Today’s YA book review is of Breaking Order by Catherine Kopf. Catherine is a new teen writer who self-published her MG/YA book featuring an adventurous girl living in world where dreaming is banned. Catherine has a great personality and really enjoys connecting with her fans; if you want to get to know her a bit more, you can check out her website here. (Her website also features some character art, if you'd like to get a visual of what her characters look like).
Creativity is a Crime. Arts are Atrocities. Disobedience means Death.
Dreams, Creativity, and Magic are all gone under a single order. Banned from the things that make you different, people must conform to a dull and practical lifestyle.
The daughter of The Regime's Head Executioner is expected to follow in his footsteps, but fourteen-year-old Calista Knight is curious about creativity and dreams. It doesn't help that she is isolated and bullied at school because of her asthma.
When the new boy, Wes, encourages Calista to stop taking the medicine preventing dreams and introduces her to creativity, a new life opens up to her. Magic becomes very real, and with dreams and creativity intertwined, limits are endless.
But the Regime wants no one to dream.
Calista's a threat to the order, and she only has two options: Overcome her own personal fears of dreaming or end up just as compliant to The Regime as others around her.
I judge a book by its cover. I always have and always will. If the cover isn’t unique and doesn’t intrigue me, chances are that I won’t pick it up. Breaking Order’s cover looks so professional, it could be displayed in a Books-A-Million right now. The cover design is gorgeous. If this was in a store, it would certainly catch my eye.
Breaking Order centers around Calista, a young girl who is deciding whether she should defy the rules of her world and stop taking antiserum (a formula which forces the drinkers to stop dreaming) or conform to the laws of the tyrannical government. Overall, I was quite pleased with the plot of the story. It is unique, yet fits the mold of traditional dystopian novels. The writing style is clear and easy to read; while there are some awkward dialogue issues and grammatical errors, it is nothing that couldn’t be fixed with an easy edit before the next printing run.
I was pleased with the character development of Calista and her father, but I felt like I didn’t know much about Wes and Ambert (and especially about Enya). Why did Calista trust Wes so quickly? Because she trusted him that fast, it made it seem like Wes would turn out to betray her, even though he didn't. Enya is such a fierce, spunky girl, and I would have loved to have seen a flashback scene where we learn about Enya’s life before she “met” Ambert (no spoilers here, even though I really want to tell you all…this part in the story was a great plot twist).
The world building of Breaking Order is phenomenal, and I can tell that the author put a lot of time into thinking up how she wanted the story to play out. I am a huge fan of action/fight scenes, and there are certainly plenty of those. While the action scenes are engaging and realistic, to me, I wanted more. I wanted to know more of the little details in the fights. Sometimes I was confused about moments in the action/fight scenes where characters seemed to jump from one place to another. There were sections of small “gaps” in the action, and I found myself filling in what happened in my own words. Again, this is nothing major, but could be fixed in the next printing run to make the story flow better.
A pet peeve of mine is predictability. I am happy to say that Breaking Order was, for the most part, unpredictable. I like not being able to guess what will happen in the story, and plot twists are a must. (Yes, there are some great plot twists!) One of the only parts that was predictable was the ending…without spoiling the story, I knew Calista would be what she was before the end of the book because of comments from some of the other characters. While ending the book on that particular line didn’t work for me, I think that it is a good cliff-hanger and intro into the second book.
This book is billed as middle-grade (MG) fiction. If you had told me it was a young-adult (YA) book, I would have believed you. Calista’s age being the exception, the writing style, cover, and content was that of a YA book. I honestly think that some of the action scenes would be a bit disturbing for tweens. To me, this book is in between the MG and YA genres, leaning more toward being YA. If this is the author’s plan, it certainly is a good one. Hook the tween readers with the first book, then as the target audience grows up, they have a series that grows with them. It reminds me of the way the Harry Potter series grew with Harry. This is a really genius idea.
One of my favorite elements to the story is the different classes of Dreamers. I loved reading about the elements they worked with, particularly the music and art aspects. The government is trying to collect all the Dreamers for Project Dark Phoenix, to use them for…well…we don’t know yet. This is a great play by the author to make readers want to read the second book. I also really want to know the identities of the Lieutenant and the Illusionist, what happened to Mom and Gran, and to find out more about Calista and Wes’s journey to save the mysterious Aurelia. The story really had me hooked, and I am quite looking forward to the second book in the trilogy!
Catherine Kopf’s future is writing. I predict, that within two years, Breaking Order will be atop the national bestseller list. She has written a story that tweens and teens of today’s world can relate to, and I am excited to watch her journey to becoming a great author.
You can follow Catherine on Twitter here and purchase her book on Amazon here.
Thank you for reading, and as always, remember never to leave the house without your wand!