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Scorched Continent #2

Break the Chains

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As the city that produces the most selium - that precious gas that elevates airships and powers strange magic - Hond Steading is a jewel worth stealing. To shore up the city's defenses, Detan promises his aunt that he'll recover Nouli, the infamous engineer who built the century gates that protect the imperial capital of Valathea. But Nouli is imprisoned on the Remnant Isles, an impervious island prison run by the empire, and it's Detan's fault. Detan doesn't dare approach Nouli himself, so his companions volunteer to get themselves locked up to make contact with Nouli and convince him to help. Now Detan has to break them all out of prison, and he's going to need the help of a half-mad doppel to do it.


First published September 1, 2016

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About the author

Megan E. O'Keefe

17 books657 followers
Megan E. O'Keefe was raised amongst journalists, and as soon as she was able joined them by crafting a newsletter which chronicled the daily adventures of the local cat population. She has worked in both arts management and graphic design, and spends her free time tinkering with anything she can get her hands on.

Megan lives in the Bay Area of California. She's won the Gemmell Morningstar Award for her fantasy debut, Steal the Sky, and is represented by Sam Morgan.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 38 reviews
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,232 reviews1,016 followers
December 6, 2016
An excellent sequel to the excellent "Steal The Sky." I highly recommend reading "Steal the Sky" first however, as it contains a lot of fairly necessary character generation and background information which will definitely enhance your enjoyment of this one.

Pretty much all the main characters from the first book make a re-appearance, and we find ourselves dropped right into the middle of an audacious plot.

The charming rogue and reluctant heir to Honding, Detan, has decided that the only way to save his ancestral steading from military ravages is to retrieve a genius scientist/engineer from a notorious jail. In order to do so, the upstanding watch captain Ripka, along with "new chum" Enard, have gotten themselves sentenced under false charges of espionage. The plan is that Detan will find Captain Pelkaia, convince her to help (by hook or by crook) and zip down in an airship to rescue them from prison once they locate the engineer.

Sound like a bit of a tenuous - even half-baked - scheme? Well, it kind of is. Throughout the book, things keep not going quite as expected, and teetering on the edge of disaster. It makes for a fun, action-packed story, half prison drama and half steampunk-y airship adventure.

Megan O'Keefe has established herself as an author that I'll follow.

Many thanks to Angry Robot and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel. As always, my opinions are solely my own.

Profile Image for Beth Cato.
Author 109 books537 followers
August 14, 2016
I received this from the publisher via NetGalley. The book will be released in October 2016.

Steal the Sky was one of my favorite books last year, a steampunk mash-up of lovable rogues and magic with a Firefly-like vibe. Therefore, I was really excited to get to read the sequel early. It lived up to my expectations. One caveat: do read Steal the Sky first! O'Keefe has created an incredibly complex world, and she jumps straight into the action in Break the Chains.

Detan and his posse dive into dangerous mischief. In order to protect his home, Detan needs an engineer who is locked up on an island prison. Therefore, the companions are split up: the honorable Ripka and Enard infiltrate the prison to find the engineer, while Detan seeks out the doppel Pelkaia and her stolen airship (which he stole first) to get her assistance to retrieve everyone else from jail. Of course, nothing goes according to plan. I found Ripka's plot particularly fascinating--it was a sort of steampunk Orange is the New Black, with rival prisoner factions, abundant corruption, and magic. The action is fast-paced throughout, building up to a conclusion that made me wail in despair because of a cliffhanger ending. Alas! I must now impatiently wait for the next book, but I have a hunch it will be well worth the wait.
Profile Image for Kurt Rocourt.
381 reviews1 follower
January 15, 2019
I really wanted to like this book but it was a chore. It started as a chore and then became a job. I read the first book and felt it had a lot of ideas but not one central idea. I hoped that this book would pick one central idea and stick with it to the end. Well it got down to three ideas but the rest of the book was difficult. It takes place one year after the first book but where everyone is going in this book is odd. One character is now gathering a rebellion. One character is now a pirate/liberator. One character went from being a stoic law enforcer to prisoner. And another character didn't change. The book doesn't figure out where it wants to go until the last few chapters. That was similar to the first book. But unlike the first book this book ends with my thinking,"why do I feel like he just just got offered heroine". The idea is that he did get offered something as addictive as heroine but hopefully in the next book it can be overcome. That is something we'll all find out in the next book. All that being said I am actually looking forward to the next book. I think this author has a lot of ideas that can work well together. Each book has had some level of improvement. My hope is that this next book brings all her skills together for the next book. This one was just too much of a chore for me. I don't want to read a book like this if it has to be a chore. I'll skip the chores and have someone else do them for me.

