Does what enhances you, what makes you stronger, make you broken or less than whole? This is a question dear to my heart. I have a prosthesis that looks real. That’s it’s only job and talent, and it does it well. To all appearances, I seem whole. Am I really?
In Broken People Ioana Visan draws us into an alter-history world at war. Technology is big, and many people have cybernetic enhancements or prosthetics. Technicians graft metal to flesh with delicate skill (if you’re lucky). Robotic suits and robots themselves can also be found in this grim future. Sadly, people with prosthetics are frowned upon, and even banned in places.
Dale is a mercenary focused on a job, a grand plan to break into a heavily guarded building on rarely opened to the public. Plans get changed when he finds his partner grievously wounded. In desperation, Dale ends up contracting with the Nightingale Circus, a traveling troupe with a side-business in repair work.
This is the first ‘cyberpunk’ book I have read, and I fell in love with it. It is well-written, and the characters vivid and alive in the imagination. Dale, the main character, comes across as…well…mercenary, and pragmatic, but beneath it all, he has a good heart. He gives a little girl coins when he is able. Later he goes out of his way to treat little Rosie very gently after she’s had a procedure done.
My favourite characters were Spinner and Rake, the Circus’ Blade Masters. I think that’s because they are the Circus’ secret technicians, and so very close to the world I write in which blends technology like this with magick. I learned recently that is a subgenre called arcanepunk. Who knew….?
Ioana Visan’s Broken People is a real treat. If you enjoy sci-fi, cyberpunk, or dystopic stories, be sure to check this book out. I doubt you’ll be disappointed. I have then next in the series queued to read!