Mazes of Power (The Broken Trust, #1)
This debut work of sociological science fiction follows a deadly battle for succession, where brother is pitted against brother in a singular chance to win power and influence for their family.The cavern city of Pelismara has stood for a thousand years. The Great Families of the nobility cling to the myths of their golden age while the city's technology wanes.When a fever strikes, and the Eminence dies, seventeen-year-old Tagaret is pushed to represent his Family in the competition for Heir to the Throne. To win would give him the power to rescue his mother from his abusive father, and marry the girl he loves.But the struggle for power distorts everything in this highly stratified society, and the fever is still loose among the inbred, susceptible nobles. Tagaret's sociopathic younger brother, Nekantor, is obsessed with their family's success. Nekantor is willing to exploit Tagaret, his mother, and her new servant Aloran to defeat their opponents.Can he be stopped? Should he be stopped? And will they recognize themselves after the struggle has changed them?

Mazes of Power (The Broken Trust, #1) Details

TitleMazes of Power (The Broken Trust, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 4th, 2020
PublisherDAW
ISBN-139780756415747
Rating
GenreFantasy, Science Fiction, Fiction, Adult

Mazes of Power (The Broken Trust, #1) Review

  • Fábio Fernandes
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the best books you'll read in 2020. Why? This is my review:One of the virtues of worldbuilding is to make your reader discover the universe you created in bits and pieces. Too much exposition at once seldom works (except for Kim Stanley Robinson, but let’s not go there). Mazes of Power, by Juliette Wade, is a very good example of well-crafted worldbuilding – starting with the epigraph. It’s very revealing, and gave me goosebumps: Varin is a place where humans have always lived on This is one of the best books you'll read in 2020. Why? This is my review:One of the virtues of worldbuilding is to make your reader discover the universe you created in bits and pieces. Too much exposition at once seldom works (except for Kim Stanley Robinson, but let’s not go there). Mazes of Power, by Juliette Wade, is a very good example of well-crafted worldbuilding – starting with the epigraph. It’s very revealing, and gave me goosebumps: Varin is a place where humans have always lived on an alien world. It is also your home.This is a powerful statement, because it throws us headlong into a world in which not only the characters have always lived, but the readers too. This is an incredibly astute strategy to make us care more about the world. I caught myself along the reading musing where this planet would be. In what star system would it be located? Or – maybe it would be right here, and instead of Earth we would have Varin all the time.This thought reminded me for a moment of Harry Turtledove’s A World of Difference, a cosmological alternate history, where Mars simply do not exist and we have a planet called Minerva in its place. But, even if this novel is interesting and action-packed, it didn’t do much to my sense of wonder. But (pardon the pun) there is a world of difference between that novel and Mazes of Power.The story is the first volume in The Broken Trust series, and upon reaching the end of the book we can quite understand what is this trust and what happened for it to be broken. Even if I was going to give you spoilers (which I won’t), the process is much more important than the outcome, at least in this first novel.Mazes of Power tells us the story of brothers Tagaret and Nekantor, teenage sons of the powerful Speaker of the Cabinet Garr, a scheming member of the First Family of Varin and a man who has the ears of the Heir to the throne. The boys, who doesn’t have anything in common with each other, must try to learn to trust each other and the people around them to survive and, eventually be selected to the throne themselves. At the same time, Aloran, a young men but who is soon to be indentured to Tagaret’s mother, Lady Tamelera – a relationship strained since the beginning, but that at some point might probably become more than that.I read very carefully several passages because at the first moment I thought there was two different species on Varin. But this is not true: there are only humans there (as far as we know) inhabiting the underground in a huge cavern system. But there is a sort of caste system too, of which the two main ones are the Grobal (the ruling caste) and the Imbati (functionaries and servants) and that was the reason I thought of aliens – because the ruling caste tend to see their servants as if they were somehow less than human. So, for people like Tagaret to ascend socially, they must be slaves to a whole host of rules and rituals.Virtually everyone in Varin is a slave to this system, which is obviously flawed. For instance, even if homosexuality is not exactly forbidden, it’s frowned upon and dismissed as mere play. And, if you have any claim to a modicum amount of power, for instance, you should not play – something that only adds stress to the tortured character of Nekantor. Maybe the harshest part for me is the description of a character