This post includes reviews of the books in the Broken Chains MC series:
- Tidal Wave (#1)
- Backfire (#2)
- Broken Wings (#3)
- Wicked (#4)
Tidal Wave (Broken Chains MC #1)
I’ve never read an MC (motorcycle club) romance and never really thought it’d be my jam. But since E.M. Lindsey is one of my favorite authors, I knew I’d eventually check out their take on the subgenre once it got to the top of my TBR pile. I found myself enjoying this slow-burn romance more than I thought I would because it includes some of my favorite overall genre tropes, such as found family, and a lot of what makes anything by Lindsey amazing.
One of the overarching themes of this book is the difference between acute and chronic trauma. Which makes this story seem a lot darker than it is, but I promise it’s the sort of the dark that comes from morally gray characters and a life lived closer to the outskirts of society, whether intentional or not. Gunner chooses to live there because he was born into MC culture and continues to find this home there even though he escaped his first “club” with chronic injuries, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. Logan exists there as a fact of his birth, at the intersection of his deafness, race, and bisexuality. Together, these characters have significant communication issues and differences inherent to their vastly different lives at the far corners of their small town. This book is not an “insta-love” romance; however, they recognize kindred souls within the other, and the connection they forge is packed with emotion and pure steam.
Overall, this book works as a solid introduction to the world and characters of the Broken Chains MC that I look forward to getting to know better as this series progresses. From what I know about the MC subgenre, Lindsey straddles the line of truly inclusive found family while also having them exist closer to the outside of the law but never dipping into the darker side of romance. Like me, fans of this author shouldn’t miss out on anything they write, including this series.
Backfire (Broken Chain MC #2)
Sometimes when you read a book, you have to acknowledge that a huge element doesn’t make sense to you, accept it, and move on with enjoying the story. Smokey’s massive dose of imposter syndrome as the President of his MC was that element for me in this otherwise fantastic book. I’d get it a bit more if he’d inherited the title of an established club, but Smokey founded the Broken Chains after running away from his previous life with his younger brother Rory. Perhaps it’s because I have no context for this culture beyond this book series, but I don’t quite understand why he’d then go on to reinstall himself into the life. So, I just have to accept it and move on. Because everything else about this was absolutely fantastic.
One element I particularly enjoyed about this book is the main characters’ ages. No youngsters in their twenties here—Smokey is into his fifties, and I’m pretty sure Eliah is into his forties. Both men wear the weight of their years for different reasons and life experiences, but that doesn’t mitigate any of the heat in their encounters. Elements of this romance involve the “opposites attract” trope, except that Smokey and Eliah have more in common at their cores than they do differences in their lifestyles.
Though their connection develops because Eliah is forced into Smokey’s world, Eliah more than holds his own once he gets there. This book is where the overarching plot of this series kicks off, dealing with ghosts from Smokey’s past, and I’m more than invested in the larger picture. This book does not end in a cliffhanger (unless you count the details revealed for another potential romantic pairing), but I know Smokey and Eliah are in it together for the long haul no matter what the villain tries to throw at them next.
Broken Wings (Broken Chains MC #3)
The first part of this book overlaps with events in the previous, and we’ve already received hints of what will unfold between Jude and Kicks. Their connection is obvious, but it becomes even more vibrant from their perspectives. I adore these characters separately, and Lindsey blew me away with them together. The rabbi and the biker feels like it might have cliché written all over it, but neither character is typical of these stereotypes. Circumstances throw them together, but the chemistry that burns between them is very real.
The second half of this book continues the storyline beyond events in Backfire, and Jude continues to be a presence in Kicks’ life. Secretly, neither man minds very much, though even they subscribe to the notion that they don’t have a future together. In the present, however, the heat that rolls off them is off the charts. This relationship is not overtly kinky, but there is an element of power exchange that adds to the overall nontraditional features that make this book my favorite so far of this series.
Kicks and Jude do not exist in a vacuum, however, and they have regular interactions with Jude’s twin Eliah and the other Broken Chains members as the overarching plot of this series progresses. These men aren’t innocent bystanders, but they are integral elements to the main storyline by virtue of their connections with Smokey and Eliah. I can’t wait to see continued glimpses of their pairing in future Broken Chains stories.
Wicked (Broken Chains MC #4)
Lindsey breaks the subtle “opposites attract” trend they have been weaving into this series by instead throwing together two men involved in the motorcycle club lifestyle. Though they are from different clubs, Lindsey also does not take the expected route of star-crossed lovers. Hawke and Jax share a hookup and never look for more. Instead, more sneaks up on them when their compatibility (in multiple ways) is too strong to ignore.
The “dubious morality” tag for this series is especially relevant to this book and these particular characters. Their love story is not sunshine and rainbows, but a shared bit of darkness that each man recognizes in the other. It felt like this book focuses more on the external plot, but that is possibly because both men are so involved in aspects of it rather than one being drawn into events outside of his control. This is far from a complaint, and definitely made the book feel much longer than it was as events wove between their more private encounters (also not a complaint).
Lindsey always provides resolutions that are unexpected, yet absolutely perfect for the characters involved. Jax especially experiences upheaval in his life along his journey to Hawke in this story, but it was a long time in coming. Where he finds himself at the end isn’t a neat happily ever after, but this is a world that doesn’t get those. However, I know that these men will continue to be side-by-side even as they walk slightly different paths. Since I binge-read this entire series in a single weekend, I’m more than looking forward to the finale, especially if it means glimpses of the men I’ve come to adore throughout.