Unbreakable (Unraveling 2) by Elizabeth Norris
Published by Harper Collins UK (Children)
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Format: ARC/Galley – out June 6th 2013 in a variety of formats
***This is book 2 in the series, there will be spoilers for book 1 – read at your peril***
Unraveling was a surprise hit with me, it was a complete surprise and a heart breaker to boot, so Unbreakable was obviously on my to read list!
Unbreakable picks up four months after Ben and Elijah went through the portal, back to their home world, leaving Janelle to face her crumbling world alone. Although they avoided complete destruction of the world (or universe to be more specific) they were not able to prevent mass destruction from earthquakes to tsunamis across the world. Janelle gets on with things, she like many others leaves school early, and joins the FBI working with Strutz, but the world is a different place, food and water is scarce and many refugees are hold up in shelters, trying to survive but there are more and more missing people, and the disappearances are getting closer to Janelle. Then IA agent Taylor Barclay shows up – he needs Janelle help, she some what cautiously hears him out: there is a massive slavery trafficking ring going on across the inverses, people are being stolen from worlds where there is no inverse travel and sold into those that need them – for slaves, soldiers and worse. But what hits Janelle gut is when Barclay tells her who the prime suspect is – Ben. They have a few days to prove his innocence AND find the true culprit or everyone he cares about will be executed. Now Janelle has to fight like never before, face some heart breaking truths and save someone she loves before time runs out.
When I started reading Unbreakable I realized I didn’t remember much about Unraveling, which is odd. I remembered the inverse portals and the whole premise, three friends drink some chemical and fall through a portal, ending up in the wrong world, when trying to get back they end up destroying this universe (or nearly anyway). But what I don’t remember is Cecily. At all. Even when I started to get to know her character I couldn’t place her. Maybe she just wasn’t important in Unraveling but its annoying when you have to go back to the first book to find out who someone is. Once over that minor irritation (which is more on me than Norris) I found that I got into the story pretty quick.
Unbreakable is completely different to Unraveling and for once we have an author that doesn’t follow the Ya relationships code (ie: star crossed lovers get together, break up, get together, meet a third etc), there’s some of that but not in the way you’d expect. Whilst the story follows a count down, this is not about saving the world, but about saving an individual, although that changes through the book too. Although slow to start, the reader doesn’t mind as the scene is being set well, and the devastation in the world is beautifully written (if you can use the word beautiful with devastation!) . Once the action gets going, it doesn’t stop. There are plenty of heart stopping moments, and Janelle well and truly takes the lead in this book (rather than sharing the limelight with Ben). As for Ben. The less said about that idiot the better (you’ll see why), the book may be about him, but he’s really a non-entity and doesn’t really make me feel anything about him, I understood Janelles feelings towards him in book 1, but here I feel like she could do better!
What was nice to see was Barclay’s transition from sort-of-bad-guy to sort-of-awesome-guy to OMG-let-me-have-your-babies-guy. I’m not going to tell you any more than that.
The book was great, fairly predicable and I’m surprised to see reviewers say they didn’t know who the big bad was until the big reveal. Maybe I’m just too wise to the hints or maybe I’m too cynical but I knew exactly who it was as we went along! A must read, for any unraveling fans and for those looking for a fun, adventure style sci-fi read. You don’t need to have read Unraveling but is does add to the experience. What was wrong with it? Not a lot – the book wasn’t really a sequel, it was a stand alone story with the same characters, I was hoping for a little more continuity, but enjoyed it anyway. Ben really was a let down, not through the writing, the character development was believable but annoying, that and the fact that I’ve just found out there isn’t a third…..
ARC/EGalley kindly provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.