I read this book via NetGalley. I thank them for this book. #NetGalley
Profile Image for John McDermott.
373 reviews48 followers
February 24, 2020
Break the Chains sees Detan, Tibs and the rest of the crew reunited for another adventure in which they must infiltrate a prison in order to break out a scientist. I thought the writing in this book to be much improved than Steal the Sky and along with the plot was much tighter. Enjoyable characters throughout although New Chums characterisation was a little underwhelming. Good action with plenty of swash to go with the buckle in what is essentially a Fantasy Steampunk Ocean's 11. Very good entertainment. 3.75 stars
Profile Image for Ubiquitousbastard.
801 reviews62 followers
June 9, 2017
I kind of forgot I was reading this last year. That's not a great endorsement for a book, the fact that I completely forgot it existed until I saw its sequel was coming out.

I wasn't overly in love with the first book for a few reasons, and this book unfortunately suffered from similar problems. One such problem, is the fact that I don't really like any of the characters. It really isn't that hard to make characters with different personalities, but these books tend to have several people I can only differentiate by name. Seriously, both of the female main characters, you can take their dialogue and switch it for the other's and wouldn't be able to notice anything weird. I don't like that at all.

Overall, I wasn't impressed. It was decently paced and it wasn't as though I suffered through reading it, I just didn't really enjoy it.
Profile Image for Mike.
Author 45 books154 followers
August 29, 2016
Some authors need a lot of editing, and, judging from the pre-release version I read (and the first in the series, which I also read before its release), this author is one of those. I hope she gets it, because underneath a great many vocabulary fumbles and some comma and tense mistakes, there's a well-told story here. At the same time, I didn't feel as engaged in this book as I did with the previous one, and I'm struggling to put my finger on exactly why.

The protagonists have clear goals, which they pursue determinedly and at cost, against fit opposition. This would normally make for a compelling story, but I wasn't quite compelled. Perhaps I was looking for the characters to succeed a little more frequently in making progress towards their goals, though they do succeed occasionally.

Could it be that the two main viewpoint characters are separated throughout the book, so we keep switching from one to the other, and they never actually appear in a scene together (even when they're in almost the same place)? That may be part of it. I seem to remember that they were separate for much of Book 1, but they did join up partway through that book and have some interaction. Here, they don't interact at all with each other. Each one has a sidekick to talk to, although of the two sidekicks, only Tibs is really developed much, and his role is mainly to insult his friend in order to keep him mentally stable. Otherwise, the sidekicks don't contribute very much to the plot that any other generic character in the same situation couldn't contribute, and this seems like a lost opportunity.

Then, too, we don't have an onstage villain through most of the story, either. While the viewpoint characters face opposition, much of it is circumstantial, or from people who have somewhat adjacent, rather than opposing, agendas, and who either become or could become allies. The first book had a strong onstage villain with her own clear agenda, in opposition to the heroes', and that, I think, made it more engaging.

I liked this (setting aside the many failures of vocabulary, which, as I say, hopefully will be fixed); but I didn't love it, and I'm not sure I'll pick up the sequel. It's a story with a lot of potential, but I didn't feel that potential was fully realised.
Profile Image for Koeur.
1,080 reviews21 followers
August 26, 2016

Publisher: Angry Robot

Publishing Date: October 2016

ISBN: 9780857664945

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 2.7/5

Publishers Description: As the city that produces the most selium – that precious gas that elevates airships and powers strange magic – Hond Steading is a jewel worth stealing. To shore up the city’s defenses, Detan promises his aunt that he’ll recover Nouli, the infamous engineer who built the century gates that protect the imperial capital of Valathea. But Nouli is imprisoned on the Remnant Isles, an impervious island prison run by the empire, and it’s Detan’s fault.

