Made to Be Broken (Nadia Stafford, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Since I haven't reviewed the first book, I'll say something brief about it here. You should definitely read it first before picking up this one! Exit Strategy kept me engaged the whole way through, and introduced several complex and richly three-dimensional characters to follow. Nadia is the POV character, the cop who came from a family of cops, only to have to leave her chosen profession under a cloud of disgrace. She turns to her new profession (hitman) as a way to make money, and satisfy the urge she can't quite control for vigilante justice. Then there's her older, experienced, and taciturn mentor, simply known as Jack, with whom she shares an unacknowledged and unresolved tension that could possibly lead to more, if either of them wanted it to. Nadia doesn't get along quite so well with his mentor, the "retired" hitwoman Evelyn, bent on manipulating and controlling everyone around her. And then there's Quinn, the cop who moonlights as a hitman and has instant and palpable chemistry with Nadia, much to Jack's displeasure.
The interplay between them begins in Exit Strategy and picks up again without missing a beat in Made to be Broken. There is still that unspoken tension between Nadia and Jack, something neither of them are comfortable acknowledging, despite Evelyn's pushing. Quinn has remained a presence in Nadia's life, and clearly wants more. Nadia does, too, though her unresolved feelings for Jack interfere.
When one of Nadia's employees disappears along with her three month old baby, Nadia can't let it go like the rest of her small town, who seem content to believe that a 'bad apple' like Sammi just ran off. The case takes on new and deadly implications when Nadia's investigation reveals the involvement of another pro - the sort that like Jack, Nadia, Evelyn, and Quinn, takes a lot of money and the right connections to hire.
The case itself also stirs old memories for Nadia, an incident from her childhood that has haunted her ever since. It's responsible for the events that disgraced her as a cop, and it's a large part of why she is who she is, and why she turned to professional hits in the first place. Only Jack knows some of the details, pieces that she trusted him with in the past. Now, Nadia's remembering more than she ever has about that long ago night, answering some questions for the reader and for Nadia, while also raising new ones.
A satisfying read, this sequel further develops the characters and their relationships, while delivering a solid story for them to work through. The end of this book will leave you eager for more, and wondering when the next Nadia Stafford book is due to hit shelves. Once again, Kelley Armstrong delivers!
With "Made to Be Broken", I knew what I would be getting into and was curious as to whether the author could keep me reading about a character whose morals and motivations are so different than the norm. In this book, Nadia becomes involved with the disappearance of a local unwed, teen mother and her baby. Other than one friend, nobody in the small town expresses real concern about her disappearance; after all, she's the Canadian version of 'trailer trash'. But for Nadia, this disappearance brings back memories of a tragedy in her childhood and she'll have to face the demons that still haunt her while struggling to come to terms with what her life is now and what her future will look like.
I was riveted to the scenes of Nadia's equivalent of soul-searching. So far, all her kills have been 'bad' people. But to be a contract killer and protect her 'other', normal life...will that have to change? Can she justify killing on demand? And if not, where exactly does she draw the line?
All this is wrapped up in the mystery of the teen mom and baby. Nadia's also dealing with two men, both of whom she has feelings for...but different feelings. Both men can accept Nadia for what she is, both now know about her two separate lives, and both want something from her. But figuring out what they want and what she herself wants is part of this story, so I'll just leave it there.
I wasn't in the least disappointed with book two of Nadia's story. In fact, I'm greedy now for book three. If tense, pseudo-psychological murder mysteries interest you, I highly recommend Kelley Armstrong's Nadia Stafford series.
When Nadia returns to her prime business she has a fight with her employee. Seventeen year old Sammi Ernst lives with her little daughter Destiny who accompanies her on her job. Sammi pays more attention to her child than her work so a frustrated Nadia explains her duties to the teen mother. When the mother and daughter vanish, Nadia searches for a grave. With Jack's help she finds it, but Destiny remains missing. Since the cops believe Sammi ran away, they refuse to look for her. Nadia, Jack, and Quinn discover there are other crimes when a disenfranchised teenage mom with a baby disappears. Mindful of an incident in her past, Nadia wants to take out those who caused Sammi's death and find the still missing infant. Jack and Quinn assist her on her avenging quest for justice.
Known for her Otherworld tales, Kelly Armstrong also writes exciting refreshing and enthralling sagas that are every bit as great as her urban fantasy sagas. The protagonist believes everyone she kills deserves their fate so when the Canadian legal system fails she becomes an avenging Lady Justice if the case is personal. However, she is not someone to role model after as she also kills in cold blood as a means of making money. Though not admirable, she is refreshing and fascinating as are her two cronies. MADE TO BE BROKEN is filled with twists and blind cul de sacs, but it is the lead trio especially the lodge owner who turn this into an entertaining thriller.
When I finished the last book Nadia was still in the air about becoming a vigilante for hire. Made to be Broken opens with Nadia (or Dee to her colleagues) helping vigilante for hire Quinn take out one of his targets who had escaped the law. Quinn and Nadia had met in Exit Strategy and their relationship forms one of the subplots of this book.
Nadia then returns to her regular life running her wilderness lodge and dealing with a problem new employee Sammi Ernst. Sammi is a teenaged single mother from the worst family in town. When Sammi and her baby disappear nobody seems to notice or even care, everyone had written Sammi off from birth but Nadia is determined track down her missing employee.
At the same time, Nadia offers her mentor Jack a place to recover from a broken foot and he soon joins the investigation.
Nadia and Jack eventually find Sammi without her baby Destiny and the rest of the story is trying to track down the baby. Quinn joins the team and helps them. To say more than that would being giving too much away.
Matters are complicated by the arrival of Evelyn with a possible offer of a vigilante gig with a mysterious group called The Contrapasso Fellowship. Whilst Nadia rejects the offer, the idea of a group that exist to make the punishment fit the crime is intriguing and hopefully they will appear in any sequels.
One theme that ran through the book was that of destiny. Sammi's daughter is named Destiny. Nadia talks about Sammi was "made to be broken" and it was essentially Sammi's destiny to end up that way. Nadia compares Sammi to her cousin Amy, another girl everyone had written off and seemingly destined for the fate that awaited her. Nadia at one point ponders her own destiny questioning the vigilante darkness that makes her hunt down evil men.
Once again Armstrong has delivered a book with strong action scenes and soul seraching. I found myself pondering if we are too quick to judge people based on their background and what level of crime is okay to take a life. I went into the book expecting that Nadia would make a decision one way or the other about a vigilante lifestyle but I was not disappointed with the outcome.