The Broken Heavens is Kameron Hurley’s third and final installment in The Worldbreaker Saga. After a one year time skip from the events from Empire Ascendant, The Broken Heavens is a pretty satisfying ending to the trilogy. While the ending was a bit…metaphysical, for lack of a better word, I think it worked well to conclude the story.
Do you ever get to a point in a book where you go, how did I not realize that every character is terrible and I hate them all until now? Just me?
I’m not saying this was a bad book, it isn’t at all, but wow, did almost every character start to get on my nerves by the halfway point. I think that the main issue I had was that in this book we spent a lot of time with characters when there wasn’t as much action as the previous books so their natures really shone through more. I think part of the problem of this was, for me, that each of the characters motivations and actions made sense in the context of war. But in the more slow burn rebellion and re-building point in the series, I, and the characters themselves, had to confront their actions and behaviours in this new context.
This did work well from a character development point of view. There was a point where most of the characters who had done terrible things over the course of the series had a moment of self realization that they were terrible people. This didn’t necessarily change their behaviour, but the self awareness added a level of depth to the book and played well into the ending.
One reviewer said this better than I could “There are so many characters here lumbering under their own sense of self-deception, fooling themselves as to what their true motives and goals might be. They have become so adept at spinning lies, at presenting the right illusion to those around them, that when it comes time to choose sides, to decide upon a course of action, they’re not even sure what they want”
This factor really left me with mixed feelings throughout the book because on one hand the characters coming into themselves, separating themselves from the lies they told, help make the characters have more depth. But, at the same time, it’s not exactly the most interesting content to consume because I’m not really a character person when it comes to books.
Something that I thought Hurley did really well in The Broken Heavens was bringing all of the individual characters who we have been following throughout the series together. I enjoyed watching the characters miss each other by minutes, days, and hours – unknowingly walking in each other’s footsteps. While they didn’t know it, and while it was almost coincidence in some cases, all of these individual characters came together for a single purpose for which they all had a role.
Looking at the series as a whole, I would definitely recommend it. While I point out some of my misgivings in these reviews, I really had very few complaints while reading the series. So if you like dark fantasy (and long books) go for it!