Review: Wow, that cover art is hideous. The preface in this novel is a consortium of accolades from reviewers, both paid and not, that herald “Steal the Sky“. Which is cool but has nothing to do with “Break the Chains“. It is hard to follow up the genius rendered in Steal the Sky but O’keefe does a good job bringing beloved characters back to life for a second round.

Expectations for a follow up novel that wowed like the first, fell short. There is nothing that gathers excitement in Break as nobody goes anywhere. Detan and crew get into some scrapes and bounce around but there is no quest that generates an interest in new discoveries. The other half of this novel is about Ripka and her life in prison with minor twists and turns. Mostly Ripka flounces around from one event to another while waiting for events to culminate. The problem is you’re left waiting as well. Phrasing rears it’s ugly head with shiver, shivered and shivering used 21x.

I still really liked this novel perhaps founded on a love of the first and here is to hoping that it gets off the pot in the third.
Profile Image for Jess Crafts.
272 reviews45 followers
August 26, 2016
I read the first book in this series a few months ago and I absolutely loved it (I mean seriously one of the best books I’ve read this year) so when I received the sequel in exchange for a review on netgalley I was mega excited. I was also slightly apprehensive to read it as I really wanted it to be good. Well, I am so glad to say that this book lived up to my pretty high expectations perfectly. I loved it.

Detan is back and just as cocky as ever but we get to go deeper into each of the characters this time. We also get to see more of the fantastic world that was built in the first book. It’s got everything I love in a book: amazing characters, airships, adventure, cons, magic. You should definitely check this out (read the first book first!) if you love anything with cocky con-men a la The Gentlemen Bastards or Six of Crows.
Profile Image for Sarah Sammis.
7,241 reviews215 followers
December 25, 2022
I'm finished for now. The book is just all over the place and I'm not engaged enough in any of the three plots to want to keep going. I skipped to the last 50 pages to see how it wraps up.

I suppose the difference scenes are taking place relatively simultaneously. I think the novel is trying for a cinematic, action packed experience. I have to admit, I struggle with this type of storytelling in print (and always have). This volume started out fun. I do love the world and what can be done by certain people. But as the book progressed, it became work to read, and not fun work.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lianne Pheno.
1,217 reviews69 followers
May 26, 2019

Ce tome est vraiment dans la continuité du précédent niveau aventures, bien que peut être un peu moins surprenant maintenant qu'on connait le monde et avec un chouilla plus de longueurs au milieu. Mais il n'en reste pas moins une lecture fun et très agréable.

Detan a promis qu'il protégerait Hond Steading, la ville de sa tante des assauts de l'empire. Pour ce faire quelle meilleur idée que d'aller chercher Noulu, l'ingénieur et génie de la manipulation de selium qui a imaginé les protections impénétrables de la grande porte de la capitale de l'empire.

Celui ci est actuellement enfermé à Remnant Isles, une des prisons de l'empire située sur une ile au milieu de nulle part.

Mais Detan ne peux pas aller le chercher lui même, car si Nouli est actuellement emprisonné c'est à cause de lui qui a détruit une partie du mur de la porte et déclenché une catastrophe qui a fait de nombreux dégâts il y a quelques années.

Il envoi donc deux compagnons dans la prison : Ripka, l'ancienne capitaine de la garde qui l'a aidé dans sa précédente aventure et Enard (surnommé New Chum) le serveur qui avait rejoint l'aventure à la même période. Ceux deux la vont devoir trouver Nouli et le convaincre de les aider.
Pendant ce temps Detan et Tibs sont chargés de trouver un moyen de les faire tous sortir de la ...

J'avais déjà bien détaillé la particularité de ce monde dans ma chronique du tome 1 : Steal the Sky, mais je vais vous le résumer à nouveau ici pour les nouveaux.

Dans ce monde il existe un gaz appelé Selium qui, en plus d'être plus léger que l'air, a des propriété magique exploitables par une partie de la population.
Ceux qui sont capable de le sentir sont appelés Sensibles. Mais il y a les sensibles acceptés par l'empire, qui sont à sa solde et travaillent avec leurs pouvoirs pour extraire et manipuler celui ci ... et les autres.

