Review + ARC Giveaway: Breaking Point

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review + ARC Giveaway: Breaking PointBreaking Point by Kristen Simmons
Series: Article 5 #2
Published by Tor Teen on February 12, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

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?

First Sentence: “The Wayland Inn was behind the slums, on the west end of Knoxville.”

I embarked on my reading of Breaking Point with some trepidation. I personally loved Article 5, but a lot of my good friends had major criticisms, and I wondered if I would see flaws I missed before. Thankfully, I needn’t have feared, because Breaking Point lives up to its predecessor, and this is one of my favorite YA dystopian series.

For one thing, Simmons’ series actually belongs under the heading of a dystopia. As long as the people follow the rules of the lawmakers, the society is perfect, but, for those who break the articles, the society is a hell. Unlike most YA dystopian series, the resistance is hardly a blip on the radar of the government. The resistance’s attempts to overthrow the government feel largely futile, and hearken back to a more classic dystopian formula, especially since Simmons has no compunction about killing off characters.

Those who did not enjoy the first book cited Ember’s voice as their biggest problem; they found her whiny and annoying. She does not strike me that way at all, though this is not to say that the other readers are wrong, because we all have our own unique lens on the world. If she is whiny, it’s a proactive sort of complaining. Ember doesn’t just sit on her ass waiting for Chase to help her. She takes action; in fact, her biggest weakness is her willingness to charge into situations without scouting out the best way to do so. She’s emotional and fiercely protective of friends and family.

Actually, I’m really sold on Ember now. Her relationship with Chase does not change her behavior one bit, other than that sometimes she wants to make out with him. He does not control her one bit, and she’s obviously more dominant in their relationship, even if he’s stronger. I love, too, that when confronted with a terrible person from her past and forced to work with him, she continues not to trust him. This is so refreshing after all of the heroines in postapocalyptic and dystopian novels who befriend people who try to rape them or kill their families. Ember gives trust only where it’s earned.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about Chase and Ember as a couple. In book one, I was rooting for them, but I didn’t feel as much of a connection between this time. However, I do approve of how their relationship is handled, and that it’s largely kept to the back burner. While they do have problems, none of the issues in their relationship are because of the situation they’re in. Their relationship  problems are internal, and secondary to dealing with survival.

My main concern at this point is a tentative one. As in so many dystopian societies, women are given inferior status to men. Thankfully, Simmons shows that women are still strong, with the primary example being Ember. Two, arguably three, other strong women appear in Breaking Point, which is great. Unfortunately, it concerns me that all of the powerful women but Ember are not looking good at the end of the book. If all women but Ember are either weak or destroyed physically, it’s still sending a bad message. Authors do this, I believe, to make their heroine stand out more, but she can still shine while other women do too, I promise. Hopefully the next volume will bring in more female characters, and badass ones at that.

If you enjoyed Article 5, you’re going to want to get your hands on Breaking Point pronto. There’s plenty of action, death and uncertainty, exactly what is needed in a good dystopia.

Favorite Quote:

“Even hardened, there were still moments like this. Soft spaces in time. Moments that made everything else matter.
That was when I finally realized that thought I may have changed I wasn’t broken at all.”

The wonderful folks at Tor Teen sent me both an ARC and a hardback, so I’m passing my ARC along to one of my readers. US/CAN unfortunately, but I have a couple international giveaways going, so check the sidebar.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

22 responses to “Review + ARC Giveaway: Breaking Point”

  1. Great review! I love dystopias. This sounds like my kind of book! But I haven’t read the first one yet. I think I’ll have to order it. Definitely on my TBR list! 😀

  2. I am glad Chase hasn’t influenced Ember’s personality. I am excited about reading Breaking Point, I have so many things I still want to know, like Rebecca…

    Also, I haven’t read many dystopians, but really enjoyed Article 5, and Ember’s personality and determination where one of the reasons.
    And thanks for the giveaway

    • Christina says:

      Me too. Other people had talked about how whiny and weak they felt she was, and so I was on the lookout for that, and I just don’t see it myself. Rebecca is a major plot point in this one, you’ll be happy to know.

  3. Kelly says:

    I’m so happy I read this review! I’ve had Article 5 sitting on my shelf for months, and have been avoiding it because of the negative reviews I had seen for it. Hearing that it’s a true dystopian AND that the romance takes a back seat to the Resistance has gotten me excited to pick it up! I also like the sounds of a protagonist who complains, but takes action instead of whining about why nothing is how she would like it.

