “It’s just like a door now.” In a sudden, unbelievable moment, he took a giant step into the mirror—into what was now another room.
I tried to follow him, worked my hand through the mirror up to my elbow, then lost it. The glass hardened around skin, and a cold sweat broke out along my body. My arm wouldn’t budge. “Damian, I’m stuck,” I said, hating the fear in my voice.
“You’re not stuck,” he said, and through the partition of glass between us, his voice sounded muted. “Just relax.”
The harder I pushed, the harder the glass froze around my elbow, now cutting into my skin. I closed my eyes. I’m not stuck. I can walk through mirrors. And then I pictured Damian, and fantasized about him holding my hand again.
At last the glass melted, and I tumbled all the way through the mirror, praying he never managed to pry out of me my final thoughts about him. The moment I landed in his arms, I knew I had crossed over.
And I knew something had gone very wrong.
If I had to choose one word to describe Broken Symmetry, it would be **surprising**. Here's why:
I began reading my review copy of Broken Symmetry on Derek (my kindle)...and I was like, seriously? I was so disappointed with the prose, the dialogue, and, most of all, the characterization.
Let's talk about characterization first. I thought Blaire, the popular and knock-out-pretty protagonist, was the stupidest psat semi-finalist to walk the planet. Plus, her arrogance and disrespect toward others really bothered me.
The other characters were equally annoying--Amy because she was a jerkface all the time just because (I'm not exaggerating); Damian because he was selfish, arrogant, and seemed to enjoy playing with Blaire's feelings a little too much; Charles because he was unreasonable and enigmatic seemingly for the sake of frustrating our dear protagonist's plans...I could go on, but I think you understand why I was upset, so I won't.
The gist: I didn't empathize with any of the characters because I found them so obnoxious (and irrational/erratic). *Don't worry, though; they come around :).*
As for the prose and dialogue, well...the prose disappointed me because I didn't think the choppiness flattered the plot/characters in general. The dialogue often felt strained--and sometimes, it was pointless/irrelevant. The plot, however, kept me going from the beginning--who can resist a good mystery?
Still, at the quarter point I was unsure I'd be giving Broken Symmetry a rating of *3* stars, nevermind 5.
But then Dan Rix showed me his genius as a writer and dreamer, and Broken Symmetry became INCREDIBLE.
So, wait. What happened???
For one thing, Rix submerged me into the concept of breaking symmetry. Breaking symmetry is both brilliant and fascinating, and he takes great effort to dumb the uber cool phenomenon down, which is wonderful, because it gets complicated really quickly. I got confused. I had to re-read. And I. Loved. It. In fact, the complexity of breaking symmetry continued to impress and intrigue me throughout the novel.
For another, the oceanic philosophical (ontological, epistemological...) dilemma of Broken Symmetry made that of The Matrix look like a pond. I'm not saying Rix reflects the genius of Plato or Socrates; the dilemmas about the "realness of reality" aren't exactly new. But the depth was impressive nonetheless, and it was a huge factor in my rating.
Broken Symmetry asks the question, Is this the Source (reality), or is this--and are we--merely a reflection? From this question a string of other pertinent questions follow: If we're reflections, does our existence matter? Could it even be considered 'existence'? Can we obtain certainty (or rational confidence lol) that we aren't reflections/that we aren't in a reflection? If so, how? And then there are less critical questions that we could ask--if this is a reflection, how far down are we?
The other surprise was the growth of the characters; almost every character became sympathetic (to a degree) to me by the end. They learned from mistakes, revealed their motivations, and became believable.
While I personally can't recommend Broken Symmetry for its dialogue or characterization in general (though that excerpt above is fantastic), the story is fairly riveting and the questions it raises are worth investigating. Plus, breaking symmetry really is fascinating ;)! I'd definitely recommend it.
My final rating is...*drumroll please*
3.5 paopu fruits! (Erm...stars...)
About the Author
Dan Rix lives in Santa Barbara, California with his fiancée, paranormal romance author Laura Thalassa. He started writing his first novel in college while procrastinating his architecture studio work.
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