Detan notre personnage principal est l'un de ceux ci. Depuis qu'on lui a découvert des pouvoirs un peu trop bizarres pour être utiles, il est en fuite. Si il se fait attraper il n'aura que deux issues : soit comme cobaye pour des expériences pas du tout agréables dans les laboratoires de l'empire, soit mort car jugé trop dangereux.

Il faut savoir que l'usage du selium est addictif. Une fois qu'on a commencé à l'utiliser on a toujours envie d'en avoir plus, et de céder. C'est comme ça que l'empire "tient" ses propres sensibles, en étant l'unique fournisseur de leur drogue.

Dans le tome précédent Detan a découvert une petite communauté nomade de sensibles déviants qui vit sur un vaisseau toujours en mouvement histoire d’échapper à l'empire. Il aimerais bien les rejoindre mais son propre pouvoir est bien trop dangereux pour ça car sa particularité est de pouvoir faire exploser le selium.
Il a en permanence envie de faire usage de ses pouvoirs et seule sa volonté l’empêche de causer la destruction partout ou il passe...


J'ai bien apprécie ce tome ci. Certes je trouve qu'on a perdu un peu du plaisir de la découverte mais c'est très souvent le cas pour les second tomes donc ça ne m'étonne pas du tout.

On peut dire que le principal attrait de ce tome ci est l'évolution personnelle des personnages qui prend un tournant plus important, sans parler de l'aventure, bien sur.

Ripka et Nex Chum se découvrent en prison. Aussi bien au niveau du passé de ce dernier dont on ne savait finalement rien jusqu'ici, que de la réalisation de ses propres limites par Ripka.
Elle voit finalement son ancien métier par l'autre coté de la barrière et c'est vraiment éclairant pour elle. Elle réalise ce qui n'allait pas forcement avant et elle ouvre les yeux sur la vrai vie de prisonnier.

De leur coté Detan et Tibs complotent et n'hésiteront pas une seule seconde à utiliser des personnes contre leur gré pour obtenir ce qu'ils souhaitent : la libération des prisonniers.

Contrairement à ce qu'on pourrait imaginer, le coté "s'enfuir de prison" n'est pas vraiment central au final dans ce livre, me surprenant une fois encore par rapport à ce que je m'imaginais avant de le commencer (j'avais déjà été surprise dans le premier pour la même raison). Finalement on passe plus de temps sur les préparatifs qui consistent à se rendre nécessaire pour que les personnes utiles les aident.

La loyauté que ce groupe de personnages ressentent les uns pour les autres est vraiment un élément central ici.
Ils se font confiance alors que pourtant les chances d'échec de ce plan sont nombreuses car si c'était si facile de s'enfuir de la prison ça aurait été réalisé de nombreuses fois avant.

Pour autant c'est vrai que j'ai trouvé le temps un peu long à certains moments. Il se passe un temps assez conséquent entre le moment ou le plan est lancé et celui ou il commence à avancer, que ça soit du coté des prisonnier que des sauveurs. Je pense qu'avec 50 pages de moins le rythme aurait été plus actif sur l'ensemble.

Par contre je dois dire que j'ai vraiment apprécié le final de ce tome. C'est certes un sacré cliffhanger pour la suite, mais surtout c'est une décision logique pour Detan, même si elle est très difficile.
Il va vraiment lui falloir du courage pour s'en sortir aussi bien mentalement que physiquement ensuite mais je ne voyait pas vraiment d'autres solutions à long terme au problème qui se posait.
Espérons que les résultats seront à la hauteur !

Profile Image for Andrea Stewart.
Author 24 books1,644 followers
March 22, 2017
Break the Chains is a wonderful follow-up to Steal the Sky! I feel like it's easy for an author to hit a sophomore slump with the second book, but O'Keefe's second book is tightly written, suspenseful, and full of heart.

I really enjoyed the revealing and deepening of all the characters. I felt like I knew Detan, Tibs, and Ripka pretty well by the end of the first book, but the situations they get themselves into in book 2 reveal more of who they are and the things they've been through in the past. Pelkaia was more of a mystery in book 1, but I loved her arc in book 2. She's a loner in Steal the Sky, and in Break the Chains, she needs to learn how to work with others and what kind of leader she wants to be.

Ah, and Tibs and Detan! I adore their camaraderie and how it forms the backbone for both books. While most of their interactions are lighthearted, this book definitely broke my heart.

