Review – Unbreakable (Section 8 #2) by Stephanie Tyler

**Trigger warning – torture**
Unbreakable cover image
Publisher: Signet
Publish Date: Out now
How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

A cabal of operatives with dangerous pasts team up to work black ops missions. Their weapon: deception. Can they help one of their own before he goes too far?

When Gunner agreed to help out Section 8, he didn’t realize he’d be pulled back in to the shadowy world he’d thought he’d escaped forever. The son of double agents, Gunner was initiated at a young age into the cold world of espionage when his father forced him to work for international smuggler Drew Landon. And when Gunner’s past with Landon threatens the other mercenaries, and most importantly, Avery, he makes an impossible choice…and disappears.

Avery’s not willing to give up on Gunner. The attraction between them has been there from the start and she rallies Section 8 to help him. She knows there’s only one way to keep Gunner safe: fake his death and take him off the grid. But when she finally locates him, Gunner is a changed man, harder, more desperate, and on the edge of self-destruction. And only Avery can find a way to free him from Landon—and from the demons of his past—before it’s too late.
This blurb came from the author’s website.

I was really looking forward to Unbreakable, the second of Tyler’s Section 8 series after reviewing Surrender earlier this year. Unfortunately, this one really didn’t work for me. I had issues with timeline and characterization inconsistencies. This review will contain spoilers from the first book and from this installment so if you wish to avoid them you should stop reading now.

Unbreakable takes place shortly after the dramatic events of Surrender have ended. Peace, vengeance, and love were achieved and the next generation of Section 8 was in its infancy. Avery decided to give her potential teammates a month away to decide if they wanted to return to a life of danger and intrigue. In the meantime she wanted to try to work on getting Gunner to act on their obvious attraction except he didn’t cooperate with her plan. Gunner vanished, left paperwork detailing the sale of his tattoo shop and associated property to some stranger along with a 30-day vacate notice.

Instead of Avery telling the others who joined together in the first book, she kept her mouth shut. Then right before the 30 days was up, she received a flower delivery including an unpleasant surprise. She decided to call and inform one person. During the same 30 days, Grace and Dare, hero/heroine of the first book had a discussion about how something wasn’t quite right, that they needed to contact Avery and find out what was going on yet nothing about the call was ever referenced again. This was one of the inconsistencies that really bothered me, especially given the tight attention to detail that I found in the first book.

As the story continued, time started jumping forward by multiple months. This was clearly signified in the text so that part wasn’t an issue. What bothered me about the time jumps went back to the first 30 days when everyone was supposed to reconvene. The deadline was referenced often in the early pages of the book but nothing was ever said about missing the deadline or what the other potential team members were doing during that time. Those omissions really bothered me since they violated how the group operated and was formed during Surrender which in turn altered some of the previously established characterization.

The core group formed because treachery and death brought them together. They succeeded in the first book through trust and open communication. Watching the leader of the reborn Section 8 deliberately keep information about one of their teammates from all the others seemed to be a violation of that trust. I was willing to give her the 30 days as grace but after that deadline, things continued to happen and I never had the impression that information was shared I felt strongly that Avery’s entire character had changed. I also felt that the acceptance of the others about this lack of information meant they had changed. There was one minor blow-up but given the depths of betrayal they dealt with before I thought there should have been a stronger reaction. Especially given what happened to Avery before the rest of the team was informed.

Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy Unbreakable because of the timeline and character inconsistencies. I kept thinking that scenes were missing which would have filled in the pieces and left me understanding their behavior instead of being extremely puzzled and unable to believe these were the same characters. I did receive an advanced reader copy and I understand those can contain errors so it is possible the final version was smoothed out.

I give Unbreakable a D-

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