Thursday, March 25, 2010

Made to be Broken by Kelley Armstrong

Book Details
Made to be Broken by Kelley Armstrong
Paperback, 416 pages
2009, Bantam
ISBN: 0553588389
Series: Book 2 of Nadia Stafford

Nadia Stafford isn’t your typical nature lodge owner. An ex-cop with a legal code all her own, she’s known only as “Dee” to her current employer: a New York crime family that pays her handsomely to bump off traitors. But when Nadia discovers that a troubled teenage employee and her baby have vanished in the Canadian woods, the memory of a past loss comes back with a vengeance and her old instincts go into overdrive.

With her enigmatic mentor, Jack, covering her back, Nadia unearths sinister clues that point to an increasingly darker and deadlier mystery. Now, with her obsession over the case deepening, the only way Nadia can right the wrongs of the present is to face her own painful ghosts—and either bury them for good, or die trying. Because in her book everyone deserves a chance. And everyone deserves justice.

Nadia is a genuinely unique character, a female assassin who occasionally manages to show a little weakness. She has her own demons, as most assassins (especially female ones) in novels do, but she often thinks about her cousin's rape and murder instead of pushing it aside. She seems less hardened than other characters in the same types of books.

Nadia's relationship with Quinn progresses slightly further but she is also beginning to view Jack as a potential love interest. When considering who is better for her, I find it strange that I'm thinking of these other assassins may be either too light-hearted for her or too much of a father figure. It makes me realize that even with the small amount of background Armstrong has shared about the characters, she's managed to make them much deeper than just "other assassins."

The mystery of the novel, the killing of teen moms, is dealt with without having to experience the murder which keeps the novel from getting too dark. The tone is kept light by focusing a lot on Nadia's home and work life at the lodge. The cousin's rape and murder is mentioned quite often in both this book and the last. It seems like an awful lot of attention to be paid to one childhood event, even a lifestyle defining event such as this. I hope that this focus is leading to something in the grand scheme of the series storyline because we know it's her motivation for being an assassin and don't need to be constantly reminded.

Made to be Broken is a great follow up to Exit Strategy. The potential love triangle is really heating up the series and I really hope a third book is coming.


Kelley Armstrong's


  1. This is the only series of hers I haven't tried yet. I keep up with the Otherworld series and I'm excited about getting my hands on The Reckoning, but I dunno about this one...

    I definitely agree with you that if one specific childhood event keeps repeatedly coming up, it better be leading somewhere. Sometimes I'm surprised the way she plays things out. Perhaps now I'll have to give this series a go :)

  2. I had no idea that Kelley Armstrong had a suspense/thriller series (it's not paranormal, right?). This sounds like a pretty good read. If you can believe it, I've only read one of her books...Bitten! I have a lot of catching up to do! Great review!

  3. I love Armstrong's other books but for some reason I've never been interested in trying this series. Guess it just isn't the type of book that I generally read.

  4. Hmm, I've been debating on reading this series even though I'm a big fan of Kelley's. It does look good, might see if the library has a copy of the first book.