I received this book as part of the Masquerade Tours review tour. I was interested to read it, even though I’d earlier given up on the first in the series ‘The Succubus Gift’.
See why below, and why I shall now be going back to finish it.
Broken Dolls by B.R. Kingsolver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Broken Dolls is a paranormal thriller set in the world of the Telepathic Clans series, but is a standalone story, so you don’t need to have read the Succubus books to understand what’s going on.
To be frank, I started reading the first book, The Succubus Gift, and put it down after 3 chapters of dialogue info dump. It was well written dialogue, but too much info without action for me.
Having now read Broken Dolls, I am going to go back and plough on through until I get to the plot, because I really, really enjoyed reading this one.
Rhi is a private investigator, based in London, UK, using her psychic talents to expedite her work – and she’s good at it. Snarky, confident and dismissive of her physical beauty, she is a wonderful, strong and independent female lead.
When a family friend asks her to investigate the disappearance of a young girl – who also happens to be a succubus – she travels to Ireland, and is quickly plunged into the murky world of human trafficking. Or to be more precise in this case, trafficking in girls with the succubus gene.
Her search leads her into the dark underbelly of politics, and also into the crossfire of Clan warfare. There are hot men, hot girls, action, telepathic manipulation and psychic powers a-plenty. Fast paced and written in a smooth, easy-to-read style, my only real disappointment was the lack of description of the wonderful locations – if I hadn’t visited most of them at one time or another, I would have struggled to visualise them, and that’s how I like to ‘see’ the action in a book; as if watching a film.
The plot has all the twists and turns you’d want from a thriller, and yet the characters are fleshed out and develop through the course of the book; a pleasing balance.
I did struggle a little to keep track of all the names, there are so many characters, clans, relatives, hangers-on etc., but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment; I found myself reading on regardless. It was a little the same with all the Gifts – if only I’d found the glossary at the end of the book sooner!
Probably my only doubt about this book was that I was uncomfortable with the casualness of all concerned about wiping people’s minds and memories, and re-programming them. Whilst it is a convenient tool when you have a criminal, or someone who is morally challenged, I was discomforted by the way no one questioned the ethics of doing such a thing – what makes it right for one segment of society to do this, and consider it wrong for another? You could argue that the baddies were doing it for selfish gain, and at the physical expense of their victims, and the good guys were doing it for the good of society, but I’m still not convinced that makes a valid argument.
On the upside, good on the author for highlighting such a repugnant trade and posting a link at the end of the book to where the reader can help out in the real world.
So on balance, a very solid four and a half stars, and I will certainly be reading the rest.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book for review purposes, and all opinions are my own.
What a thoughtful review and critique! I saw a lot of valubale editorial advice, freely given for B.R. Kingsolver.
I especially appreciated you, Deborah Jay, having several difficulties with the book and a fundamental problem with one aspect of the story, yet you did not allow that to poison your rating.
Cheers, Masquerade crew, B.R. Kingsolver, and Deborah Jay!
Good Luck to ‘Broken Dolls’!
Happy Reading, everybody!
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Hi Icky, thanks for dropping by and for leaving such a positive comment 😀
I will admit, after years of critiquing fiction, I find it hard to read anything without doing so, but I also value the importance of critiquing positively, having been on the receiving end myself.
Regardless of the issues, I did enjoy this book.
Ugh, info-dumps are the worst. But I am happy it got better.
Back story and fleshing out your world building for the reader without overloading the narrative with the dreaded info-dump has to be the most difficult aspect of writing fantasy and SF fiction.
Authors of contemporary or historical genres don’t know how easy they’ve got it!