Sunday 21 April 2013

Book Review: Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons


Title: Breaking Point
Author: Kristen Simmons

Synopsis (I took this from Goodreads because I seriously couldn't think of how to describe this):

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?


The reviews for this book are incredibly good, and to be honest I really can't see why. 

Ember is a strong heroine, as always, and her voice conveys the desolation of the dystopian world she lives in. Kristen Simmon's talent for world building shines through the way most dystopian books don't. But in this book, none of the questions I asked from the last book came close to being answered. I just didn't get it. The circumstances that forced the structure of the society is vague at best: we don't understand what it is our characters are fighting against. The world just seems endlessly bleak--the resistance doesn't seem to know what they're fighting toward. I guess you could call that a realistic portrayal of life--keep going along with what happens, without really having a main goal. But may I remind you that this is a novel and Kristen Simmons is completely missing the point here. 

Another thing: The romance. God. Ember and Chase are simply the most frustrating couple to grace the fictional universe. I mean, they keep arguing, and their romance just seems a little forced to me. In the first book, their relationship was built up and it just seems to be falling away as the book continues. And their mutual hatred for Tucker seriously can't be good for either of them. I found it difficult to understand why they were so incredibly untrusting. I mean, I understand Chase's point of view, and also understand that Ember would probably want to side with Chase, but I can't believe that in the short time she knew Tucker, than she could develop such a deep-rooted hatred. Where's the forgiveness? Tucker really seems sincere. 

Also, back to the resistance. Ember doesn't have a driving point, the way most dystopian heroines want to. She doesn't want to change her society--she just wants to get around the authority. And I found this upsetting. I guess, she's a realistic portrayal of what a society like that would reduce a person to, but her sense of self-preservation (her and Chase, that is) is really selfish. And almost nothing gets done that way. *Spoiler* I guess in a way, her goal is to save Rebecca, but we don't feel her want to save Rebecca so much as are constantly reminded that she, somewhere in the back of her mind, is only staying to save Rebecca. (Read: ADHD in Percy Jackson. Yeah sort of like that.) She's losing my good favor. Really. 

One character I can really say I liked in this book was Tucker. *this is kind of spoilery* I mean, the guy tried. Ember and Chase's hatred toward him really upset me, because in those few moments when she sees him in an unbiased light, you can feel his sincerity. But this is quickly clouded over by Ember's hatred for him (see above) and it upsets me. But the unreliable narrator thing really rocks in that sense. Plus point there.

Wow. This is probably the longest angry review I've written. This book did not live up to my expectations and hopes after reading the previous book, say, two days ago. But I do admit, the action was wonderful as ever (if inconsistent)

Grade: B- If you didn't like the last book, don't try this one. 

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