Author: Kristen Simmons
Genre: YA, dystopian, romance, sci-fi
Publication Date: February 12, 2013 (TorTeen/Macmillan – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided finished copy
Summary: 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?
☆: 4/5 – a great follow-up to book one!
Review: What was surprising about this sequel was that I really feel Simmons improved in nearly every area. She was able to bring us right back into the action of “Article 5” with ease, and that’s pretty hard to do when you’re releasing books in a series at least one year apart from each other. I enjoyed “Breaking Point” because of how much Simmons has improved, and I think you will too. If you started your journey with “Article 5”, be sure to continue with “Breaking Point”.
What I feel Simmons improved the most in: worldbuilding and sensory imagery and language. Because in this sequel Simmons shrinks the entire world she built in the last book, it feels like she had a lot more breathing room and ability to build upon that first book. She shrunk things from Chase and Ember’s crazy journey to freedom in book one to just the resistance in various areas (but only where Ember and sometimes Chase did too) – namely, Knoxville and Chicago. Because of this we were able to get a little more on how the President rose to power, and the timeline in which that occurred compared to the events of now. Thanks to flashbacks on Ember’s behalf, as well as Tucker and Chase talking about their past experiences, Simmons teases that it’s been about ten years or so since the Reformation began and the President rose to power (and how everything after that swiftly went to dystopian hell). Then again, in terms of timing, I might be wrong – but this seemed like the most accurate bit of timing we’ve had so far. And I love it when an author can give me a good backstory timeline, especially in a dystopian, utopian, or post-apocalyptic genre book. The backstory in in these genre books are a HUGE part of the world and how it’s built, so we got a lot mroe information here. Thus, we have a larger world even though Simmons shrunk it. Me gusta.
The sensory language in this one blew me away – when we were in Tent City in Knoxville, I felt as if I could actually SMELL the bodies. It was that intense. This book was filled with action – which means lots of running, lots of sweat and blood and shooting, so there’s a LOT of sensory input to be had in this book. Moreso, I think, than book one. Which is good – more action equals more tension, equals a better book as a whole.I feel that the sensory imagery actually pushed the characters instead of just describing them, and it’s interesting to see a technical area like that being used as a device to actually make the characters do what you wan them to do. It’s something I really enjoyed, and I want to see more use of in writing (not just YA) as a whole.
The characters – while I still feel like the Sniper was just an impetus to get Ember and co. back on the run, I know it worked as a plot device. However, we never really got closure on that point, which really started to bother me by the end of the book. While there’s the hint as to who really is the Sniper (as opposed to who the FBR is blaming), we never really get fulfillment there. Same for the identity of Three. That was incredibly frustrating, and while the book doesn’t blatantly end on a cliffhanger, I did feel that the whole “mystery of Three/the Sniper” was kind of in that category. I’m glad Tucker was back because he was a great source of tension for Ember and Chase, but otherwise, the characters felt tightened and real, and aside from Three/the Sniper, that worked out just fine. I think the Sniper thing could have probably been scrapped, but that’s just me.
There was also less emphasis on the romance and more emphasis on this being Ember’s journey (more so than Ember AND Chase), which I really liked, and I feel like should have been worked more into book one. But at least we’re getting it at all, I guess. Better late than never.
Final verdict? Definitely more fun and more action-packed than book one, “Breaking Point” is a great dystopian read. “Breaking Point” will be out February 12, 2013 from Tor Teen/Macmillan in North America, so be sure to check it out once you get the chance!