If you liked the first book, you'll definitely enjoy this one! And if you haven't read the first one yet, well, what are you doing here? Go get it!
Profile Image for Linda Robinson.
Author 4 books134 followers
March 29, 2017
Love this series. The 3rd Scorched Continent book doesn't come out until 4 April. ACKH! In this book, we join Pelkaia aboard the disguised Larkspur, with her exec Coss, rescued Jeffin, Laella, Essi sailing to rescue a deviant about to be tossed off a ledge. "Ho, watchers!" she hails, and the game's afoot. This book is rambunctious, a careering train of scrapes into scuffles into struggles. Lord Detan Honding is up to his tattooed neck in one of his gone-awry plans. Fugitive Ripka Leshe (nee Watch Captain) and New Chum are locked up at the Remnant, a fortress of a prison in the deeps of the Endless Sea in search of the engineer who can save Hond Steading from the imperial forces after the selium. Romping great read. Honding and his crew conjure Madmardigan in Willow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cldBI... A sophomore book that's better than the first. Hi ho! Started smiling at the first sentence and am still. O'Keefe is a marvelous reader's writer.
135 reviews8 followers
December 3, 2016
There are enough twists and turns in this book to fit in well with the genre but I got to the end feeling I hadn't really understood exactly what had been going on. This comes as a consequence of virtually all authors writing a fantasy novel wanting to make their individual novels all part of a trilogy or a series – and O'Keefe is one of those authors. This push, coming from lazy publishers who hope that if they chance upon a success then they can let the novels own fame do the work for them, has an impact upon what writers think they should produce.

This, therefore, puts a lot more pressure on the writer. Book One sets the scene but in Book two they have to be careful not to bore those who might have read the first one whilst not leaving those who have only read the second bemused at the plot line.

I found myself in the latter group and after 362 pages I wasn't clear of the mysterious 'sel' nor the real reasons for the war that was breaking out in the Empire. I wasn't really sure who were the good and bad guys as, apart from the prison, there wasn't much of the Empire in evidence.

The personal antagonisms between some of the principal characters was hinted at but I couldn't work out the reasons for the mistrust that dominated their relationships. O'Keefe just assumes that her readers know the history behind these conflicts but that's not enough.

A series of books based in real history, such as a recent past war, have less of a problem but when we have people in an imaginary world there's nothing for the reader who enters the narrative at a point not the beginning to hang on to.

Here, again, I don't think it's necessarily the author's fault. It all stems from the belief that stand alone books are more difficult to sell and therefore less likely to be taken up buy mainstream publishers – especially when the authors are unknown.

Perhaps it's unfair to review a book by criticising the way the publishing industry is developing but this background made it difficult for me to really get into the story as it unfolded. The more I read the more questions I had and seemed to be getting further away from the answers.
Profile Image for Daniel.
2,388 reviews36 followers
July 4, 2017
This review originally published in Looking For a Good Book. Rated 3.0 of 5

I wasn't a big fan of the first book in this series, but I already had/have books two and three in my ARC queue and have decided to try to give the series a chance - particularly in light of all the great reviews it is getting, and because I generally really like this publisher.

'Selium' is a gas with some unusual properties that makes airships float and gives some people magical powers. Some people are 'sel-sensitive'. Of course the city that produces most of the selium is a city at risk of being taken over and so Hond Steading plans to beef up its defenses. To do this, he city leaders would like to have Nouli - a top-notch engineer who designed the gates that protect the capital of Valathea. But Nouli is being held prisoner on a remote island prison. And it's all Detan's fault.

Detan is our hero, returning from the previous book. He is the 'lovable rogue' pastiche - a little bit Han Solo (Star Wars), a little bit Mal (Firefly), a little bit Peter Quill (Guardians of the Galaxy) but without the inherent charm of these venerable characters.

Detan doesn't want to approach Nouli himself, so he assembles some friends to make contact, but things don't go according to plan, and now Detan has to try to get them all out of prison. But it's hard to enlist help when you've burned a few bridges.

Captain Pelkai plays a bigger role here and that definitely works in author O'Keefe's favor as she's the most focused and defined character - because she gets the chance to grow slowly for the reader.

