If you’ve been reading what I usually post here, you might remember something I wrote quite recently about this book. If you don’t, then you can check it here. 😛
The author, Tânia Dias, very kindly gave me an ebook copy of her book, Broken – Despedaçada (for those who don’t speak portuguese, “Despedaçada” means broken, by the way), and I spent four days in the world she created. Now it’s time to share my thoughts with you all – and bring you some extra content!
Title: “Broken – Despedaçada”
Author: Tânia Dias
Publisher: Chiado Editora
Number of Pages: the ebook had 336 pages
(translated by the author, originally found on Goodreads)
Assuming her leadership role was not in Alexia White’s plans, but when her mother dies in a terrible attack to the castle, she sees herself with no other option. In a world where the weak are distinguished from the strong by the power they possess, Alexia is at the top of the list.
She now needs to learn how to control her gifts if she intends to take back her kingdom from the traitor’s hands.
Meanwhile, Ian Bealfire, a men who radiates arrogance and prepotency from every pore in his body, seems willing to become her Master.
Some say she is destined to save the world, but broken by the losses she endured and haunted by memories of her past, will she really be able to do so, when saving only herself seems like an impossible task?
Can you escape destiny?
My Opinion (spoiler-free):
I have very mixed feelings about Broken!
Where should I start? Well, maybe with what I found most hard to get used to: the writing. Tânia is very young, I believe she’s currently seventeen or eighteen years old, and this is her debut novel. For that reason, I didn’t expect anything extraordinary, but her writing disappointed me a bit. It also reminded me of stories that I used to read on Wattpad when I was younger – I loved them because they made me feel the character’s emotions, but the writing wasn’t anything near professional. Same thing with this book. Tânia told her story through the main character’s eyes, and that way, I was able to feel what Alexia was feeling. That was amazing, though! The only problem was that sometimes I couldn’t understand Alexia, and I didn’t want to read about her (but I’ll talk about it later). You know when the narration of a book is literally the character’s thoughts? I couldn’t stand Alexia because of it, but agaaaain, I’m changing the subject, let’s get back to the writing! Okay, last thing I have to say is that this book has way too many grammatical mistakes. It completely drove me mad because I’m that type of person that gets annoyed with simple but important things: when people confuse “à” and “há” (same as people confusing “your” and “you’re”, for you non-portuguese people), commas out of place and mispelled words. It happened very often, and it kind of ruined my reading (but I blame that on the publisher, weren’t they supposed to correct the text?!).
But, mooooving ooon … the characters.
Alexia. She’s our main character and we have to deal with her until the end of the book. She’s the one broken, as she lost both her parents, also thinks she lost her fiancé and now everyone needs her to be their queen (not that they particularly want, as they’ve always seen her as a spoiled princess with a careless way of handling her duties). No surprise at all that she’s still childish and bitter. I can’t say that she grew up troughtout the book; we’re told that, but I didn’t feel it. She had some moments when she actually embraced her responsabilities, and acted like a queen, but they didn’t last long. I understand why the author needed her to be broken, but I wanted some character development for her, as we didn’t have anything more from the other characters, Sophia and Aaron, for example. Sophia is Alexia’s best friend and a member of the guard, and we’re told that they’re super close, but I didn’t see any deep conversation between them happen. And Alexia is so worried about her fiancé, Aaron, but then, I don’t feel her love for him, only his for her. It’d be great to see the things through the character’s actions, instead of the author telling me. Ian was a better character, but full of cliche lines.
Last, but definetely not least, as I wanted to leave the best for now, the worldbuilding. Tânia has so much imagination! She needs to put it all out here, as I want to know more. There’s new gods, there’s new worlds, there’s new creatures, some people even have powers and they can control the elements … The author even cared about creating a History, and we visited two different worlds! It was all fantastic, but not enough. The book was so focused on the romance, that the other characters were forgotten and we didn’t have time to explore more.
My favorite world was definitely Katuak. I mean, people with cat ears? Royal family chosen by destiny? A bitter queen and a shy little princess? Who wouldn’t love it? I wonder what happened to Stephanie, and I truly believe she can be a better queen and change the way Katuak works. I need an entire book about Stephanie and Katuak, now! 😂
Well, overall I didn’t love this book, but I enjoyed it and I believe that the next one will show improvement. Broken ended up in a very critical place and I need to know what happens next 😀 Congrats Tânia!
About the author
Thanks for wasting time by reading boring facts about me!
