Title: Break Me
Author: Tiffany Snow
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Date of Publication: 14th March, 2017
Page Count: 316 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Just a few weeks ago, computer prodigy China Mack’s typical night in involved Endor Star Wars pajamas and a sensible bedtime. Now she’s dating gorgeous tech guru Jackson Cooper—one of Forbes’s Top Ten Eligible Billionaires—much to the Twitterverse’s delight.
Turns out, going from socially inept hermit to poster girl for geek chic has its challenges. China’s relationship gets even more complicated because her role heading the top-secret Vigilance program—where she’s partnered with Superman clone Clark Slattery—makes her a target. And when ruthless businessman Simon Lu plans to co-opt Vigilance software to blackmail government and military employees, he’ll need China’s cooperation—willing or otherwise.
But not every enemy is so easily identified. Some hide in plain sight, in very high places, and mistaking foe for friend could be the last mistake China ever makes…
I adored the first book in the ‘Corrupted Hearts’ series – I gave Follow Me a 5-star rating! This sequel fell rather short of the lofty standards set by its predecessor and I felt a bit disappointed after having anticipated this so much. The writing is smooth and assured, the mystery plot is snappy and intriguging, and it honestly had me glued to the screen, gasping in shock at some of the twists and turns. But while ‘Follow Me‘ didn’t have an obnoxious love triangle, its sequel unfortunately doubled down on that aspect.
I had hoped that once China engaged in a relationship with one of her two handsome devoted suitors, there would be less focus on the alpha males circling her and all but peeing on her to establish their territory. Quite the opposite, the men persist in fighting over her like hormonal teenage boys with zero impulse control, they issue death threats without a trace of irony and behave in a completely embarrassing manner. Instead of continuing the sweet romance that was developed in the first novel, its sequel instead tears it apart in order to prop up her relationship with the other love interest.
What’s worse is the way this makes China seem incredibly hypocritical and self-centered. She ignores Jackson, fights with him over things that he’s not at fault for and accuses him of taking her for granted (when she’s obsessively maintained the same schedule for YEARS, so if anything he’s showing how much he cares by adhering to her routine) – while at the same time ignoring all the liberties that Clark takes with her, how rude and presumptuous he is, and the way he disrespects her wishes and her authority. The man is outright hostile and aggressively violent around her, trying to intimidate her into following his lead, but no, Jackson is the problem!
I really can’t fathom most of China’s thought processes when it comes to the men in this book and that really let me down. Her unique character from the first book also seemed to have been watered down – she had very specific OCD tendencies and personality quirks, but aside from being unable to read social situations, that was mostly dropped here. I also mentioned in my review of the first novel that China used her smarts and played to her strengths while investigating the mystery, whereas here she inexplicably makes rash, idiotic decisions and plunges headlong into danger when she has no weapon or training that she could bring to the table and ends up being more of a liability. That’s not the China I admired earlier.
The author also made the odd choice of switching from 100% first person pov in the first book and mostly the same here to interject a couple of chapters from the third person perspective very late in the story. It stood out jarringly as a result, so either more chapters from another character’s perspective should’ve been interspersed throughout the book or they ought not have been included at all, this seemed amateur-ish being tossed in like an afterthought.
Overall, the plott was fantastic with the suspense and action being the highlight of the story, but the interaction between characters leaves a lot to be desired – you need a high tolerance for love triangles for this one.
Personal Rating: 3 out of 5 kitties approve this book.
I know my review was mostly negative, and I did hesitate over my rating, but I did finish this instead of DNF’ing because it kept me intrigued and also due to the goodwill earned by the first novel, so that tips my rating over the line.
Disclaimer: I received a digital ARC free from Montlake Romance via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.