with a neuroatypical condition. Being a father of an atypical girl, I admit I was very moved with Juliette’s description of Nekantor’s behaviour, which seems to be Asperger’s. I confess I felt a bit shaken by the fact that he (at least in this first volume) is a kind of villain in the narrative, and that reminded me on another SF classic. In Dune, Frank Herbert makes of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (who is very fat, probably atypical and definitely gay) the villain, in opposition to all the other characters, which are all straight, thin and (on the surface at least) typical. Fortunately, Juliette is much more deft than Herbert, because she balances this with many other characters who are far from being straight. In fact, most of the men in Mazes of Power show at least a pronounced sensibility that is very refreshing and most welcome in our particular SFF universe.What Juliette Wade has done here is another powerful statement, a political one. You know that everything is political (and if you don’t know that, you really should), and even the funniest space opera of yore that some of you enjoyed reading as children and teens (as I did) also issued statements, usually by absence – absence of people of color, of QUILTBAG characters, of female characters with any agency. When a new author enters the scene showing us a whole world with people of color (very few people in Varin are white according to the Caucasian color scheme, if any), she does justice to lots of awesome writers, like Ursula K. LeGuin and N.K.Jemisin, who gave us more representation, and therefore more real life to the fantasy of fiction. And I thank Juliette Wade very much for that.Thanks also to Alexis C. Nixon, Juliette’s publicist, for making the eARC available to me via NetGalley.
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  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. I was blessed to be sent an advance copy from the publisher, and more than happy to send back a blurb:"Mazes of Power is a gasp-inducing political Hunger Games packed with intrigue, assassins, and stunning social dynamics. I didn't want it to end!" Seriously, preorder this so you can get your hands on it on February 4, 2020. But don't start reading too close to bedtime, or you'll be in trouble...
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  • Virginia
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my goodness! I don't even know where to start with this book. It was so good!! I never wanted to put it down and was so sad when I finished because I now have to wait for the second one. Ugh! This is a story of two brothers --one born with power, the other who craves it. Under the strict thumb of their father, they are guided into the highest political game in the world where their reputation is more important than their lives. Throughout the tale, we also follow a newly appointed bodyguard Oh my goodness! I don't even know where to start with this book. It was so good!! I never wanted to put it down and was so sad when I finished because I now have to wait for the second one. Ugh! This is a story of two brothers --one born with power, the other who craves it. Under the strict thumb of their father, they are guided into the highest political game in the world where their reputation is more important than their lives. Throughout the tale, we also follow a newly appointed bodyguard to the family who helps us, as readers, understand how and why the characters in this story act the way they do. This story was insane in the best way possible. The plot is fast-paced, the characters are clever, and the setting is surreal enough to live in the realms of sci-fi yet real enough that you could easily see how this world is run. I found myself holding my breath at several times when my favorite characters were in danger and also cackling a little bit when a character ups another one. It was truly un-put-downable. Unique and brilliant, I recommend this to anyone who likes political and family dramas (which tend to be one in the same). **Read thanks to an ARC from DAW**
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  • Tim
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful novel: sexy and exciting and full of drama. The characters are deep and follow their own stories in a fascinating plot. I am the author's husband and have been living through the development of this story for years. It was a strange to read this book and see how the characters and plot finished up after so many revisions. I am so proud.
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  • Angela Quarles
    January 1, 1970
    Thoroughly enjoyed this debut sociological science fiction! This is not your run-of-the-mill SF--Wade weaves a powerful tale of the struggle for power between two brothers, underpinned by a solid understanding of sociology and anthropology that lends authenticity to the rich world-building and the actions and emotions of the characters. Fast-paced, but enjoyably rich in detail, I couldn't put it down!
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  • Kimberly Unger
    January 1, 1970
    Mazes of Power is deliciously complex and is a perfect fit if you want more societal world-building in your science-fiction.
