Book review: Broken Bard, The Path of the Pacifist

Psychology, factions, secret societies, and maybe even conspiracy theories - these are just some of the things you can expect from this action-packed suspense, written by Filipino author Christian Khiel Pineda Unto. Broken Bard is the first installment of the Requiem series featuring the psychology student/journalist Sky Colburn.

What is it about

The death of a psychiatric ward patient leads Sky Colburn to investigate the whereabouts of the seemingly righteous governor Richter Raven. As Sky dug deeper and deeper into Raven's back story, he didn't only prove that the governor was the mastermind of the gruesome murder - Raven is also up to creating an army consisting of mind-controlled soldiers who are either kidnapped or forced to undergo a brutal, underground training program. Soon, Sky finds himself at war against Raven and his men, and his accidental union with a secret society that aims to turn Raven down not only became his saving grace, but it also led to his discovery of something unexpected about himself. 

Psychology and mind games, anyone? 

I seldom come across fiction that has something to do directly with psychology. I find it fascinating and at the same time challenging, to be engaged in the study of how the human mind works and how powerful it is. This novel just proved just how powerful the human mind could be. Although I would never understand why Sky chooses to play the violin in the middle of an encounter with guns and other deadly weapons, the possibility that war can commence through mind control leaves me in complete awe. Did Sky choose the right weapon to fight the war? Probably. It's bloodless, merciful, and somewhat humane, but to be able to further understand his desire to prevent bloodshed in a "war" I'd need to read the next installment of this series. Plus, for a moment it made me wonder what if these kinds of society wars really exist? What if there are really mind-controlled soldiers (who furiously post and comment on social media about who is the best leader in this country)? Needless to say, books on this subject stir my head a little and begin to ask, what if?

Too many questions

Some situations in the book make me want to read more of it if only to satisfy the plot-related questions in my head. Why was Sky so invested in Abigaile's case? It wasn't mentioned anywhere if Abigaile was maybe Sky's sister, former lover, or any other connection than being a patient in the psychiatric ward where he works. I believe there must be a much deeper reason for Sky in wanting to track down Abigaile's murderer. How did Sky manage to go against Raven, when he was just sixteen and two years later he almost singlehandedly kept his comrades in the society from dying as they were about to be defeated in the underground encounter with the Raven's Arcanum? Look, I really need answers to these questions (and maybe more) so I need that next book!

Should you read it? 

If you need a mind-bogging read, Broken Bard is for you. Although I must say that this isn’t an easy read, as it requires focus and attention to detail. If the next book is out, please! Count me in!