    Great review Christina! And thanks for the giveaway 😀

    • Christina says:

      Oh good! I don’t know if you’ll like it or not, because my friends have been distinctly split between really liking it and be NOT impressed. I hope you do enjoy it though!

  4. Erika says:

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this book. I have heard mixed reviews but I love dystopian and had this on my list for a bit now. Thanks for your thoughts! I hope to read it soon!

  5. I haven’t read Article 5 yet, but thanks to your review, I’m definitely going to look into it. I’m a sucker for dystopians and I love stories where the love interest doesn’t completely change the protagonist.

    Thanks for the review! 🙂

  6. Article 5 just came out in audio, and I’ve been considering it for Dystopian February. I actually haven’t planned out this Dystopian February as well as I have in the past mostly because I put my weekly Apocalyptic/Dystopian series on hold during The Human Division Listen Along, so I’m scrambling around for some to add to my listening plan for this month.

    • Christina says:

      Hmm, I don’t know how the audio is, but it seems like this would be a good candidate since it’s got first person narration. Those seem to transition best and can really make a character come alive. I think I need to go check out your blog to look for some audiobooks to listen to!

  7. I tried reading Article 5 quite a few months ago, but put it down after just a hundred pages or so for the same reasons most people who don’t like Article 5 have – I found the Ember to be a bit whiny, though at the time and given the circumstances it was understandable. Still, my main issue was that I just wasn’t that connected with the story or the characters. I’m glad you see you loved Article 5, and that you liked this one so much, too, though! Now that you say that you’re definitely sold on Ember in this one, I may just give Article 5 another shot to see if I will end up being sold on her in this one, too. Though it is a shame you don’t feel the connection between the Ember and Chase in this one! But I guess a lack of connection between two characters is better than an absurdly forced connection. How is the world-building in this one, though? I remember very little from Article 5.

    • Christina says:

      I don’t really know if she’ll improve for you if you don’t like her from the beginning. I always did like her. She might get more mature along the way, based on how childish her best friend seems when you meet her in this book, something I meant to comment on but forgot to. *snaps fingers*

      It’s not that I hate Ember and Chase, but I don’t super ship them together either.

      I like the world building, although it’s not hyper-detailed. Seems more believable than most, like the crazy religious right republicans took over the US. With all the things senators will proudly declare, it wouldn’t surprise me.

  8. Mariya says:

    This sounds like a really good book. I am currently a little (ok, a LOT) obsessed with dystopian YA fiction.

  9. Mariya says:

    What interests me most about this particular dystopian novel is, “Unlike most YA dystopian series, the resistance is hardly a blip on the radar of the government. The resistance’s attempts to overthrow the government feel largely futile” This is something that’s rare in YA fiction. I am tired of the main character in a book COMPLETELY overthrowing a oppressive government or having a HUGE effect on it, like in Hunger Games, Divergent, and Masque of the Red Death. I think it would be nice to see a protagonist do her best to change the way things are in her dystopian world but not necessarily change EVERYTHING in it – I think that would be much more believable.

    • Christina says:

      Yes! Me too. I mean, of course I love seeing good triumph over dystopian government, but that’s really not the classic pattern, and I get a bit tired of the government being overthrown in book one because it’s just so easy. Of course, in THG it at least took three books and a ton of death. I suspect that’s how it will go down here, but I really can’t say for sure, and I like that.

  10. Princess Ash says:

    Oh, that’s just going to make me mad. I DON’T CARE ABOUT ALL THE IMPORTANT THINGS. If they’re relationship becomes a dud, I’m going to sulk no doubt about it. As much as I was starting to like Ember and however much I DEFINITELY enjoyed the world-building and plot, I’m not going to be able shrug away this less easily sold connection this time around. Simmons, homegirl, MAKE IT BETTER.

    And also, I just wanted to let you know that your reviews give me such a good vision of what to expect while still keeping me on my toes. THANKS :DD

    • Christina says:

      Oh dear! Don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate them as a couple. They’re not bad, and you might love them. They have a connection, I think, but they’re struggling with how to reconcile their emotions with Chase’s involvement in her mother’s murder. Oddly, he struggles with it more than she does.

      Awww,thanks. 🙂 *blushes*

  11. I cannot wait to read this and see how it follows up Article 5.

  12. Vivien says:

    I thought this was an excellent sequel!! I’m really liking this series more and more. I’m definitely eager for book 3! (I love the relationship between Ember and Chase)

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