Engines of the Broken World
By Jason Vanhee
Received from the publisher via Edelweiss, for free, for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Published by Henry Holt and Co.
Cover image and summary from Goodreads:
Merciful Truth and her brother, Gospel, have just pulled their dead mother into the kitchen and stowed her under the table. It was a long illness, and they wanted to bury her—they did—but it’s far too cold outside, and they know they won’t be able to dig into the frozen ground. The Minister who lives with them, who preaches through his animal form, doesn’t make them feel any better about what they’ve done. Merciful calms her guilty feelings but only until, from the other room, she hears a voice she thought she’d never hear again. It’s her mother’s voice, and it’s singing a lullaby. . . .
Engines of the Broken World is a chilling young adult novel from Jason Vanhee.
This was such an interesting book! I read it in one day because once I started and got drawn into Mercy’s story, I couldn’t put it down.
I am very pleased to report that the first few chapters were actually really creepy and I was genuinely unsettled! There were also a lot of WTF moments. I felt like I’d finally found the spooky book I’d been craving for a Halloween read.
Also that cover is kind of freaky! The e-ARC I read didn’t have this cover but I think it’s super effective and great for this story!
Now, I have to admit that I had no clue was what was going on at times, but I think that was purposeful. I think the more I read, the more I understood things about Mercy’s world, and certain things became clear. I really enjoyed reading this story with no clue what was going to happen and how it was going to end.
I really loved reading about the relationship between Mercy and her brother Gospel. I am always interested in reading about sibling relationships, and while Gospel and Mercy didn’t seem to care much for each other at the beginning, their love for each other came out over the course of the story, such as in the actions they took to protect each other.
There was a major religious aspect to this story. I feel like I probably missed a lot of symbolism and that that a bunch of stuff probably went over my head because I’m super unfamiliar with the religious elements here, so I would love for someone who knows about that to explain what they thought it meant, but I still really enjoyed reading this and totally couldn’t step away from this book for more than a few minutes at a time. By the end, I felt totally unsure about what would happen, and was very tense and anxious. I was thoroughly wrapped up in Mercy’s story and what she was going to do, and hoping she would be okay.
I knew nothing about this book going in, other than the summary, and I’m so glad I didn’t know more because I think this is a book that really benefits from surprising the reader. I definitely recommend this for fans of YA supernatural/paranormal/horror – but don’t expect any easy explanations!