2.5 Stars, Drama, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Kate Pavelle, Reviewed by Tina

Kate Pavelle’s “Breakfall” Is A Story Of Survival And Recovery

“The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things.” ― Miyamoto Musashi

Title: Breakfall

Author: Kate Pavelle

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 270 Pages

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Blurb: Sexual assault doesn’t discriminate. Aikido instructor Sean Gallaway learns that when he falls prey to a violent stalker. Asbjorn Lund, a karate sensei on campus and a Navy vet, yearns to teach Sean how to survive. How to overcome. How to recover. Sean feels hunted and alone as the stalker escalates, testing his boundaries. With the entire dojo at his back, Sean resolves to play bait. He will catch the predator stalking him and reclaim his sense of self if it’s the last thing he does. Yet Sean’s hunger for justice clashes with Asbjorn’s protective streak, and their budding romance might not survive their war of wills.


Review: Breakfall just wasn’t for me. The writing wasn’t bad, but the sheer volume of martial arts information contained in this book is staggering. While martial arts was virtually a third main character in the story, and also in the world Sean and Asbjorn live in, I started skipping large chunks of the details about Aikido because I didn’t understand. I did this in an effort to get back to the plot. Unfortunately, once I managed that, the story itself was slow moving and hard to follow. It also contained way too many WTF moments.

Aikido (a form of martial arts) instructor Sean Gallaway is violently sexually assaulted. Asbjorn Lund is a Navy veteran with years of martial arts training. Asbjorn wants to teach Sean how to be stronger and turn into a survivor instead of a victim. He doesn’t make Sean aware of this fact, but he knows who Sean’s assailant was. He seemingly is motivated by guilt.

The way Asbjorn treats Sean seems beyond depraved. He is supposedly protective of him and wants to enable him to be protective of himself. There is violence, rape by multiple men, drunken hate-filled diatribes, so if you appreciate trigger warnings, note: dub-con, non-con, and domestic violence. When Asbjorn feels guilty about what he has allowed to happen to the man he supposedly cares so much about, he deals with it by trying to come up with a way to get all the men involved into bed together. None of it made any sense to me.

Communication is the most important part of any relationship. There was not only no communication, which is all too common in gay fiction because men are generally less verbally communicative than women, but there was purposeful miscommunication, lying and manipulation.

I liked that Ms. Pavelle attempted a story in which two head-strong, stubborn alpha males give being together a try, and how they finally find a way to make it sort of work. There is still a ton of story to tell, this is the first in a trilogy. Maybe Ms. Pavelle will write the second and third books differently. I don’t think I will find out for myself, though.

You can buy Breakfall here:


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