Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: Breaking Point

BREAKING POINT
Article 5 #2
Kristen Simmons
Young Adult/Dystopian
400 pages
Tor Teen
Available Now
Received from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.

With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?


MY THOUGHTS
Breaking Point is a thrilling sequel, every page vibrating with tension on both physical and emotional levels as Chase and Ember take up the fight of the Resistance. This is a story we close the back cover on with our guts roiling and clashing due to the myriad of conflicting emotions, refusing to settle even though we’ve exited Ember’s brutal world of chaos and compliance and returned to the safety of our reality. Ms. Simmons makes the most of every single page in this lengthy tale, perfectly balancing the quiet moments with the action-packed ones to ensure our hearts slowly migrate from the safety and protection of the center of our chests to our sleeves, where they sit vulnerable and exposed to a continued emotional onslaught.

Ember shows a great deal of growth in this second installment, her lingering anger at Chase for his initial enlistment as well as the role he played in her mother’s death slowly fading, allowing her to see Chase more clearly without the red haze of pain clouding her vision. Her progress is of course gradual–her impulsiveness and quick temper still present and accounted for in the first half of the book–but she slowly comes to realize the effect her behavior has on those around her, especially Chase, and she proceeds to make a concerted effort to listen when it’s asked of her, act when she’s needed, and provide support when her pillars of strength start to crumble.

Chase and Ember’s romance is a beacon of light amidst the grit and violence of a terrifying possible future, their relationship perhaps even more tense in this book than in book one as weighted silences and meaningless conversations mask the anxiety and pain churning beneath the surface. Where their initial lack of communication would normally be frustrating, we know in this case the poisonous quiet between them is borne of fear rather than the anger we saw from both in book one, and we simply cannot begrudge them the survival instinct to curl in on themselves in preparation for warding off whatever blow is headed their way next. Ms. Simmons beautifully stuns us with one all-too brief scene though; a fleeting moment between Chase and Ember that suddenly rights scales that had been steadily slipping farther and farther off balance, lifting a weight from our chests and allowing us to suck in a deep breathe for the first time since we started reading.

Overall, Breaking Point is a magnificent follow up to Article 5, captivating us from the very first page and never once losing our rapt attention. Some may still be disappointed by the lack of detailed explanation as to how this post-apocalyptic world came to be, but in my opinion, what we do know is enough to be able to fill in the blanks ourselves, well aware of how easily a shift in power can occur when the world is suddenly thrown into anarchy. We’re left with things very much unresolved, but we are given the satisfaction of one of Ember and Chase’s main goals in this second book being achieved, thereby making the wait for book three more bearable as we revel in one success even as we despair of a separate massive failure.

Rating: 4.5/5

46 comments:

  1. Wot wot! I have to say, the first book left very little impression on me in reviews so I never felt compelled to read it. But now after reading this review, you have me seriously rethinking my point of view! This sequel sounds INTENSE and pretty close to perfect. Great, great review, Jenny!

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    1. I enjoyed the first book as well, but this one was even better. Things between Ember and Chase are just so intense and even when they were being frustrating, it was understandable. This is not a world I'd want to live in!

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  2. I still have to read the first book... as I said I am in a Dystopian Slump right now. But.. your high rating makes me as usual reconsider..

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    1. I know you are, but you should definitely put this on your list when you're back into a dystopian mood. Loved this one:)

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  3. I really want to read this series. I have wanted to read Article 5 since it came out. I'm so glad the second book is so good. I've been a little bit disappointed with a few second books lately. Maybe I should start this series. That's a great review. Of course it makes me want to buy the books! They are on my list.

    Heather

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    1. No second book slump for this book! Lots of things happen, the characters grow, the romance develops a little further - it's made of win. No filler for book 3 in sight:)

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  4. I have this ebook waiting for me but I only need more time so I can read it. I loved the first book and I'm so curious to see what happens with our main characters. I'm so happy it didn't disappoint. Great review Jenny :)

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    1. Yay! I hope you love it as much as I did Tanja!

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  5. I haven't got to Article 5 yet. Still on my dystopia hiatus =)) But, I'm so glad to hear you liked this sequel. I'm always excited to hear about character growth even though I am yet to meet this person. XD

    Great review, Jenny :D

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    1. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the dystopians out there and require a break. Once you're feeling up to it again though, I highly recommend this series!

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  6. I had been a but unsure about picking up Breaking point, as I had so much love for Article 5, and also the initial reviews hadn't been that promising, but your gorgeous review has me so excited to dive into the enthralling next installment. Also quite a few reviewers said that they couldn't deal with Ember's whiny character, but if you didn't have any issues with her, I don't think I will either! Another lovely review Jenny! :)

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    1. If you loved book one, I think you'll be really pleased with this one Jasprit! I thought it was even better. Ember bothered me at times in Article 5 when she wouldn't listen to Chase, but she shows some maturity in this one and I just adore them together:)

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  7. Middle books get such a raw deal sometimes, with everything left hanging or in a worse position than before the book started. It's good to hear this one has at least one big accomplishment for the characters -- that leads to much more reading satisfaction than multiple cliffhangers.

