Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2021
Fourth in The Honey Badger Chronicles paranormal romance series and revolving around those indestructible honey badgers and part of the Pride world. The couple focus is on Mads Galendotter and Finn Malone.
It doesn't feel like a Honey Badger Chronicle. Sure, it still has those principal cast players like all the MacKilligan sisters with brief appearances from Berg and his siblings, and Dee-Ann Smith, but the focus is on Max's basketball team with one of her teammates, Mads, as the principal protagonist.
Ya gotta love that opening with Laurenston setting the scene for Mads' family background and Max's lethality, lol. I swear, ya gotta love the MacKilligan sisters' invincibility *more laughter*. Honey badgers have a reputation for mean, and the MacKilligans take it even further. Yet they're also loyal and supportive.
We learn quite a bit about Mads and her team's actions on the court as well as their backgrounds/"other" careers. I reckon it says even more about those honey badgers and their predilections. Of course, when you read about how Solveig got Mads used to poisons . . . eeyew . . .
Laurenston also includes bits about Charlie that connect Breaking Badger with the earlier stories in the series. It so cracks me up about the effect of Charlie's baking on all those bears, lol. Oh my! Wait'll you read about the Tova Incident. Yep, that's our Charlie. So loyal, thinking of the future at all times, ROFLMAO.
Mads has some very late realizations. Friends? Romance? Yeah, as for that developing romance between Mads and Finn. Nope, it's not believable. I was groping for a connection, but it didn't ring true. I can't figure out how Mads is a Viking, either.
I don't blame Finn for being ticked off with Katzenhaus and Cella about their actions regarding his father's death. Talk about tacky!?? Fortunately we do learn more about the Malones' father. Wow. Oooh, Charlie has a go at Cella, Katzenhaus, the Yuns, and tigers. And she makes an excellent point!
I'd have to say its third person global subjective point-of-view as we are exposed to thoughts, actions, and events from a variety of characters. Especially that Nat.
Natalie was a most unexpected character with all the, ahem, practicality of a honey badger and some extra "skills", lol. I'm looking forward to her story!
It's a crazy mash-up of Mads and her friends, the MacKilligan sisters, and those Black Malones and their overprotectiveness with a dash of Dee-Ann and a lot of violent action, cursing, and laughs.
And Mads buys a house. Wait'll ya read how she makes that happen!
It's been years since their father was murdered, and the Black Malones will never quit hunting their father's killer. Then things just go from bad to worse when the badgers rudely ejected from his home turn out to be the only ones who can help him solve a family tragedy. He’s just not sure he can even get back into the badgers’ good graces. Since badgers lack graces of any kind . . .
Meanwhile, Solveig has died and her remains have been taken by her other grandmother and mother, who are determined to keep Mads from getting the sword.
Mads Galendotter, half-hyena but genetically all honey badger who can eat and digest steel, is a professional basketball player. Solveig Galendotter is/was her Viking great-grandmother who mostly raised Mads in Detroit where Solveig had a store. Her nasty, vicious hyena cousins include Tilda and Gella. Freja is Mads' jerk of a mother. Tova is Mads' evil grandmother. This maternal side are the hyenas.
Mads' team of honey badgers includes . . .
. . . Max Yang-MacKilligan; Emily "Tock" (she's good with explosives and is OCD about time); Cass "Streep" Gonzalez is a real drama queen; and, Gong "Nelle" Zhao, who has the very wealthy family.
Their team is the Wisconsin Butchers that includes Jaleesa, and Tammy is an assistant.
The MacKilligan Sisters
Max Yang-MacKilligan ( Badger to the Bone , 3 (Pride #12)), a honey badger, has hooked up with ZeZé Vargas, a jaguar shifter, former Marine, and formerly undercover. Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is the oldest MacKilligan sister who can't shift into her half-wolf, half-honey badger self, but has amazing strength. She's mated to Berg Dunn, a grizzly who lives across the street ( Hot and Badgered , 1 (Pride #10)), whose triplet siblings include Dag and Britta. Dr Stevie Stasiuk-MacKilligan, the brainiac and a half-honey badger, half-tiger shifter with a panic disorder, is the youngest. Stevie recently "adopted" a four-month-old kitten. Stevie is with Shen Li, a panda ( In a Badger Way , 2 (Pride 11)). Their father, Freddy is a total jerk who doesn't deserve to live. Renny is Max's mother. Uncle Carl runs an antique shop. Uncle Jacob, a mercenary, may know something. Uncle Billy Yang is in Prague. Uncle Larry is busy at an auction. Uncle Russ (with his doctorate in zoology and in charge of a well-known zoo) knew the Malones' father. Kyle Jean-Louis Parker, a brilliant young artist and jackal, is still with the MacKilligan sisters.
