Sunday, April 8, 2018

Broken Nights: Strange Worlds review

    BROKEN NIGHTS: STRANGE WORLDS is the sequel to Matthew Davenport's BROKEN NIGHTS. The previous book ended with a bang, causing the creation of an A.I. as well as the transformation of Jason Night into the Guardian. After six months, he's almost cleaned up crime in his city when things go completely pear-shaped.

    I love Matthew Davenport's neo-pulp style and have read his other works like the TESTAMENT OF ANDREW DORAN and THE TRIALS OF OBED MARSH. As a superhero author myself, I like the exaggerated realism he adopts for his Broken Nights books. They started off as something which could plausibly happen in the real world and have since moved on to be something which increasingly resembles a typical comic book universe.

    I like Jason and Amy Night's relationship with the conflict Jason has with acknowledging his newly uploaded sister as the same person he grew up with being a story I think could have been stretched out across the entire story. I also like Jason's relationship with new superheroine Coven and would be interested if they continue to make their relationship closer and whether that's possible given the nature of her powers.

    I also appreciate that Jason and Amy don't spend too much time disbelieving in magic once they get an eyeful of its literal existence. It requires a paradigm shift of their mostly-scientific minds but they don't hang onto dogma in the face of evidence.

   The Guardian is a great character because Jason Night is a straight-up hero but he's living in "our" world and slowly discovering it's a comic book world (and always has been). The dissonance between those two realities is something that makes a lot of the book's more interesting themes. What would you do if you found yourself in a world where magic is real or the government really was working on super-soldier projects? You'd maybe freak out a little, wouldn't you? Jason isn't quite the everyman he was in the previous volume, having stolen a small fortune to support his "hobby", but I still find him a great viewpoint character for the medium.

    Part of what I enjoyed about the book is when the Guardian finally fights a superhuman foe for the first time, he gets his ass kicked and finds out that, no, he's not going to be able to just "Rocky" his way up and beat the guy on a rematch. No, it turns out that some opponents really are just way out of a character's league and they have to fight it with other people or figure out a way to not fight it at all. It's a nice change of pace from the way comic books usually go.

    Samson is a bit of a one-note character but I was pleased to see another villain's return who manages to serve as an excellent Lex Luthor to Jason's working class Batman. I hope the plot with them will be resolved in the next volume, though, because I wouldn't want them to overstay their welcome.

    In conclusion, this is a great sequel to the original book and something I'll be picking up the third volume for when it gets back. This is an excellent book for people who love superhero novels and I hope the authors continue the series for many books to come.


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