It was definitely easier to get in to the story this time around as I already had a moderate understanding of the characters and the world. O'Keefe didn't have to try to bring the reader in to something completely new and explain it while moving the plot forward. But if we're not creating a new world for the reader, what are we doing for 400 pages? Good question.

I still felt that I was being pulled along on a journey that had no focus. There's some plot (Protect the city! Get Nouli out of prison! etc) but this still feels like a character-driven story but without any real focus on the characters.

And I'm still missing the big picture.

I'll grant you that this could very well be my own fault ... that I'm simply not seeing something right in front of me. But I know this is a part of a series (or trilogy) and I am not getting a sense of where this is headed. Is this a story about Detan and what he does? Is this a story about the unusual element of selium and the effects it creates? Is this a business/political sci-fi story with a rogue-ish pirate interrupting things? Is it a little bit of all of these? But the bottom line is that I don't know what this story ... this series ... is about yet.

Looking for a good book? Break the Chains by Megan E. O'Keefe is the second book in the Scorched Continent series and is a step up from the first book, but still wanders and lacks some focus.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ju Transcendancing.
451 reviews19 followers
October 16, 2016
An eARC of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Break the Chains is a fantastic follow up to Steal the Sky. This is what anticipating a new fantasy series should feel like! I really enjoyed the first book in this series Steal the Sky last year and so I was delighted to be invited to review the second book, and I'm definitely looking forward to the third!

I love the characters in this series, and what I love about Detan, Tibs, Ripka and the rest this time is that we're seeing a progression in their stories and personality. I also appreciate that we get a hint into the way they're forming connections between each other as well, including respect for each other bit by bit. Seeing Ripka challenged by her prison experience was really interesting, partly because she was the prisoner and partly because she can't turn off her 'Watch Captain' view and she notices all the ways in which she would do things differently. She does use this to her advantage, but some of it is simply evaluation through the character's eyes. I love the band of women she falls in with and the way she works with Enard (we met him as 'New Chum' in book 1) to find a key to dealing with the Empire's influence is fantastic.

I love the way Detan and Tibs work together and let nothing stand in their way to go and rescue Ripka as per the plan they made. He is single-minded in his determination to be trustworthy and to succeed in this plan and it makes him endearing and lessens some of the egotism that was present in the first book. Actually, even though I don't think Detan grew or changed too dramatically in this book, he was confronted with himself a lot, and subsequently the reader learns more of how he came to be such a person and how he and Tibs are so bound together. This story of friendship in all directions was very satisfying to read.

Actually overall I have to say one of the best qualities of this series and these stories is the emphasis on loyalty and the way that is explored - it's not just friendship, and it's not just duty. It's both of those things and more, but it makes for a very satisfying story to read. The worldbuilding continues to be interesting and we see more of the surrounds beyond the city in which we first met our band of rogues. I love this slow unfolding - it adds to the character of the story, the Empire begins to take shape and the politics and ramifications unfold gently - they're not a focus of this book so much, not really. Although I wonder if that will be a strong theme in the third (and I presume final) book in the series. There are elements that speak to diversity in this book and the series, but they're soft and not overt - either in that lovely background but clearly signposted way, or as a plot point (which gets tiresome). I get the strong sense that not all the characters are white, but I am not sure and that could be wishful on my part. There are several female identifying characters, some younger and older characters, and there are characters from different class backgrounds. I didn't note any queer identifying or disabled characters - which I will say is a shame because I think this world is a ripe setting for it - and if we can have airships, then surely queer and/or disabled characters is not a stretch?

This is a book that you cannot read as a standalone, it follows the events in 'Steal the Sky' and leads into the events of the book to come. But the series is excellent and I'd recommend it highly - especially with such a solid second book following a stand out first book.
Profile Image for AilsaOD.
146 reviews
September 14, 2020

Oh wow this was good! I am currently kicking myself for not having the 3rd book on hand!

This book cuts between Detan and Ripka's POVs equally, although I would still say Detan is probably still the main character (maybe?). The world continues to expand well and focuses on a coastal part of the Scorched.

I really felt for Detan (most of the time) in this book which is quite something seeing as I couldn't stand him at the beginning of the first book. Tibs gets a lot more development than he got in the first book and we see more of their friendship which was very nice.

Ripka's part of the book is more focused on figuring out conspiracies and not dying but is still interesting.

