Sunday, May 22, 2016

Review: Breaking Point

Breaking Point

by Pamela Clare
Book 5 of I-Team series

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.5 Stars

While investigating border violence in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Denver journalist Natalie Benoit is caught in a bloody ambush and taken captive. Alone in the hands of ruthless killers, she will need every ounce of courage she possesses to survive.

Betrayed by another operative, Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride has endured a week of torture and interrogation at the hands of a bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartel. Ready to give his life if he must, he remains unbroken—until he hears the cries of an American woman.

Although Natalie is only a voice in the darkness of their shared prison, her plight brings renewed strength to Zach's battered body. With her help, he overpowers their captors, and they flee through the desert toward the border, the attraction between them flaring hotter than the Sonoran sun.

But past loss and tragedy leave both of them reluctant to follow their hearts, even when the passion between them reaches its breaking point. Faced with feelings neither expected, they fight to stay ahead of the danger that hunts them as forces more powerful than they can imagine conspire to destroy them both...

Thoughts Upon Finished Reading:
This was an intense, action and suspense filled story from page one. After giving myself a much needed break from the overwhelming overdose of reading four I-Team novels in a row, I'm glad to say that Book #5 does not disappoint, and I will definitely be looking forward to the next book in this series.

Since I'm in a bit of an "ehhh, I'm not sure what to say" point right now due to lack of sleep, I'm going to try and gather my thoughts before I write anything since I feel like this book deserves a little more than just a simple one paragraph: "OMG, this book was amazing!" review.

And on that note, review to come sometime soon.

Thoughts Some Time Later:
It's at the tip of my mind, what I want to say about Breaking Point, but I just can't seem to conjure up anything coherent. Maybe it's lack of sleep, or maybe I'm just plain out of synonymous paragraphs for how exciting and intense and awesome yet another I-Team series book had been. It was certainly a riveting experience, and much different than the first few books in the series.

The action begins all too quickly from page one when we meet Natalie Benoit who's convention bus in Mexico is attacked and she is taken prisoner. Then we meet Zach McBride who is already a prisoner of a drug cartel and living out a torturous hell. From there, it only seems to get better as we follow these two through their interactions, their escape, and their dangerous and arduous trek back across the border to home and safety.

The only words I could find to describe this: Intense! Oh, so, so intense!

It's one thing to go into hiding from criminal masterminds who have your name on their hit list and you're in a city full of protection. It's a whole other thing when the same thing happens, but now you're stranded in a different country with no one to trust but the one man who seems like another dangerous criminal. And then add a nice big dose of sweltering, deathly hot desert to the mix and the adventure seems like it's just an eternity away from conclusion.

Not that I'm psychotic or anything, but I really did enjoy those first few chapters of the survival story arc. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that Zach and Natalie would make out alive and safe, but that didn't make the entire story line any less intense.

And the characters? I liked them. Both Zach and Natalie had that perfect dose of makeshift kinship that you sometimes can only find when people are forced together to face off danger. The trust and the bonding that comes into play is amazing (well, once Natalie actually started trusting Zach a little more). Both strong individuals who were able to work together to get home... I like adventures. This was definitely a nice one.

My only complaint is that the second half of the book seemed a little disjointed from the first half. I didn't see it coming, and the connections got made, but didn't quite make much sense until the final conclusion that tied the first half together with the second half: when the truth came out. It's not a bad thing, but I guess it DOES put some plot points into perspective.

Still... the mid-point didn't seem to transition as smoothly as I would have liked and it felt like two separate story arcs in one book... Like a "Part 1" and a "Part 2", but without the physical separators.

Nonetheless, Breaking Point was pretty amazing.

And Zach McBride has taken his position on my list of sexy, dangerous, awesome, "OMG I love you" heroes in the I-Team world. He's sitting right there, right after Marc Hunter whom I still adore A LOT, but whom is still trailing short after Julian Darcangelo (whom, by the way, I am so ecstatic to get to see him as his freakin' badass self).

Another thing I've seemed to notice about the I-Team series (which isn't a complaint, but just an observation) is that the dialogue and certain parts of the narration tends to get a little... well... wordy? There's a bit too much "telling", in the sense that, when characters talk to each other, they say too much. As a reader, I'm perceiving these parts as a character telling his or her story as a narrator recounting events like a true storyteller. Not so much as an individual recounting events in simple, brief fashion that seems more natural.

Or maybe I'm just reading into it too much. But there seems to be a lot of emphasis placed on certain truths that we already know and understand and can see for ourselves without the narration kicking in to tell us about the situation. From a long line of actions and bantering, for instance, I can already see that Marc Hunter and Julian Darcangelo have become practically best friends, like brothers. I don't need several different thoughts from different characters to confirm this truth several times.

There's also no need to pound into my head how badass our male characters are. I can see that already, if all of their back stories aren't indication enough.

Nonetheless, I still love the world of the I-Team series. Intense and fast-paced reading is something that gets me through pages quickly. Great characters and character dynamics is what gets me hooked to a particular book or series. It's amazing how a bunch of well crafted characters can do for a book, even if it IS fairly standard crime suspense with romance.

And now I must go and figure out what kind of nickname to give Zach McBride.

This review was originally posted at Goodreads in July 2013.

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