Friday, 26 June 2009

Made to be Broken by Kelley Armstrong

The second in the Nadia Stafford series, Made to be Broken follows ex-cop Nadia Stafford as she investigates the disappearance of a teenage mother and her baby. With support from her hitman mentor Jack, and Quinn another hitman, she pursues a quest for justice for a girl that no one misses.

If you like your heroes and heroines to be morally superior then this might not be the story for you. But if the morally grey area between right and wrong intrigues you I'd recommend this series.

Whilst the main plot fills in more details about Nadia's past - as her desire to find out what happened to Sammi (the teenage mother) becomes an obsession - it is the interactions between Nadia and Jack that had me compulsively turning the pages. However, Kelley Armstrong makes it clear that Nadia's past is still a huge influence on her current life, her current thought processes and how she deals with the situations she finds herself.

I'm a huge Kelley Armstrong fan. I love the way she can get you into a character's head with just a few lines. And what I love most about the Nadia Stafford series is the relationship between Jack and Nadia. In a way I find them a more interesting couple that Clay and Elena. Maybe because a lot of 'stuff' between the werewolves comes down to instinct. Jack and Nadia don't have that, they have to rely on talking to each other. And as Jack doesn't

I'll briefly mention here that there is also a subplot about Nadia's continuing relationship with Quinn. But back to the good stuff. :)

Jack and Nadia. Their conversations in some ways remind me of those e-mail meme's - what people say and what they mean. Nadia is very visual and logical in her responses to Jack, she has a tendency to take what he says literally and doesn't read between the lines. Jack then cues his responses from Nadia's response to him.
"You don't need to be sarcastic."
"And you don't need to be stupid."
It would be frustrating if you didn't know that somewhere subconsciously Nadia knows what her feelings for Jack are. And I think part of the reason she responds the way she does is because the strength of her feelings is almost overwhelming. So she represses them.

As a reader you see different things to the characters. You have the luxury of being objective. Jack offers to get Nadia a corner gun and I'm put in mind of the courtship rituals of birds. "Look at what I can get you...Look at what I can provide." But obviously he doesn't say that. And Nadia chooses to assume that he's only getting her the gun so she can test it out and then teach him how to use it. (Which okay, I could be reading too much between the lines here, but it almost seems like it's screaming out.)That's not to say he doesn't respect her skills as a hitman.
"...Were you going to shout after me, 'Oh, by the way, this could be a trap'?"
"Nah. Hate shouting."
At the moment it seems to be unclear whether there will be any more books in the series and I think it would be a damn shame if there weren't. Jack and Nadia are one of my favourite couples. They are unconventional, have sexual chemistry that virtually scorches the page even though they haven't even kissed and I WANT to know what's going to happen to them next.


Marg said...

I really hope that there is another Nadia Stafford book because i just love Nadia and Jack together. I do think that in this book Nadia did have some realisation of what her feelings are but that she then suppressed those feelings. She is also being dishonest with herself about Quinn as well really.

LesleyW said...

Marg - I really hope there will be anothe book as I think there is still so much story there waiting to be told.

And I agree that whenever those feelings bubbled up, she slapped them down.

Carolyn Crane (aka CJ) said...

Yes, yes yes! Great review, and I too SO hope to see more of Jack and Nadia! I love that you say this:'

"Jack offers to get Nadia a corner gun and I'm put in mind of the courtship rituals of birds."

Sweet! What a great observation.

Janicu said...

I think there will be a third book but it will be a while since Armstrong has her other series to work on. Man, I LURVEEE Nadia and Jack though. Cannot wait!

Tracy said...

This sounds like a good series but I haven't bitten the bullet yet. Someday soon though. Your review makes me want to read it more. :)

LesleyW said...

CJ - thanks.

Janicu - that's great news. I look forward to reading more about Jack and Nadia, they are definitely one of my favourite couples.

Tracy - I'm all about the book pimping, lol. You need to start with Exit Strategy.

Sarah said...

I started to read the 1st book in the series ages ago but just could not get into it. Might give it another go I think!