The highly anticipated sequel to Ellie Marney’s New York Times bestseller None Shall Sleep is finally out in the world. Entitled Some Shall Break, the book picks up three months after Emma and Travis assisted the FBI. Travis stayed on to continue training with the bureau, and Emma opted to return home. However, things quickly change when Kristin Gutmunsson – sister of notorious teen sociopath Simon Gutmunsson – tells Travis that Emma might be in trouble. Not wanting to take any risks, Emma returns to the FBI, where she, Travis, and Kristin help solve a case with a killer mimicking Daniel Huxton, to whom Emma nearly lost her life. Unfortunately, it means that they must once more rely on Simon to catch the killer before he hurts anyone else.
To me, Marney’s greatest strength with None Shall Sleep was her characters, and she only goes up for Some Shall Break. This time around, readers gain a deeper look into how Emma’s experience with Daniel Huxton affected her, something that wasn’t fully explored in the first book. However, it works to Marney’s benefit, as she is careful not to exploit Emma’s trauma in any way, only including information as it became necessary. It’s an understatement to say Emma has endured a lot. Marney strikes just the right balance between revealing the most harrowing parts of Emma’s experience with her perseverance to move forward, demonstrating how it drives her to fight for other victims however she can. Emma is an angry, fierce character who feels raw and real.
Another character I enjoyed seeing more of was Kristin, who is one of the most intriguing characters in the series in my opinion. In the first book, readers only really get a peripheral look at her, not really understanding the depths to which her connection with Simon, her twin, goes. For Some Shall Break, she plays a much more integral part, giving her a chance to really shine as a character. Hidden motives aside, Kristin is a curious and observant person, whose insight proves invaluable to the team. It was so interesting to see how Marney displayed the different facets of Kristin. While she comes across as a someone capable of empathy, her connection with Simon keeps readers wary of her true intentions, because ultimately, he is her primary allegiance. Along the same vein, watching their relationship unfold was, at almost every point, uncomfortable to read. And Marney doesn’t shy away from it. However, it serves to show how not everyone in the story is quite as they seem, and uncomfortable as it is, paints an intriguing picture that carries through the book.
Something else that stands out about Emma and Kristin is how they are often the only female presence in the FBI and at police departments. This puts them in a unique position, and one that remains relevant today even given the 1980s time period of the book. Despite having minimal experience in relation to the agents working the case, Emma and Kristin offer a voice for the victims who can no longer speak for themselves. And it’s through them that Marney reminds readers that no matter how darkly intriguing the minds of killers may be, the victims must be remembered. With Emma and Kristin, they are painfully aware of how the bureau’s language often dehumanizes the girls, whether intentional or not. Emma especially is a prime example. As her trauma is laid bare, Marney illustrates the toll that a less emphathetic approach to the case takes on Emma. Moreover, Emma and Kristin pick up on significant case details that ultimately helps lead the bureau in the right direction – something that could otherwise go south very quickly had the duo not kept the victims in mind.
Like its predecessor, Some Shall Break is a harrowing and riveting story that leaves an impression long after readers hit the final page. Marney writes with such a succinct and clear vision for her characters that it’s hard not to be captivated by them. Through their dynamics, the story is a natural follow-up to None Shall Sleep, not only because it IS a sequel, but because Marney offers a smooth progression from book to book. While, broadly speaking, the subject is familiar, Marney’s perspective is a fresh one, and it’s clear she knows exactly who her audience is. While Some Shall Break resolves its plotline, Marney leaves just the right threads open to carry the story into another a book, and it is certainly one that readers will want to keep an eye out for.