  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    I found this to be an interesting read, with a few issues that cropped up as I went along. I imagine that most of these considerations have already occurred to the author, as it's otherwise such a thoughtful book with fairly comprehensive worldbuilding. I'd round up to 3.5 stars, except for a few things.(view spoiler)[1. Was it the best choice to make your primary antagonist the only character who's not neurotypical? It seems bizarrely tone-deaf coming from a sociologist. I actually liked I found this to be an interesting read, with a few issues that cropped up as I went along. I imagine that most of these considerations have already occurred to the author, as it's otherwise such a thoughtful book with fairly comprehensive worldbuilding. I'd round up to 3.5 stars, except for a few things.(view spoiler)[1. Was it the best choice to make your primary antagonist the only character who's not neurotypical? It seems bizarrely tone-deaf coming from a sociologist. I actually liked reading Nekantor's POV because his OCD made things interesting (when his brother was a bit of a dullard tbh) but to also make him a sociopath was ???? Like, the book itself seemed to equate the OCD with wrongness, which is obviously not the intended messaging.2. Wow, the main character was boring. Placid desires and wants, only sympathetic in the face of his sociopathic brother. All he wants is this girl!!!! Who he's seen like twice and never speaks to!!!!! And she inexplicably loves him too???? It's not an interesting drive!3. I was pretty confused about the role of same-sex relationships in this world. Early on it's established that both the protagonist and the antagonist have sexual, if not romantic, relationships with same-sex partners. So I thought, okay, cool, this is an accepted norm in this world. Surprisingly, it's actually taboo??? Who knew??? It was a weird choice to me to make it SO pervasive and not socially accepted. Anyway, seemed like a weird setup.4. If your plan is to dismantle a patriarchal/flawed system, maybe have one of your POV characters be a lady. Just saying that there was room in there for a female perspective. It wasn't like there weren't any powerful or interesting female characters, but I was disappointed to find all three POVs to be male-centered. (I guess I also don't necessarily understand the point of having a blank canvas to work with in sci-fi and then purposefully creating SUCH a patriarchal society, but like, I also get wanting to utilize storytelling to fight against these systems that exist in our real world.)5. OMG, I totally forgot -- I think everyone was white??? At least in the upper caste society. Everyone was either blond or ginger and pale. I know they live underground, but like??? And the farmer caste that works up on the surface is described as sun-browned, but that doesn't give any indication to what their skin tone is when not tanned. How, in this day and age, would this be an appropriate thing? (Okay, I don't remember if/when Aloran's skin tone is mentioned, but usually when skin tone ISN'T mentioned, the default assumption is...white.) (hide spoiler)]I did overall enjoy my read and will likely read the next one. It's not to nitpick, but these things really were niggling at me throughout.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. To start with some of the technical/writing concerns: It wasn't my favorite writing style. I'm not sure if it felt a little older (90s maybe), but there were often shorter sentences, and so many exclamation points (the exclamation points really got to me). It made the characters seem melodramatic.I also found myself wondering if this was initially intended to be YA, based both on the characters' ages, and that things seemed like they should get darker, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. To start with some of the technical/writing concerns: It wasn't my favorite writing style. I'm not sure if it felt a little older (90s maybe), but there were often shorter sentences, and so many exclamation points (the exclamation points really got to me). It made the characters seem melodramatic.I also found myself wondering if this was initially intended to be YA, based both on the characters' ages, and that things seemed like they should get darker, but then never did. I'd definitely consider it a good cross-over novel.For me, the pacing was also off in some places. About half the book I didn't want to stop reading, and about half the book felt much slower (and it flipped between the two).I also agree with some other reviewers that it would have been nice to have some perspectives from women in the book. I also found myself wishing for a perspective from someone from the under case system. Tagaret and Aloran are bother pretty boring, honestly. And gah the god-awful insta-love between Tagaret and Della.Nekantor is interesting, but again, I agree with other reviewers that how his mental illness is handled is, um, off putting. I don't know, I kept thinking about how he was only 15, and had already been so demonized. And I think this is where some of the "was this originally YA?" comes into play, because none of his really horrible behavior is shown. We hear about how he's terrible to the Imbati, but any scenes depicting come off more as a petulant, spoiled child. Ugh, I don't know, I just feel like his characterization was messy and I really hate the portrayal of OCD (which is also an incredibly misunderstood illness) (and also that he seems to be gay...). Maybe further books will break this down, but it definitely made me feel uncomfortable.