The dual perspective format was good but infuriating. There were numerous cliffhanger chapter endings and then the next chapter would be in the other POV. This made me read the book mostly in two sittings. Also can I just say that the emotional moments in this hit pretty hard - a couple of scenes in particular had no right to be like that!

I've no idea how book 3 is going to go from here but I look forward to finding out!

Profile Image for Netti.
485 reviews12 followers
June 22, 2018
Fantasy, first published 2016

Ein Ingenieur und Universalgenie mit Namen Nouli Bern - haha, das ist ein bisschen plump, aber trotzdem eine nette Idee. Tony New wäre weniger offensichtlich gewesen :-)))
Ich hätte da noch ein paar Ideen für Noulis Kollegen... Nits Libe??? Che Davin??? Ileo Gall???

Der zweite Band wirkt mehr wie ein klassischer Mantel-und-Degen/Piraten/Gentleman-Gauner-Roman als wie Fantasy. Mit einer Chateau-d'If-Episode. Liest sich etwas zäher, vermutlich wegen des ständigen Wechsels zwischen 2-3 Handlungssträngen von verschiedenen Personen an verschiedenen Orten. Ich beobachte diese "Technik" in letzter Zeit häufiger bei neuen Büchern - lernt man das in "Kreatives Schreiben" Kursen? ES NERVT!!! Nichts gegen mehrere Handlungsstränge, gerne auch fünf oder sieben. Aber nicht in so homöopathisch kleinen Kapiteln! Das ist, als würde man einen Löffel Suppe essen, dann ein Stück Lasagne, dann ein Löffelchen Tiramisu, dann wieder einen Löffel Suppe...
Profile Image for Earl Roske.
16 reviews1 follower
July 3, 2017
Probably my favorite of the three books in the series. (Three!? Why only three? Waaahaaa!)
Anyway. Moving on.
My favorite because it is the most surprising of the three. It's a lot like being in an old, abandoned building. Little weird things happen and it's nerve wracking wondering what's around the next corner but you can't not look and what you expect to see isn't what is there and is often even more surprising than what you'd imagined. So the heart gets a cardio workout and the brain gets an emotional rollercoaster ride. And, you get to hang out with some very interesting characters that are well developed and each has a goal. Or goals.
Profile Image for Grayson Fox.
17 reviews1 follower
July 18, 2020
Did I miss book 1.5 or something?

I liked the first book quite a bit and I enjoy O'Keefe as an author but I thought I had accidentally started reading book 3 here at first. I feel like there was a lot that happened off screen between books and I definitely felt a little fomo. Hoping for a little smoother transition in book 3.
Profile Image for Eran.
243 reviews
August 17, 2020
Much like the previous book. Same cons of amateur writing and blend-voiced characters and cartoonish banter, same pros of moving plot that holds some interest.
Unfortunately not much happens besides the plot moving along - it's still interesting, I'll probably read on, but it had the potential to be so much more than this.
Profile Image for Sara.
183 reviews
October 14, 2017
This one I loved even more than Steal the Sky. I felt as if I knew the characters even more and understood the world a little better. O'Keefe gets better and better with each book and I am LOVING this series.
Profile Image for Lynette.
Author 3 books2 followers
January 7, 2019
Seriously I love this series. Deaton is a wacky sarcastic character that is so much fun to be around and both the females leads could kick his ass up and down the ship. You can't find a better steampunk book.
264 reviews2 followers
May 27, 2022
a good 2nd book of a trilogy
Detan, Tibs, Ripka, New Chum and Pelkaia continue to rebel against Thratia and the Empire. This time they are on Remnant, a prison island to rescue Nouli to help them save Honding Stead.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
243 reviews9 followers
September 25, 2017
I thought this was better than the first book. I just felt the author has improved her craft in terms of pacing and characterization, but not enough to go from a 3 star to a 4 star rating.
Profile Image for Laura.
Author 14 books22 followers
October 23, 2017
I liked this book even better than its predecessor, . Now that all the pieces are on the board, things are getting *really* tense and interesting.
Profile Image for Darin.
400 reviews
September 30, 2019
Once again an otherwise good book is beset with unnecessary F-bombs everywhere.
445 reviews25 followers
August 16, 2016
*copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

Break the Chains is the second in Megan O’Keefe’s “The Scorched Continent” series. I took a look at the first one a little while ago, and felt that it had a lot of potential . The sequel bears that out, bringing some damaged and delightfully convincing characters into a vividly realised world.

