Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Unbreakable (Unraveling, #2)


Unbreakable (Unraveling, #2)Author: Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling, #1
Release date: April 23rd 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.
And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

When you wait for a book as long as I’ve waited to read Unbreakable, finally holding it in your hands seems like the most surreal experience. Needless to say, the expectations that come with it are sky high, and there is always fear of disappointment, no matter how much you trust an author. In this case at least, I shouldn’t have feared, not even a little bit. Elizabeth Norris ended her duology just like she started it – confidently and with a bang.

The first few chapters of Unbreakable slowly paint a picture of the aftermath. Janelle’s world is in ruins – her life, her house, her school, her mother… it’s all gone, buried under the rubble. Janelle herself is doing her best to rebuild her life in a small apartment with Jared and Struz. Try as she might, she’s having a hard time finding anything to look forward to, except maybe the time she gets to spend with her baby brother. She is out of high school and working for the FBI, her shifts are endless and her efforts hopeless. People are disappearing all the time, and no one has any idea why.

Enter Taylor Barclay, the IA agent Ben and Janelle have a love-hate relationship with. He knows something about the missing people, but even more importantly, he seems to know something about Ben. He wants Janelle to help him solve the human trafficking case and Janelle is certainly brave enough to try, but first she has to decide whether she can trust him at all.

When I first started Unraveling, I didn’t even dream it would end up being a story about human trafficking. It started as your run of the mill YA speculative fiction and even when it proved to be much more, I somehow pictured the ending as something smaller, quieter. Contrary to my expectations, Unbreakable is full of action, a real attention gripper that will keep you on the edge of your seat. But even as such, it retained two things I’ve come to associate with Elizabeth Norris: elegance and thoughtfulness.

Good pacing is so hard to achieve in books like Unbreakable, but Norris knows how to keep a tight hold on her reader’s attention. The short chapters just added to the overwhelming sense of urgency, as did the countdown we all remember from Unraveling. It was impossible for me to sit still and read – I paced anxiously the entire time instead. It breaks my heart to think that my time with Ben and Janelle is over.

And now we finally come to the part I’m sure you all want to know about: Ben and Janelle. Once again Norris found a way to seamlessly blend action and emotion. In Unraveling, they faced external challenges, but their feelings never came into question. By the time they found each other in Unbreakable, they both had to do things they weren’t proud of and while neither of them ever doubted their love for each other, they were both well aware that sometimes love just isn’t enough.

I strongly recommend reading Undone, a HarperTeen Impulse novella from Ben’s POV, before Unbreakable. It covers some of the most important events from Unraveling, which will help you remember the details, but even more importantly, you’ll find out what happened to Ben between the two books.


22 comments:

  1. This is about HUMAN trafficking? Seriously would never have guessed.. I wasn't a huge fan of the first book so I'm not sure whether I'm going to pick this one up but you've definitely piqued my interest :)

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  2. I'm so glad this lived up to your expectations, Maja! I actually picked up Unraveling last year but I didn't finish it & I can't remember why - I will have to give it another blast! Fab review! :)

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  3. I'm intrigued! I haven't read the first in this series but it sounds really good. And I do so love when you finally get your hands on that much-anticipated book...I just stare at it for too long, wanting to read it but NOT, you know?

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  4. The pacing and characters--well pretty much everything about this series sounds great. I still haven't started the first but know I need to

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  5. Ahhhhhh Maja!!!!! I loved this one so much too! I just adore everything about this series, it was a surprise to me from page one of Unraveling, and like you said, it didn't disappoint through to the last page of Unbreakable. Normally when a main couple is separated for most of the book I get all fidgety and things drag for me until they're finally reunited, but that didn't happen at all for me in this book. I was invested immediately, and then when Ben and Janelle finally do set eyes on one another again my heart hurt. Loved every moment of it!

    Also, I have a new love for Taylor. Just saying.

