A review by shereadstales
Firebreak, by Nicole Kornher-Stace

adventurous inspiring tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


Thanks to Gallery Books/ Saga Press for the digital galley of this book.

New Liberty City, 2134. The United States has been replaced with two warring corporations, Stellaxis Innovations and Greenleaf. New Liberty City is at the center of the corporations properties and thus is in a state of perpetual battle. When she’s not working up to seven other jobs, Mallory is streaming Stellaxis’s wargame, SecOps on BestLife. She spends more time in virtual reality than actual reality, and she does it all for the water rations. She’s always thirsty. One day in game, by chance she spots one of the game’s rare super-soldiers, and it changes her life. First, there’s a potential sponsor deal that is more than it seems, then she starts meeting more super-soldiers and begins to uncover a potentially dangerous and sobering truth about the world she’s grown up in, and what the corporations are really capable of.

This one’s classified as adult sci-fi, but it read more like a YA novel to me, and I mean that in the best possible way. It was fast-paced, full of twists and turns with a hint of romance that didn’t totally ruin the rest of the story for me. I split my time between the print and audio version of this one just so I could mainline it even more quickly while I couldn’t read the physical copy.

There’s plenty in here reminiscent of Ready Player One and other dystopian works such as Cyberpunk 2077, but the characters make it unique. I was rooting for Mal 100%, even when I thought she made dumb decisions and wanted to smack her. That’s the beauty of characters in these types of books, they’re flawed and messy and just trying to figure it out, and you root for them all the way.

If you’re into nerd sci-fi with corruption and a messy heroine who has no idea how to save the day, check this one out. It’s a fun summer read.