Right now I’m studying science, I would very much like to be a great scientist one day, and find the cure to every disease in the world.
I’m a normal 17-year-old teenager. I have an enormous passion for books and I’ve lived more adventures than I could count. I’ve fallen for a vampire, shadowhunted and fought in an arena with 23 other tributes, lived in a society divided in factions, got lost in a maze and had to be saved by an angel.
My love for writing started when the worlds inside my head wanted to come out, a few years ago.
One of my biggest dreams came true when by luck Broken – my first book – got published.
I got so excited when Tânia answered me, because I really wanted to question her about her life, experience and book! I really hope you enjoy this interview! And without further ado, let’s get to the questions …
1 . Probably the question that everyone asks you the most: when did it all happen?
T: I started writing right after I finished my first book saga (I wasn’t a big reader before that) and the end left me really upset. I couldn’t believe it ended like that! There was so much more to discover! So I started writing what I thought that could happen after that end. Never stopped ever since! I’m very shy and for years I wrote anonymously; I actually had a blog, but I didn’t want anyone I knew to know that because I was ashamed. Luckily, I’m surrounder by amazing people, that made me confortable about sharing my passion and with baby steps I started to understand that I wasn’t terribly bad at this.
I don’t know if I want to do this profissionally! That sounds … like something very “grown up”! Ahaha. Seriously, writing is something I do because I like it and because I believe in the worlds that show up in my mind and magically end up in paper. I don’t do it because I want to become rich or famous. I just want to give people what other books gave me. As long as writing allows me that, as long as it allows me to “pause my brain”, but above all, as long as it makes me happy, I’ll keep doing it.
2. Besides writing, what do you like to do?
T: I love reading! It’s my other passion, and when I’m not writing, there’s usually only two things I may be doing: reading or watching tv shows. I also love sports, but I can’t say it’s a hobby! And then, the usual, being with my friends and family or playing with my dog.
3. Do you have a favorite author? Or dream collab?
T: Right now, I think the author I most admire is Cassandra Clare, the author of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, I’m in love with her writing, with the complexity of her characters and with the worlds she creates. It’d probably be my dream collab! A fantasy book written by the two of us would provide hours of tears!
4. How was it like to publish Broken?
T: I finished writing the book in August 2014, and by the end of that month, beginning of the next, I began contacting some publishers. I don’t know how many exactly, but I got a lot of “no” and when I got “yes” from Chiado I wasn’t expecting it. If I’m not mistaken, they usually write back within 10 days, and we were already on the 11th/12th day, and no answers yet. I remember saying to a friend they wouldn’t even answer me back; in the next day, I got the email saying “yes” and I started cried!
After all that euphoria, I needed to start thinking about it seriously, discuss the topic with my family and decide.
Getting Broken for the first time was .. I don’t even have words to describe it. The idea of getting my book published was still abstract, and when I got the physical copy, when I flipped through those pages of that beatiful book and saw my words there I think I realised it was real. The book was real, I had become a real author (Attention: anyone who writes a book is a real author; personally, when my friends used to tell me I was an author, my only answer was that I’d only be one as soon as my book got published), and only someone who goes through this experience can truly understand it.
5. Do you have any advice to anyone who wishes to publish their stories, both in and out of Portugal?
T: Don’t give up.
It’s very hard to publish books in Portugal if we’re portuguese authors, my experience (that’s still not much) showed me that there’s still a lot of prejudice against what is national. And even after you publish the book, don’t fool yourself thinking it ends there; the hardest part isn’t writing the book, it’s what comes after it gets published. Make a conscious decision, because you have to be willing to make certain sacrifices or maybe it’s not worth it.
If you’ve already thought about it, and are willing to do anything that’s required, then GO FOR IT! Don’t stop, send emails, send letters, get in touch with stores, speak with authors (you’re going to find out they’re very nice and welcoming), speak with bloggers, youtubers. And never give up!
6. Did your parents know you were writing a book? What was their reaction?
T: No. Not because they didn’t support me, but because at first I tought this was just going to be another unfinished project, and I didn’t to “brag” about something that could not be real. However, I’m very sure that I said something like “I wrote a book” when I finished Broken, but nothing very serious. At that time, I wasn’t even thinking about publishing my book.
Now, when I got my “yes”, it was a funny situation! After dinner I asked everyone to go to the living room, I projected the email I’d got on the tv and I started my speech: “Well, family, I wrote a book and now this publisher wants to publish it. What do you think?”