The Black Malones are . . .
. . . brothers and Amur tiger shifters. The oldest is Keane, then Finn, a.k.a. E.R., Eternal Rest, and Shay (who all play on the shifter foot ball team) with Dale the youngest brother, who's headed for college. (Um, Shay does have a ten-year-old daughter we hear about, briefly.) Natalie "The Nat" is their unexpected sister, half tiger and half-honey badger who lost her hearing when she was young. Their father was Irish and their mother, Zaya-Sarnai Selenge, a.k.a. Lisa Malone — is descended from the Mongolian tribes of the steppes. Their great-grandmother was Mavis; her daughter was Deloris.
Big Julie, a lion, is the defensive line coach of the football team, the New York Crushers. Bradley is the head coach. Fellow teammates include Franklin, a black bear.
Stein Van Holtz, a wolf friend of Finn's, has a gambling problem.
Mick is fresh out of the Navy SEALs, Danny is his older brother who went to college and is CIA in their shifter division.
The Iko Pride
Imani Iko, a lion shifter, is the Alpha for her pride. I think she also runs Katzenhaus.
Protective shifter organizations that . . .
. . . protect their own kind.
Katzenhaus Securities is . . .
. . . run by cats, for cats. Millie is a helicopter pilot partnered with Kip. Marcella "Cella" Malone is the Black Malones' cousin and a very skilled sniper ( Bear Meets Girl , Pride, #7).
The Group is . . .
. . . run by wolves but interested in protecting all shifters and headed up by Niles Van Holtz, Ric’s older cousin. Dee-Ann Smith, a wolf and former Marine from the Unit, is an independent even though she's married to the gorgeous Ric Van Holtz, the New York head ( Big Bad Beast , Pride #6). The greatly feared Eggie Smith is Dee-Ann's dad from Tennessee (Howl For It: "Like a Wolf With a Bone", Pride 0.5).
The Bear Preservation Council is . . .
. . . similar to The Group but only concerned with bear shifter issues. Its head is Bayla BenZeev.
The NYPD has . . .
. . . a shifter division. Dez McDermott is a full-human cop married to a lion shifter, Mace Llewellyn ( Mane Event: Christmas Pride , Pride #1). Lou Crushek, a polar shifter ( Bear Meets Girl , Pride, #7), had been Dez's partner. Both work in the shifter division.
Tom "Tommy" O'Connell runs a bar and sells information. Tommy Jr is his son. Vicky Yun and her family run gambling parlors; full-humans think they're an organized crime family. Kang Yun is Vicky's mother and the head of the family. Deng is one of Vicky's cousins. Balinski is owed money by Freddy. Charles "Chuck" Sauveterre is a decorator for the extremely wealthy. Moshe, Rachel, and Ben are lion triplets who are friends of Tock's parents. Another Danny and his wife, Cherie, own a restaurant where Mads is well known. Joey, a full-human who works the docks, owes a lot of money.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a radial gradated background starting with dark blue on the outer edges and gradually lightening to a grayed-out sapphire blue in the center. In the center is a heart shaped of Celtic-type thick lines of a lighter blue. On top of that is a tiger in the light and dark blues, roaring at something on the left. Next to his back legs is the series info with its white honey badger atop a horizontal line, the series text below that with another horizontal line to frame it in. At the very top is a white info blurb followed by the author's name. Below the tiger is the title in a pale yellow. Below that is a testimonial in white.
I'm not sure about the title. I suspect it's all about Mads in which she's at the greatest strain of her life, Breaking Badger.