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    1. I liked that their main goal of this second book reaches its conclusion, and while we're in many ways left hanging, I was still good to go because they achieved what they set out to do from page one:)

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  8. Honestly? I know it's a dystopian series, but I haven't really felt the need to look into it. I must admit that your review sure made me take a huge step towards finding out if I want to read this series. Ember seems like a character I'd love to see envolve and grow. Breaking Point in general seems intense, raw and dark which may just be something to spice things up with my contemporary NA books that I've been reading lately. Right now I'm reading The Raven Boys and I'm enjoying it so much (I'm almost done) and I have so many books on my shelf that need my attention, but I will certainly put this series into the back of my mind to look into it when I have time. Thanks for sharing, Jenny:)

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    1. This is definitely a very dark world - one that pisses me off to no end when I'm reading because of all the injustice. Because of that intense dislike though, I'm all emotionally involved and I want nothing more than for Chase and Ember to be happy:)

      So glad you're loving The Raven Boys too! So good:)

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  9. 4.5 out of 5 for a second book in series? Ok that right there is a ringing endorsement. I usually use the second book as the determining factor on whether to move forward or stop :)

    Great Review!

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    1. Right? It's rare that a second book rates so high for me. I just loved this one:)

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  10. I really liked Article 5 but I haven't had the chance to get to this book yet. I'm so happy to hear that it's better than the first installment. Yay for Ember growing up. I'm looking forward to the romance between Chase and Ember!
    Fabulous review as always, Jenny!

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    1. I loved Chase and Ember in this one Nick! They're relationship is so painful sometimes, it just breaks my heart. But then just when things are looking bleak for them, some small moment happens and I fall in love all over again:)

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  11. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ahem. Yeah. I'm a little excited.

    What? Don't judge me.

    I really loved Article 5. I thought it was original and thrilling and wholly awesome. I've been excited about its sequel, but admittedly a bit apprehensive it would fall prey to the Sophomore Slump. I'm so glad it didn't and that you loved it so much, Jenny.

    Now I shall go forth and capture my own copy!

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  12. *runs off to add the first book to my wish list*

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    1. I really enjoy this series Amanda! Get on it ;-)

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  13. Just skimmed your review since I haven't read the first book yet. But it must be impressive if you nearly gave it a five. I'll have to check out book 1.

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    1. I was super impressed with this one. Loved the progression of not only the characters but the story as well. Win.

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  14. This sounds like a difficult book to set aside! Nice review! It makes me want to go back and reread A5 and then check this out immediately.

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    1. It was. Stupid necessary sleep:)

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  15. I haven't read the first book, but this sounds interesting. Great review!

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    1. I hope you give the first one a try Asma! I liked it quite a bit, but I think this one is even better.

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  16. Yay, glad you really enjoyed this one!! I feel like most people are "meh" towards this series for some reason, but I LOVE it! I totally agree re: Ember's character growth. I was so proud of how strong she became, especially when it would have been so easy to just curl up in a ball and ignore everything going on.

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    1. Yeah, I've been seeing a lot of "meh" reviews for this series too, but I just loved both books:) Ember really impressed me in this book, she was frustrating at times in the beginning, but I loved when she realized how her behavior affected Chase and worked to change it:)

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  17. Somehow this series keeps finding me. I keep seeing it even when I'm not looking. I'm guessing it is telling me to read it. Might have to take a few tho since I just read a VERY dark dystopian and I need a bit of light right now before I can tackle the dark again. I don't always need to know the why as long as the adventure is captivating. Certainly sounds that way here. Yep, moving the first up the wishlist. Adding the second... just tell the books to stop following me! ;)

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    1. You're like the Pied Piper of books Melissa! They love you and follow you everywhere:)

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  18. Honestly, Jenny, must you make everything sound so good? I simply don't have the time to get into this series right now, but it's not often that you use the word magnificent to describe a book.
    I think Chase and Ember's relationship sounds wonderfully complex wihtouth being frustrating. It's a thin line and I'm relieved to hear that Simmons deals with it so well. I guess I'll have to find the time for this one soon.
    Thank you for the lovely review!

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    1. Thank you Maja, I do try :) I hope if your schedule opens up in a few weeks/months that you'll remember this series. I highly recommend:)

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  19. I need to read more dystopia, but I always seem to get so disappointed when book 2 comes around

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    1. I usually do as well, but that was definitely not the case with this book!

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  20. Okay wow! It sounds like this is a series I need to pick up since you rated the 2nd book so high! I did host a stop on the tour and have been thinking I need to read it, but I just haven't gotten the first one yet. Your great review has me very excited to read it though!

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    1. You definitely need to pick these up Candace! Loved both, but I have a feeling each book is going to be better than the one before:)

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  21. YAY Jenny! So glad you liked this book. Isn''t it just awesome. I can't wait to see how it will all end. Thanks for sharing your lovely review.

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  22. Wow, I am so impressed that you loved this book so much, Jenny, and I am thrilled for you! Unfortunately, Article 5 was a book that just didn't click for me. I found Ember to be really annoying the romance didn't draw me in at all, so I won't be reading this one, but I am SO glad that it doesn't fall into MBS! :)

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  23. I can't believe I haven't read book one yet! Shame on me, nearly everyone whose bookish opinion I respect seems to love it. I'm thrilled to hear I can look forward to a wonderful sequel when I do begin the series. I think I'm going to enjoy reading about Chase and Ember's romance, even if the danger does overshadow it at times. Great review!

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  24. Another beautifully written review. Sounds fun. I haven't read the first one yet. I do like how you described the romance, or lack thereof.

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  25. Wonderful review Jen and I so agree. I loved the character growth and for once am glad the romance isn't center stage. I look forward to the next book

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  26. Oh I loved this sequel, Jenny! One of my faves of the year. I liked that the romance wasn't center stage, but at the same time it was sweet and swoon worthy! The character growth was great, too! Lovely review. ^^

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  27. I haven't read this one but I'm happy you thought it was a good sequel to Article 5, Jenny. It's nice to know that Ember continues to develop and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her romance with Chase.

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