The Breaking Light // Review

Title: The Breaking Light
Author: Heather Hansen
No. of pages: e-book; 256
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Publisher: Skyscrape
Publication Date: April 1, 2017
Date Read: June 10, 2018
First book in the Split City series


In a stratified society where contact with the sun is a luxury reserved for the elite, those kept prisoner in the darkness will do anything to find the light. Arden—beautiful, street-smart, and cynical—is one of the citizens of the lowest Level, known as Undercity, of an off-world colony. A blackout band traps Arden in her district, but as sister to the leader of the most powerful gang in Undercity, she has access to Above.
There she meets Dade, one of the few lucky enough to be born into the sun-kissed families who reside in the Towers soaring above the rest of the city. But life isn’t perfect in the sky. Dade, desperate to escape his upcoming arranged marriage, has a secret of his own, and he’s willing to risk everything for it.
An unlikely romance develops between the two teens—but their love faces opposition from above and below. When her gang pressures Arden to help break the grip of the elite and end Dade’s interference with their drug trade, she is forced to make a deadly choice between love and family loyalty. But will the brewing class war destroy the world around them first? (Goodreads)


This book was more of a 3.5 to me than giving it either a 3 or 4. There were some things I definitely liked and some I definitely didn’t.

Starting off the book with Arden trapped against a wall liking the fact that there was some dude ready to kill her while she was thinking he’s hot was definitely not exactly something that made me want to keep reading. As the story progressed, it got better but I felt that the story line at some places were rushed or they didn’t really make sense with everything happening already in the book. There were places that at times felt like too much. There were places that at times felt too little.

Arden and Dade as main characters were definitely a great choice. Arden is this strong-willed girl who is all about surviving in this world that Hansen has created. Dade, was born privileged in this world where few people get to see the sun and is a vigilante against his own family to give back to the poor; he’s basically Robin Hood. At first, it didn’t really make sense to me about why they were both attracted to each other since they tried to rob/kill one another when they first met. And then I realized that it was an off-version of Romeo and Juliet.

I liked that the action was non-stop. And the romance, once it started was actually well written. Arden being the sister of the head of an Undercity gang (‘poor’) and Dade being the only heir of a Solizen (‘rich’) was actually a really great version of the ‘star-crossed lovers’ theme going on in the book.

I wish that Hansen had built the world just a little more. It takes place in a world that they went to mine and to live on following a World War that was devastating. There’s literally maybe about a half page of material about how they came to live in this society. Also, there’s about a half page of material explaining, but not really explaining, the caste system of the world other than the Solizen’s on top who get the view of the sun, the Levels underneath that don’t get sun (that’s it), and the Undercity that is the supporting structure of this city whose inhabitants have always been without sun.

This book was good. It was a solid 3.5. The Breaking Light is definitely a mixture of Romeo and Juliet and Red Rising. Will I read the second one? Yes, because I won it on a Goodreads giveaway and was also give it on Netgalley. Would I read it if I didn’t already have it? Very possibly, because I do want to know what happens next to Arden and Dade as they try to make a break from either of their families for freedom and each other. If my kindle wasn’t currently almost dead, I probably would have started it already.

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