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  6. I honestly wasn't planning on continuing this the sequel because I didn't love the first book. I liked it but I wasn't in love with it but now? Now after reading your review I think I just might go ahead and give this one a try. Or at the very least I will read the novella because I did like Ben.

    Fantastic review!

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  7. I can't wait to read this. I want to know about Alex. I have my fingers crossed. Human trafficking. I would have never guessed that. Is this the end of the series already?

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  8. wow, this series sounds very good. The plot deep and emotional. The fact that is about human trafficking is, different. Wonderful review!

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  9. Oh wow! I so need to read that first book and novella! Love the sound of her writing and I'm really going to have to check out this author's books. I also love the sound of a duology. You rarely get those especially in YA.

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  10. While I wasn't a fan of the first book in this series - couldn't even finish it, actually - I am so impressed that this sequel has managed to be excellent and live up to all your high expectations. Yay! I hope the conclusion is just as good now, too! :) Fantastic review, as always, Maja! :D

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  11. I have the first book but read mixed reviews but from your review the series sounds great. I might have to give it a shot.

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  12. I love it when a sequel lives up to my high expectations, and I certainly am expecting a lot out of this one! I'm thrilled to hear that you loved it, and I'm sure I'll be pleased as well. I'm going to read the e-novella and then get going on it. After reading your review, I'm so tempted to skip my TBR plans and move them both up! (Though I definitely need to make sure I have several uninterrupted hours of reading time, I couldn't put the first one down). Wonderful review, Maja!

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  13. Sounds like a huge win. :) So many are loving this series.

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  14. I really would like to read Unraveling, can't get it from my library at all. Maybe soon, because this sounds awesome. Wonderful review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

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  15. Omg you're making me kick myself for not having read Unraveling yet! I'm so happy that this sequel doesn't disappoint it sounds like this author chick knows what she's doing, eh? I'll keep Undone in mind too-though I'm not sure how I feel about novellas that are becoming a must to be able to follow the series.

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  16. I just skimmed your review because I haven't got Unraveling yet. I have to say that I'm chomping at the bit to get it though. This sounds like a series I will LOVE! I have an ARC of this so I just need to get busy and get the first one!

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  17. Okay, now I'm definitely reading these. I didn't know it was just a duology. And to hear that the 2nd book is so good makes me want to read them now. Honestly, I wasn't even interested in Unraveling when it first came out.

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  18. Yayay! I'm reading this now and was nodding along to much of what you were saying. The human trafficking storyline really has taken me by surprise and I am so impressed at where Elizabeth Norris has taken the story so far and how she has managed such excellent pacing. Interestingly, I didn't know this one was just a duology. Or that Undone would be considered such an important novella to read. So thanks for those bits of info! I really can't wait to get to the ending of this - you've just made me SO excited!!

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  19. I was sorry to say goodbye to Ben and Janelle too, Maja. This story had me at the edge of my seat as well! There was a lot action and suspense in this one! The characters really went through so much and I was sad for all of them. But happy with how it all turned out. Brilliant review. :)

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  20. I absolutely LOVED Unravelling so I am so excited to read this one. I don't think that I have read a bad review of either book so I will have to read this soon. The characters are brilliant and I loved the storyline. It is great that it lived up to the standards of the last book. Great review! :)

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  21. Gah! I'm glad you loved this one, but now super sad I didn't manage to finagle an arc. I hardly have time for free-reading, and it will probably be ages before I get around to this one, at which point I will inevitably not remember book one. Haha. Book blogger problems, am I right?

    All the negative reviews for Unraveling had me a little bit afraid of this one, even though I loved the first. Very glad to see that it's definitely worth my time (when I find it and the time).

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  22. I'm really nervous about this one. Not because I'm worried I might not enjoy it (I'm pretty certain I will), but because I know I'll be holding my breath throughout the whole thing. I just need Ben and Janelle to reach the end unscatched. Thrilled to hear the duology ends on a high note. I wish this wasn't the final book! 2 is nearly enough when you fall in love with fictional characters. Great review, Maja!

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