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    In this novel of political intrigue, the setting is the star. Pelismara is a cavern city with an elaborate caste system. Although likeable characters are presented from every caste that appears, the privileged aristocratic caste, the Grobal (I remembered them as "Gross Nobles"), had me rooting for revolution more and more as the novel proceeded. The main plot hinges around a few things: A sudden plague that reduces the Grobal population, the selection of the next Heir (a ruler-in-waiting), and In this novel of political intrigue, the setting is the star. Pelismara is a cavern city with an elaborate caste system. Although likeable characters are presented from every caste that appears, the privileged aristocratic caste, the Grobal (I remembered them as "Gross Nobles"), had me rooting for revolution more and more as the novel proceeded. The main plot hinges around a few things: A sudden plague that reduces the Grobal population, the selection of the next Heir (a ruler-in-waiting), and teenage Tagaret's crush on a girl of the same caste but a less important family. Three different narrators—the two sons of the the First Family and Aloran, an Imbati-caste servant who signs a contract with a family member early in the book—show different perspectives of this troubled society. Tagaret seems like a nice enough kid, though privilege definitely restricts his vision; his brother Nekantor is ambitious and unstable; Aloran is basically the perfect valet/bodyguard. Aloran was the most relatable for me, but they were all interesting.A few things made me uncomfortable as I read through, such as the fact that one of the nastier villains was not neurotypical, but gradually I saw that that was an illustration of one of the problems: The aristocrats were more ashamed of someone's obsession with counting buttons than of his cruelty and willingness to sacrifice others. That really says something about them. Something similar happened with the Grobal (who call themselves "The Race") and their insistence on marrying only within Grobal families. They're pretty clearly inbred, and that is causing them problems that the reader can see even if the characters can't. I feel like the things that made me uncomfortable were supposed to make me uncomfortable, and I'm okay with that.I read an ARC that I won in a Goodreads giveaway. Lucky!
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  • Molly Madonia
    January 1, 1970
    This book is super delicious. Part political intrigue, part dystopian caste-based society drama, part romance novel (a little, like as flavor, not super-salaciously), part coming of age, this book was a page turner from the first chapter. There is a wide cast of characters to keep straight, but the book includes a guide to the social system, the deities, the main characters and their relationships, and the locations for easy following by the reader; I definitely flipped back and forth to make This book is super delicious. Part political intrigue, part dystopian caste-based society drama, part romance novel (a little, like as flavor, not super-salaciously), part coming of age, this book was a page turner from the first chapter. There is a wide cast of characters to keep straight, but the book includes a guide to the social system, the deities, the main characters and their relationships, and the locations for easy following by the reader; I definitely flipped back and forth to make sure I understood for the first few chapters. I did, however, find it easy to read and it would not be difficult to follow the story without flipping back and forth. The writing is very well done, the characters each have their own perspective and motives, and the story ties them together perfectly. The world-building occurs through dialogue and character interaction, in a fast-paced, lively, non-obvious way. I find myself caring strongly for the characters . . . and deeply disliking the characters that would do them harm, which I think is indicative of a well-written villain. The characters have actual flaws that affect how they interact with the world and each other, which I think adds an element of relatability to an otherwise Hunger Games-style social setting. Highly recommend; I deeply enjoyed getting lost in this story. Please note: I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this piece through a Goodreads giveaway; the on-sale date is 2/4/2020. I CANNOT wait for the rest of this series!
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  • deep
    January 1, 1970
    PW Starred: "Wade’s excellent high fantasy debut, the first in the Broken Trust series, invites readers into an intricately constructed and morally ambiguous world full of complex political maneuvering and familial pressure. For centuries, the cavernous city of Pelismara has housed the 12 Great Families that comprise the noble class of the city’s strict caste system, who cling to the glory of a long-faded golden era. When a mysterious illness known as Kinders fever kills the city’s Eminence, the PW Starred: "Wade’s excellent high fantasy debut, the first in the Broken Trust series, invites readers into an intricately constructed and morally ambiguous world full of complex political maneuvering and familial pressure. For centuries, the cavernous city of Pelismara has housed the 12 Great Families that comprise the noble class of the city’s strict caste system, who cling to the glory of a long-faded golden era. When a mysterious illness known as Kinders fever kills the city’s Eminence, the 12 families vie to fill the power vacuum. It’s up to 17-year-old Tagaret to represent his family in the competition to become heir to the throne, but his sociopathic brother Nekantor’s twisted attempts to help their family ascend to power threaten to tear down everything that Tagaret holds dear, including the reputation of the woman he loves. As the fever spreads among the lower classes, Pelismara’s society hangs on by a thread. The impressively winding plot, layered worldbuilding, and psychologically acute characterizations are sure to hold readers’ attention. Wade is an author to watch. (Feb.)"
