Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Legend of Broken

The Legend of Broken by Caleb Carr

For years I've been waiting for Caleb Carr to write another book. Ever since reading The Alienist and its sequel The Angel of Darkness back in the '90s I've been a big fan of his. After those two books he wrote two stand-alone books: Killing Time and a Sherlock Holmes story called The Italian Secretary. Neither one was as good as his first two, but they were all right. When I saw that he had a new book coming out, seven years since his last one, I was excited. it wasn't going to be a return to the characters from The Alienist, but I was still looking forward to reading it.

The Legend of Broken is an extremely hard book to categorize. I've labeled the genre as "historical legend," which I don't even think is a real genre, but it's the only label I can think of that makes any sense. The narrator of the story begins the book with an explanation that it comes from an old manuscript, recently discovered, which tells the story of two different civilizations that existed between 500-800 A.D., in what is today the country of Germany. The Tall reside in the city of Broken and the Bane, who were cast out of Broken many years before, now live in remote and hidden villages outside the city's limits. The two groups are constantly at odds with each other, but when a mysterious plague breaks out, killing many in both tribes, each believes the other is responsible for the illness and both groups begin making plans for war.

It's up to three members of the Bane tribe to track down the enigmatic Caliphestros, who was banished from Broken many years ago after being accused of sorcery, to discover the true source of the plague and save both civilizations from a war that threatens to wipe them both out.

I really wanted to like this book. I didn't want to have waited so long for another book by Carr only to be disappointed. Unfortunately though, that's what I was. I found myself conscientiously pushing to get through the 700+ pages as quickly as possible so that I could move on to the next book on my TBR pile. The storyline never captured my attention and Carr's style of writing this time kept me continually confused and disinterested. I was frustrated with the book because I know how good a writer Carr is, and this book is not indicative of it. The Alienist is one of my all-time favorite books, and based on the amount of time that that book spent on the NYT Bestseller list back in 1994, I would think I'm not alone in hoping Carr will one day return to the characters and story he introduced in that book. Why he would spend as much time as he undoubtedly did writing this book is beyond me.

★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

No comments:

Post a Comment