When I read Falling, the first book in Elsborg’s “Fall and Break” series, one secondary character stood out. Conrad Black was written as sort of a ‘villain’ but the complexity of his character made him very intriguing for me as a reader and I wanted so much to read HIS story. I was very excited when I read news that “Breaking” would indeed feature Conrad. When I saw the book being offered for review at Netgalley, I didn’t even think twice.
Unfortunately, this book disappointed me in so many level … but most prominently, the way Conrad was written. The Conrad in this book was very different than the Conrad I knew from book #1. I felt like he suffered from a characterization surgery. Gone was his complexity. Gone was the contradictory of dominant, rather manipulative, but kind (in his own way) man that I was intrigued upon. Instead, I felt that Conrad’s dominance was reduced somewhat because his love interest was another dominant man. An assassin named Archer Hart. And the relationship between these two dominant men, especially when sex was involved, became a fight to see who was the weaker between the two, who would be willing to submit to another.
When the story started, Conrad suffered from physical injury that forced him to take six-months leave from his job. He was hit by a car, he was temporarily paralyzed and he needed to undergo physiotherapy to restore his strength and movement. This already didn’t sit well with me because I saw it as a means to make Conrad physically weaker than Archer. WHY? Why couldn’t Conrad be in all of his glory, as a successful and ruthless barrister, who could butt-head with Archer anytime he wanted. If this was meant to make the story more emotional — it failed to deliver. It didn’t have the same emotional connection like in book #1.
There was a mystery in between the romance; as both Archer and Conrad found out that there were men planning to kill them. This didn’t really pick up until about last third of the book, and probably the reason why I forced myself to read it until the very end.
Bottom line, I found the characters bland and the sex scenes were way too much for my liking. Oh, there was plenty of sex in book #1 too, but somehow I felt all of those was quite important. In here though, it felt gratuitous. I only liked Archer’s dog, Deefor. The dog stole all the spotlight as he had more personality that these two men combined.
Most likely this would be my last of Elsborg because I could see that “Falling” was a one hit wonder for me. As always, my opinion is my own. If you love Elsborg’s previous works, I think you will enjoy it.
The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
Title: Breaking (Fall and Break, #2)
Author: Barbara Elsborg
Genre: MM Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 102,403
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: July 28, 2015