Saturday, February 23, 2013

ARC Review: Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons

Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: February 12th, 2013

The second installment in Kristen Simmons's fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series.

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?
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

I waited until right before this book released to read its predecessor, Article 5, and I'm glad I did.  Article 5 ended with a serious cliffhanger, and it was awesome to be able to go right into the sequel without having to wait.  That said, where has this series been all my life?  Frankly, I'm a little over the whole dystopian thing, just as I was over the vampire and werewolf thing in the wake of Twilight.  That said, I've really loved the genre since reading 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 a gazillion years ago, and am more apt to give these books a chance than I was the paranormal stuff; I just do so with a wary eye. Well, I went into this series with a good number of reviews in the back of my mind- some great, some scathing, and a bunch in between- and no firm expectations...  I ended up really liking Article 5, and although there were a few flaws, I felt like it was a solid start to what I expected to be a really good series.  I gave it four stars.  Needless to say, that after reading Article 5, my expectations going into Breaking Point were a little higher.  I'm happy to say that Kristen Simmons totally delivered!

First off, I enjoyed Ember a lot more in this book.  In Article 5 she had her desire to reach her mother driving her actions, helping her to do a lot of the more kick-ass things she did.  In Breaking Point that motivation wasn't there, but she continued to be kick-ass.  She became strong and independent, with a mind of her own, and she wasn't about to let anyone tell her what to do if it was in compromise with what she thought was right.  Not Chase, not Wallace, not the government.  And speaking of Chase (*swoons a little*), I'm glad Ember still managed to have a mind of her own when he was around.  I'm not sure I would have been that disciplined...

Further on the Chase subject, because his character was, honestly, one of the main things that kept me from giving Breaking Point five stars...  I think Chase is great in some ways, don't get me wrong.  He is certainly super-hot, and he has his sweet, protective side that makes me go, "Awwww", but he also got on my nerves. A LOT.  You see, I really wasn't into his, "Don't touch me, Ember. I'm damaged and I don't want you to get hurt," broody nonsense.  Yes.  We get it, Chase.  You've been through a lot, but guess what?  So. Has. Everyone. Else.  Get over it, and man up...  I actually still really liked Chase for the most part, but I did find him annoying from time to time.  Then there was Tucker.  Still not sure about him, but I would like to think the changes are legit.  I'm hoping that we get a whole lot of Tucker in book number three, because good-guy or bad-guy, he's become one of my favorite characters.  Another favorite for me was Sean.  I would have never predicted, while reading Article 5, that this would be the case, but he kind of grew on me, without my realizing it, and that is the best...

"Now, what about the plot and pacing and all that stuff?", you ask.  Well, you know I can't give spoilers, but I can tell you this.  Breaking Point kicked some serious ass in that regard.  There was a ton of action, and the story went in a direction that was entirely different from where I thought it would when I finished Article 5.  There were a lot of surprises, the biggest of which was that Kristen Simmons is not at all afraid to kill off important characters.  I love it when authors kill important people for a couple of reasons, but the most important one is that by doing so, they keep me on my toes.  As far as twists go, the only thing I saw coming was who the dishonorably discharged soldier Sean was talking about in the first chapter was. (I only give you even this tiny spoiler, because it was so obvious.)  Otherwise, I was taken off guard at several turns throughout the book.  

In the end, I think the thing I liked best was the imagining of what this society was like, and what it would be like to be a part of a fringe rebel group.  I thought it was an accurate, and rather disturbing one.  Of all the dystopian fiction I've read, I felt like this series had the most plausible scenario.  No natural disaster or plague caused the crazies to gain control.  The horrors of war helped a religious zealot get control of our country and over time, he basically dismantled the structure of our system of checks and balances through fearmongering, and under the guise of morality.  The people bought it because he was such a principled, moral guy and they craved structure after so much destruction.  I have no doubt that something like this could happen in our future.  Let's hope Kristen's writing isn't  as prophetic as it is compulsively readable! 

I felt like Breaking Point well outdid Article 5.  I liked the character development more (although there were a few, who are now dead, who I would have liked to know more about), and as I stated before, I liked that the scenario was so rational.  It was action-packed, with lots of death, so I felt like it would have just as much appeal to boys as it would to girls (and we all know books like that are few and far between in YA).  There was an underlying romance, which I liked, but it was never overpowering because the characters involved were exceptionally strong individuals, and able to function solo.  There were no love triangles either!

Overall, I am super happy that I finally started reading this series.  I am eagerly awaiting the third and final book in this series (that as of now, has no title or release date).  I can't really imagine where the story will go from here, but I am positive of one thing... It is going to be one hell of a ride!

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  There are a few makeout scenes, but nothing graphic.  As far as sexual content is concerned, this book is pretty clean.  There is a good bit of violence, some of it graphic in nature, but not overly so.  I would say both Article 5 and Breaking Point are appropriate for grades 6 and up (ages 11 and up).


  1. Wow, I'm going to have to start reading this series. I'm not sure I'll ever be over the Dystopian thing if done right but some do not live up to the hype they get. Thanks for your thoughts! Will try to read this series soon.

  2. I am dying to read these books! I've seen nothing but great reviews. I actually have Article 5 somewhere in my bookshelves, must find and read:) Thanks for the review.

  3. I really enjoyed the first novel, although I too was pretty annoyed with Ember's sometimes ridiculous logic.. I chalked it up to naiveté and hoped that the author was giving her room to grow into the world that she found she lived in.. oy vey.. I will still give this one a chance because Simmon's is an amazing writer, but it's probably not as high on my TBR list... Thanks for sharing!

    Cath Brookes (SEO in San Antonio)


Thanks for visiting my blog! I adore comments since they make me feel special and loved, just please don't spam me. I'm not interested in vacation offers, millions of dollars from Nigeria, or anything not book related!

Also, this is an award-free blog. As flattered as I am, I just don't have time. I'm happy if I have time to post all of my reviews on time, and am a momma of three to boot, but I appreciate the thoughts! XO