We’ve seen parts of the Scorched Continent before, but this instalment focuses on new environs – in particular, on a maximum security prison. The facility isn’t a day at the beach – it’s designed to hold prisoners whom the government may one day find useful, and so there’s a range from political agitators to bloody-handed killers. The surrounding environment, an island of prison-worked agriculture surrounded by rampantly shark infested waters, carries echoes of Alcatraz. The hallways seem to exude a sort of slowly boiling menace, a sense that control is allowed here, rather than assumed. In amongst casual brutality, incompetence and authoritarianism, there’s some signs of friendship and humanity. O’Keefe gives us a space filled with the potential for violence, where social groupings form and bonds strengthen – or break – under pressure.

There’s some exploration of the outer world as well – one of our protagonists spending time infiltrating a military post, or on a deserted island in the middle of a darkening sea. It’s nice to see greener pastures, after the brutal-seeming deserts of the first volume, and the variety is sufficient to keep things interesting.

From a character standpoint, we’re back with Detan, the charming, often unlucky rogue from the first book. He’s still haunted by the ability he has to cause large explosions using a fairly pervasive magical material, counting the cost of his actions, and carrying the burden of the blame. There’s a sense of self-pity to some of this, as Detan struggles to come to terms with an aspect of himself that he’d rather pretend didn’t exist – but the portrayal of a man on the edge, seeking some sort of escape and redemption, driven to action but terrified by its consequences, is very well done.

The other part of the duo is back as well. Tibs serves as Detan’s everyman, a companion there to help Detan keep himself under control. Tibs suffers the consequences of his own actions, a raw take on post-traumatic stress disorder coming through in his actions with, and sympathy for, Detan.
Alongside the dynamic duo, we spend more time with Ripka and the charmingly named “New Chum” as they infiltrate the prison. The latter has more fleshed out backgroundover the course of the text, including a few surprises. There’s a deadliness and a gentleness in his words and deeds which work wonderfully in contrast.

Ripka remains her usual self, with an iron sense of rectitude, struggling to blend into a prison population which is rather less full of moral certainty than she. She’s a delight to read though – calm, focused, but humanly prone to failure, to misjudging a situation and then competently dealing with the consequences. If Detan and Tibs are the freewheeling section, prone to great highs and lows, then Ripka and New Chum are the professionals, working their angle with care and talent to turn things around.

They are, as ever, ably assisted by an excellent supporting cast, including other users of the magical ‘Selium’, a raft of imperial troops, and a prison population and staff ranging the gamut between violent psychopaths and charming professionals. There’s a great deal on display here, and it’s great to feel the characters from the first volume being fleshed out, as we discover the layers of their personalities, their hopes, fears, dreams and nightmares.

The plot – as ever, no spoilers. It starts a little slowly, but that’s just a gentle burn. By the mid-section, as both pairs of heroes are working at their goals, there’s a sense of danger hanging over every word, a tension in each picked lock and duel. That tension reaches a crescendo by the ending – the reader left on tenterhooks. I must confess that I tore through this instalment, and I’m really looking forward to the next one.

Anyway, is this worth reading? I think you’d need to read the first book in order to fully appreciate it. But there’s a sense of more fully realised potential here – the characters are growing, and feel like they have both depth and a decent emotional weight. The world – there are hints of a far larger context and history in the background which I hope to see further explored ,but what we’ve seen is well-detailed and intriguing. The plot isn’t full tilt all the time, but manages to find a delicate balance between frenetic, explosive action, and quieter contemplative moments.
In the end, I’d say if you enjoyed the first volume, then this one will reward a reading – it’s an interesting piece of steampunk fantasy, and I’m interested to see where the series is going to go next.
Profile Image for Maja Ingrid.
449 reviews130 followers
October 18, 2016
3,5 stars.

Would have given this book 4 stars but when I began reading it I was in a distracted state of mind (also very very tired) so I had problems getting in to it.... took half the book until my brain decided to finally wake up and get into the story, and I'm really happy it did because I really enjoy this series!
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