Breaking Point (Article 5 #2) by Kristen Simmons

Breaking Point

“Hope was a dangerous thing. Too much hope in a time like this could destroy a person.”

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?

Personal Thoughts:

From the blurb alone I expect Breaking Point to be action-packed and thrilling novel which is what I surely got from this second installment of Kristen Simmons brave series. From the beginning to the end I was stuck with the constant tensions from characters’ emotional and physical battle against the Federal Bureau of Reformation (FBR) and even against themselves. No slow moments inserted, even the silent moment between Ember and Chase carry emotional intensity.

After Ember and Chase’s escape from the FBR the intensity of the situation raised to higher level. Ember is now one of the most wanted person of FBR, suspected as the sniper who keep on killing the Moral Militia soldiers. Code one is issued to her, which means lethal finding, like a shoot to kill order. Anyone can kill her on the spot, no questions ask. Even when Ember and Chase are in the resistance trying to help for the cause they are all fighting, Ember can’t help but feel that they don’t really trust her. Some of them even believe that she is really the sniper. And with all that is happening, It is really hard to know who’s to trust anymore.

In Article 5, Kristen Simmons used flashback to show the romantic relationship of Chase and Ember, how they evolved from being so closed to each other to almost a stranger the next. Now in Breaking point Kristen used the same formula to connect the readers to Ember’s mother. Compare to the first book, the flashbacks in here are fewer but powerful just the same. Just like Chase who is grounded by his past memories of Embers and home, which he carries everywhere in a form of Ember’s letters for him, Ember is grounded by her memories of her mother. It makes her stronger, focus and realistic at the same time. If before she is motivated by saving her mother, now she used her memories of her mother as her connection while helping her friend Sean and saving Becca as her motivation.

“They’re our friends,” I said, exasperated. When people don’t do what’s best for themselves, you’ve got a responsibility to do it for them.”

Ember’s grow a lot since the first book. After all the suffering she been through with the FBR, Ember is tougher and smarter now. She still makes impulsive decision but she definitely more focus than before. Without her worry for her mother, she have more spirit in her now. She now understand Chase better and isn’t fighting or running away from the only sure alliance she got. As a friend, I admire her determination to help Sean and Rebecca. She never turn away to them even the situation always put her and Chase at risk.

As for Chase, he is supportive as ever. Even his main concern is Ember’s safety, he never insisted what he wants or what he think is best for them. He let Ember decide for herself and just try to do what he can to keep her safe. He let her handle the situation, believe in her and supports her even it is actually killing him. He wants her to learn by her own and want her to know that he believes in her.

Chase and Ember’s relationship is pushed to the limit. But since it is now clear for both of them that they are fighting on the same team, they are both stronger and more focus. Even though they don’t have much time to discuss everything, they know what they stand for, and what they are for each others.They don’t frustrate me anymore like what happened sometimes in Article 5, where their lack of communication is irritating and consuming. Most of the times in Article 5 they just don’t get each others. They fighting both their feelings because they don’t want to try to delve into each others, afraid of getting hurt where in fact the hurt actually exist between them and got its chance to go deeper. In here, even they don’t talk that much due to the circumstances of the situation, you know that they now both get each others. They trust and understand each other better than before.

“I remember who you are. Even if you forget.“

I did expect Wallace to play something big in this installment. As the leader of the resistance I thought he has something more to offer in the story. When he choose Tucker than Ember and Chase I assume, there is something he isn’t telling. That he knows more than everyone else. Part of me believe that he is wise enough to know what he is doing. Every move and decision he makes, I assume there is a bigger purpose in it, that maybe Ember just couldn’t see right away. But I was wrong, I labeled Wallace more than his own worth. The layer and mystery I thought he carry is no more than just a mystery.

Tucker is a mystery to me. I thought I already figure him out, but as the story moves, he becomes more elusive than ever. I don’t know what to make of him except for the fact that he can’t be trusted. Even with all the things he did for Ember and Sean I still can’t help but questions all his motives. Even if I believe that he really don’t work for the FBR, I still suspect that there is another internal motive residing in him. Maybe something personal, something directed to Chase.

Another mystery to me is Three. I can’t remember if he (let just assume that he is a boy/man) is actually mentioned before in Article 5, but in here he grabbed my attention. The mere fact that no one really knows him is already intriguing, add some missing person that continually pop up, I just have to make the connections. One of my guess is that Chase’s uncle is Three because if that’s not the case then Chase’ uncle must have other major role to play in the story. After all, why constantly mention him if it doesn’t make a difference in the plot?

The tension does not only revolved around the characters but also the readers who can easily taste fear as we can easily relate and see ourselves into the situation. Like I’ve said from my review of Article 5, the world that Kristen Simmons build in this series is hauntingly realistic. It felt real as if it really is happening somewhere.

The conflicting emotions are so vivid and heartfelt. Ember and Chase deals with a lot of things, but more than the physical battle, the emotional struggle leaves so much impact. With Chase guilt, Ember’s grief and even Sean’s longing, the intensity of the situation never leaves even during the silent moments. And just when you thought that you are finally seeing the light for this characters you eagerly cheer for, hope will just have to back down again. It’s really a roller coaster ride for the character and readers.

“…since my mother had died, a festering desire to know the unknown-able had gnawed at me. I wanted to know that somewhere there was peace.”

Packed with non-stop actions, intense tensions, mysteries and a brave plot, Breaking Point is gripping, thrilling and captivating sequel to Kristen Simmons’ Article 5 series. It is bold, smart and hauntingly beautiful.

*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Tor Teen-Macmillan via Pinoy Book Tours in exchange of honest opinion.

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