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Slating is used to completely wipe former criminals‘ minds, so they get a second chance to live an honourable life. That, at least, is the theory and Kyla had to learn that it is not necessarily the truth. She has memories, which are so fragmentary she still doesn’t know who she used to be. Now, people who might help her getting back the memories enter her life – if she is careful enough. Her own “father” has his eye on her and anything that results in a report to the Lorders might make her one of those people who suddenly disappear and never come back. Kyla can’t take too much care, though. She does not only have to find herself, but also friends and her very own role in this game. The Lorders need to be stopped, but at all costs?
I want to like Teri Terry’s books, really – and partly that’s what I do. When I bought “Slated” I was studying in Ireland; it was my “Yay, I got through my first exam!” book, so despite its faults it has some sort of emotional value for me. It’s an Ireland book after all. Therefore, I was looking forward to reading the second book in this series, to see whether it could keep up with my expectations or not. Again I have to say: partly yes, but only partly. I don’ even know how to rate this one!
A big problem in the first book was for me the pacing; it worked perfectly to begin with, but then Kyla got more and more independent without the pacing to increase, which became a little bit frustrating. My hope for the second book was some change in that matter. I wanted development chasing development, so it would be interesting and thrilling instead of only the former. This is what happens on the last hundred pages, even though the author takes her time again before that. Kyla might know some more about her; she still has no idea who she really is. How could she without any real memory? She ventures into new and dangerous territory, though, to gain some knowledge. By doing that she gets involved in things that conflict with each other. The tension is rising and it’s on those last hundred pages the tension finally breaks. In retrospect, I don’t mind the book’s slowness that much. However, you need some patience for reading it.
There were other wishes I had for this book. I wanted some answers and those I got. When it comes to the informational content in “Fractured”, there is nothing else you could ask for. From the beginning on Kyla’s dreams throw up new questions. As the story goes on they change, answer some of the questions and raise new ones. With every chapter Kyla’s past is reformed and that is definitely something I liked. Besides, we get an explanation for Ben’s rather sudden change of heart at the end of the first book – I take back my criticism from then!
That leaves Kyla herself whom I found hard to understand in “Slated”. It wasn’t so much of a problem later, but now it’s back again, together with her memories. I don’t see that as something negative, seeing that Kyla is combining several personalities: who she used to be and who she is today. Both are hardly the same, those personalities are actually conflicting, which again is understandable. I couldn’t understand all of her decision, but how could I? I barely know anything about the girl she once was, and Kyla is in more or less the same position. We do not have this insight (yet) and it would be strange if we could go along with everything that happens. The only thing I found slightly annoying was Kyla’s constant change of mind. First she says she would do anything to reach a certain aim, and then she has doubts about it, only to promise to do anything again, to have doubts and so on and so forth. It has to do with the story, her past and her current “fractured” state of mind, but it still got on my nerves.
It is a pity, too, that many promising characters where left behind, especially Kyla’s “mother”. She is still promising in “Fractured”, but just as the other characters, who partly only appear now, she gets barely any space in the book.
“Fractured” did some things better than “Slated” and nothing worse. Add to that the terrorism aspect I found very interesting. We all know Lorders do as they please, but it would be too easy to assume that anyone working against them is doing the right thing. Teri Terry addresses this good-vs.-bad principle and how far we should accept it. We get to know that even Lorders might be victims, at least some of them. They are not all bad; there might be information we should gather first before we judge them individually and not everybody all the same. It gets rather clear that not everybody is necessarily doing an evil thing just by working for them, though it is definitely naïve. And you’re definitely not wrong if you do not use violence against them. In the first book, we already met an activist and it seems as if more people are more comfortable with that approach than any other else. Hopefully, that will be explored further in the next instalment.
Back to the terrorists, though, because that’s what they are. The end does not justify the means and we all know that. However, Free UK completely ignores this proverb, though not every member knows how cold-blooded some of the other members are. It was thrilling to go along with them and see where some of them stand and whether some eyes might be opened or whether it is too late for that. I admit I sometimes wanted to throw the book against the wall because people had the power to decide important matters even though they really shouldn’t have – that’s the point, though, I think. It is easier for us than for Kyla to see things for what they are, and why that is so gets explained as well. In the end, the book is some sort of (indirect) essay about violence only causing counterviolence, which never ends well. That you don’t have much to laugh and enjoy while the book explores that thought is nothing you can hold against it.
I’m still unsure how to rate this book. Does it rather earn three and a half stars instead of four? But it was better than the first book – and that again was better than three stars. That’s why the result looks the way it does. “Fractured” is mainly a calm book, which changes only at the end. Those last parts utterly convinced me and before that all those dreams and half returned memories left me wondering, even though I could not really relate to Kyla – it’s hard if she doesn’t even know herself. I also liked the political aspect of the story, at least objectively – subjectively, I wanted to punch some characters’ faces. All in all, Teri Terry’s new book is a good one, though none you will have fun with in the common sense.