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  • Stacie Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Berkeley Publishing Group-DAW and NetGalley for granting me an advance reader copy in exchange for my honest review.Mazes of Power creates a whole new world for the reader. I have to say this world caused my quite a bit of confusion at the beginning. There are many different classes of society that intermingle and determining the order without flipping back to the info page at the front was a little difficult.That being said, once I got the hang of the new lingo, this book was Thank you to Berkeley Publishing Group-DAW and NetGalley for granting me an advance reader copy in exchange for my honest review.Mazes of Power creates a whole new world for the reader. I have to say this world caused my quite a bit of confusion at the beginning. There are many different classes of society that intermingle and determining the order without flipping back to the info page at the front was a little difficult.That being said, once I got the hang of the new lingo, this book was pretty good. There are a lot of well developed characters and the fight between the twelve families for the right to be an heir to the throne was a great story line. Mazes of Power is filled with drama, some believable, some not. I could believe the family drama with sibling rivalry, but the pace at which people fell in love (within seconds and more than once) seemed a little questionable.I was surprised at the end, and it was evident the author is going to follow up with another book. I was anticipating a little more change in the corrupt society by the end, but I guess that’s what we have to look forward to in book 2!
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  • Kyra Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much, @dawbooks, for the review copy!Mazes of Power is a deeply imaginative tale about a power struggle between two brothers, familial pressure, and a highly competitive political game where reputation means everything. The intricately layered world-building of the city of Pelismara, fast-paced plot, and the clever characters had me flying through this book at a breakneck speed. This is the first book of The Broken Trust series so I’m looking forward to seeing how Wade follows up to Thank you so much, @dawbooks, for the review copy!Mazes of Power is a deeply imaginative tale about a power struggle between two brothers, familial pressure, and a highly competitive political game where reputation means everything. The intricately layered world-building of the city of Pelismara, fast-paced plot, and the clever characters had me flying through this book at a breakneck speed. This is the first book of The Broken Trust series so I’m looking forward to seeing how Wade follows up to this fantastic novel! Expected on 2/4/20.
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  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*: The web of political intrigue was entertaining and the characters, while somewhat unsympathetic, were compelling enough. However there’s curiously little in the way of both setting and characters descriptions in the worldbuilding — why does everyone live in caverns underground? What caused this? Why do the working classes actually care about and want to help the inbred, sickly, weak nobility class? Too many questions.
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  • Lisa Eckstein
    January 1, 1970
    In the underground cities of Varin, life operates according to a strict caste system and rigid cultural norms. Tagaret is from a powerful family in the noble class, and his cruel father would like to see him in line for the Eminence's throne. But Tagaret has no interest in politics, unlike his younger brother, who schemes constantly and imagines threats everywhere. When their city is thrown into turmoil by disease and a battle over succession, both brothers end up with crucial roles to play. So In the underground cities of Varin, life operates according to a strict caste system and rigid cultural norms. Tagaret is from a powerful family in the noble class, and his cruel father would like to see him in line for the Eminence's throne. But Tagaret has no interest in politics, unlike his younger brother, who schemes constantly and imagines threats everywhere. When their city is thrown into turmoil by disease and a battle over succession, both brothers end up with crucial roles to play. So does their mother's new servant, who wants nothing more than to serve his lady faithfully, even when he discovers this entails more secrecy and danger than anticipated.The world of this story is intricately, impressively developed. Wade does a good job conveying information within scenes, but there's a lot to absorb at the beginning, and it took me a little while to become fully invested in the world and characters. After a couple of chapters with each of the viewpoints, the story and its many conflicts pulled me in, and I developed a fondness for the three young men at the center, even the one who's a pretty horrible person. I did find it hard at times to understand characters' strong emotional reactions, and I wished for more to be revealed about the underground setting and its technology. But this is a promising first book in a series, and I look forward to more.
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    Gonna read it for the 'sociopathic younger brother' and the sci-fi setting
  • Smart Bookaholics Inc Bookstore
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! This book was nothing I thought it would be but I am not disappointed! I couldn't put t this down!Thank you Berkeley Publishing for the arc in exchange for an honest review!
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    My only complaint is finishing the book because now I have to wait for the second book, this got me into sci-fi type books for sure
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