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Five star reviews — Breakup by Dana Stabenow

Posted by Shannon Haddock on March 23, 2015 in Reviews |

This is a book I read because I’d read it ages ago and loved it.  I like the whole Kate Shugak series, what I’ve read of it anyway — I’m about ten books behind I think — but this is my favorite.

The description, via Goodreads:

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In Breakup, Kate Shugak’s loyalties – to the land, her heritage, her home – are put to the test when a series of mishaps lead to murder. April in Alaska is typically a period of rebirth and renewal, and after the long winter Kate has nothing more strenuous on her agenda than paying her taxes. But mayhem abounds as the meltoff flows; this year’s thaw is accompanied by rampaging bears, family feuds, and a plane crash quite literally in Kate’s own backyard. What begins as a series of headaches escalates into possible murder when a dead body is found near her homestead. Initially unwilling to involve herself in the investigation, preferring instead to write off each odd occurrence as a breakup-related peculiarity, Kate is drawn irresistibly to seek the truth. Compelled by her friends to act as problem solver and guided by the spirit of her Aleut grandmother, she finds herself slowly taking on the role of clan leader, a post she is bound to by honor and blood. As breakup becomes increasingly fraught with danger and destruction, Kate must decide whether she can cross the line from passive observer to instrument of change, assuming the role of elder as the mantle of responsibility is passed.

My review:

Frequently when I reread a book I haven’t in years, it utterly fails to live up to my memory. That wasn’t the case with this one. In fact, this was even better than I remember it being.

I loved the diverse and fascinating cast, as in all the Kate Shugak books. I loved how fast paced the story was. I even loved the constant string of bad luck Kate was having, and usually I hate that sort of thing, feeling like the author is just piling it on to make you feel sorry for the character. In this case though, it was done believably. I may never have had a few days in a row that were quite as bad as Kate’s in this book, but I could definitely identify.

Really, this is a difficult book to write a review for because all I can really say is “I loved it.” In fact, the only thing I didn’t love was much more an authory type criticism than a readery type criticism: Ms. Stabenow used infodumps to fill us in on characters’ backstories rather than doing it organically. But even that is forgiveable because the backstories are so interesting.

I seem to have skipped the next book the first time I read the series, so I’m looking forward to reading it soon for the very first time.

I still haven’t read the next book, despite finishing this one in early July.  I should remedy that soon.  As this book is well into a series, it’s might not be a good place to start, but courtesy of the infodumps I griped about, you can probably start here and not be missing much.

Sorry this is two days late.  I somehow managed to forget that I’d changed from updating on Wednesdays to updating on Saturdays.  I was checking the sites stats and happened to notice the date I’d posted last week’s posts on and remembered.

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