For a few moments I think everyone was just very confused, but they’re the best and it didn’t took more than 2 seconds for them to tell me I should go on if that’s what I wanted.
And until now, they’ve agreed wih every event/presentation I have, whenever it is, they always support me.
7. What does it feel like to have someone saying they’ve read your book? What are the most common reactions when people meet you? Has anyone ever said anything bad to you directly?
T: I usually just stare at the person with a silly smile on my face, although in my head I act like a real author. Ahaha. Then I always make sure to talk with them, and when they tell me they loved my book, my heart jumps with joy! I’ve already won the day; everytime anyone says that to me, I know that is going to be the best day ever.
I think that most people are just too shocked that I’m 18 years old to think about anything else. But they’re all very nice and don’t treat me differently because of my age. My readers are the best 😉
8. If you could go back in time, to anytime between the first time you wrote Broken and the publishing of the book, would you like to change something?
T: I’d have liked not to spoil so many people!
I can explain, I’m that type of person that when has a new idea (a very revolucionary never seen idea) gets so excited that has this need of speaking with someone. Otherwise, I explode. And although I had my “spoilers girl” (a friend that I could count on to speak about my plot lines and ideas), sometimes she wasn’t available when I needed her, and so I had to speak with someone else. Fortunately, that happened only a few times and no one got to know much about it!
9. Have you ever felt unappreciated for being so young?
T: Unappreciated, no. But underestimate, yes. I think it’s already automatic when people see I’m 18 (17 when my book was published) and think “She’s so young, her book can’t be that good. What kind of experience can she have?” I’m proud to say that I’ve proven those people wrong! And I hope I can keep doing it.
10. What’s your opinion about portuguese authors and what publishers do towards them?
T: Unfortunately, I haven’t read a lot of portuguese authors. The portuguese books are – when they are even there – always so hidden in the bookstores that I’ve only come to met a few. It’s not because I don’t want to, even because I don’t often check the author’s name before I buy a book. I had, however, the pleasure of meeting a lot of portuguese authors after publishing Broken and I’m honest when I say they’re all amazing people!
The publishers … in my little experience, I see that are few the publishers that give opportunities to portuguese authors.When I was sending my book to them, one of the answers I got was “we don’t have a budget for portuguese authors”.
11. Let’s focus now on your book. Where did Alexia come from?
T: Hum … It’s hard for me to say when Alexia came around because she just showed up, and deeply connected with the idea of Broken. I was in History class, a few years ago, and I wanted to write and that’s when I built up the prologue. Physically, she never changed much, she’s the combination of what I most like, I love green eyes, I’m crazy about curls … Her personality didn’t change much too since the first time she showed up, it was written in the stars that she should be like this and it looked fine to me. Her name, well, that’s another story. One thing you must know about me is that I’m horrible at picking names, also at remembering them, so Alexia had like five or six different names, but at the end, it had to be Alexia. When I thought about her as Alexia, the pieces of the puzzle got together, and even the meaning of the name was the right one! Oh, I almost forgot, it’s obvious that Alexia isn’t the “normal” literary heroine from fantasy books, she’s someone broken, she’s going through a depression, and although it made sense with the story, I decided to do it like this because it made Alexia closer to real life heroes.
We live in a world where more and more people struggle with mental issues, where more and more people suffer with depression, and for me – not from personal experience – those people who can overcome their problems are our heroes. And they don’t often get credit for the strenght they had to have for getting through that kind of disease.
With Alexia, I try to show people that the path is hard but with the help of our family and friends, we can find the light at the end of the tunnel.
12. Speaking of Alexia, let’s talk about Ian too. Their romance is without a shadow of doubt a central point in the book, so I’d like to know if they’re just like what you wanted them to be. How did Ian show up? And did you always felt their relationship went as natural as you wanted?
T: No. They’re so much more than what little Tânia could have imagined in the first time she tought about Broken.
Well, Ian … Physically, it’s again all about my personal preferences. Psycologically, I don’t think I can explain, to be honest! He showed up for his role on the story and as I found more about his past, everything he went through until the moment when we meet him, his personality kind of built itself alone. Unlike Alexia, Ian was always named Ian.
Yes, I think their relationship grew up very naturally, at least it went how I planned, not just around them, but also around how good they are for each other.
13. As I mentioned in my review, Sophia and Aaron were kind of left behind. Is there any chance we get to see more of them in the next books?
