The Breaking Light (Skyscape Publishing, 256 pages, Available in Kindle, Paperback, Audible, and CD) by Heather Hansen
As a new author, Heather Hansen delivers with The Breaking Light.
The Breaking Light is a dystopian set in a planet, not our own after we have exhausted our natural resources. The predecessors of the main characters mined all the ores and minerals from Earth as well as several other locations and eventually found themselves terraforming a new planet.
We met Arden immediately before she accosts Dade and attempts to enlighten him on the dangers of entering the Levels of living not designated to the upper class to which he was born into. In The Breaking Light, people are either lucky and born of the Solizen, or higher income bracketed family that lives in the Sky Towers above the clouds, or they are born to the lower Levels or Undercity where people suffer, contract diseases, and die from lack of contact with the sun and Vitamin D, provided sparingly as VitD. VitD is a hot commodity that is provided by the very wealthy to the very few who can afford it or the rare clinic that has access to it. VitD is the lifeblood of almost any trade in the city as even most of the illegal drugs are comprised in part of VitD. People are willing to fight, steal, kill, and die for more VitD and Shine, a strong pain killing illegal aerosol drug made primarily from VitD.
Arden and Dade struggle against their familial obligations, statuses, and expectations to be together. It’s a modern-day dystopian Romeo and Juliet, complete with police chase scenes, murder, romance, betrayal, and intrigue. The relationship between Dade and Arden could have used more buildup, but much like Romeo and Juliet, everything moves fast in this novel. While the underlying Romeo and Juliet theme doesn’t leave much room to allow for surprises, Heather Hansen is still able to manage a few twists with foreshadowing and complex character development.
I’ve already purchased The Stolen Sky, the follow-up to The Breaking Light, available for pre-order.