T: Of course! Broken is the introduction to this world, to Alexia’s journey and being the first one, I needed to introduce the essential characters for the entire story; however, not all of them were the most importants for the plot of this book. That’s why Aaron and Sophie were a bit left behind.
14. And as we’re talking about the next books, how many exactly are they going to be? Do you already know where are you taking the story?
T: The plan is to do three. Broken and two more. But anything can happen and maybe I could add one or two more, perhaps about the other characters!
I know what’s going to happen, I have everything planned; but I have an open mind towards changes, when we write, we don’t decide everything, it’s the character’s life and we can’t choose for them. That’s why I’m always on a middle term, I know where I’m taking this story, what’s going to happen and everything that happened in the past that may affect the present, but I accept any changes my characters might want to do.
15. My favorite part about Broken is the worldbuilding. Congrats Tânia, you did an amazing job, and I can’t wait to know more! Is it going to be possible to visist more places in the future and learn more about the history of the world you created?
T: Thank you! It makes me very happy to know you liked it!
Yes! We are going to see some of the worlds mentioned in Broken; I can’t promise we’re going to see all of them, but definetely some!
16. And how did you come up with all this world? I got very curious with the whole “new solar system” concept where every planet is dedicated to a God, the Gods’ names itselfs (because some are names of greek and roman Gods), with the new creatures, the people with cat ears in Katuak, the ancient language … In fact, I even searched on google translator “Egitako atea irekita dago” and I found out that it’s Basque for “the door is open”! How much research and dedication are behind all these details?
T: Wow! You noticed the solar system! And the language! 😀
As a girl fascinated by the universe, I decided to include it in my story, picking the planet’s color and associating it to elements, except Elektika, that it’s dedicated to technology and consequently it’s dedicated to a God.
The Gods’ names … they aren’t necessarily connected with greek/roman mythology, it’s just again my lack of talent in picking names. There are Gods, like Neptune (the element water), that for me need to have that name, because of preferencial reasons, not because is associated with any God from greek/roman mythology.
I wanted these worlds to carry some symbology, and so all the names derive from words that in other languages represent some aspect of that planet. And it took some reasearch, especially for the names and language, it took me a few – a lot of – hours, trying to make it all sound pleasing.
Another aspects, like the way society works in Katuak, just appeared, but I added that part of men’s and women’s roles in their society in order to schock people, but it was based on what happened in our planet (and also in another kingdoms in Broken).
17. How long it took you to write Broken?
T: 3 or 4 months.
18. Now as an author, you get both positive and negative reviews about yout book. How do they influence you on you daily basis and while you work on your new projects? Do they influence you in order to improve some aspects?
T: Of course. Positive reviews motivate me to work always more in order to deliver the best quality possible to my readers. Negative ones make me think about certain aspects that I may not have thought before, and by that, some new ideas can emerge, some better than the ones before. Like I mentioned before, I try to keep an open mind, when it comes to changes, specially if I consider them better for my story or the characters.
19. As soon as you finish all the books in Broken, do you plan to keep writing and publishing? What are your ambitions?
T: To be honest, I think that I’ll always write. I’m not sure about publishing though, I guess it depends about how my life goes from here! I already have some projects in mind and if everything goes as I plan, Broken won’t be the end of my journey as an author.
My ambitions … keep bringing good stories to people, stories with life lessons that can keep my readers entertained.
20. Would you like to leave a message to everyone who’s reading this?
T: Thank you for reading everything until here!
If you like fantasy, adventure, mistery and romance, this is the right book for you! If Broken isn’t available in your language, contact publishers from your country and ask them to publish my book! Ahaah! Just kidding! Although I hope you can read it someday!
And if your dream is to be a writer/author, don’t give up! I’m 18 years old and I’ve done it, I’m not studying anything related to literature (I’m studying science) and I have no profissional qualification and I’ve done it. You only need passion, dedication and a lot of patience and you can do everything! You can also apply this for everyhting in your life!
Be strong, because you can do it!
Thank you once again! And thank you, Marta, for your honest review and interesting questions, I hope you’ll stick with the story!
There are amazing people out there who share their love for Tânia’s book with everyone else! I’ll leave you with the trailer for Broken and some fanart! 😀
You can also buy this book here (both physical copies and ebook). Unfortunately, it’s only available in portuguese.
Now it’s time for you to share your toughts! 🙂
What did you think of this post? Did you like to get to know Tânia?