Saturday, 29 June 2013

Review: Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Title: Unbreakable
Author: Elizabeth Norris
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter|Facebook|Tumblr
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Unravelling #2
Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 6th June 2013

Tell Me About It
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 civilisation is slowly rebuilding, and life is finally starting to resume some kind of normality. Until Interverse agent Taylor Barclay shows up. He’s got a problem, and he needs Janelle’s help. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring – kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths. And Ben, with his unique abilities, is the prime suspect. To make things worse, Janelle learns that someone she cares about – someone from her own world – has become one of the missing.

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. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

In this heart-pounding sequel to Unravelling, author Elizabeth Norris explores the sacrifices we make to save the people we love and the worlds we’ll travel to find them.

My Thoughts
I am super excited to be reading this book. I absolutely loved Unravelling last year and I have been counting down to the release of Unbreakable what feels like forever.  I am going to try and keep this review spoiler free, but be warned....

**this review may contain unintentional spoilers**

Unbreakable picks up after the events of Unravelling, Janelle has saved the world but not without losses.  She has lost family and friends, thousands of people are dead and the entire planet has been destroyed.  Houses, shops, roads, and people....gone.  The devastation has swept across the world with tornadoes, tsunamis, wildfires, all life is suffering and to make matters worse people are still disappearing each and every day.  Janelle has been one of the few lucky ones, she is in a small military house with her brother and Agent Struz.  She also helps at biggest evacuation centre in San Diego, Qualcomm, an abandoned stadium that was run by Cecily's uncle.  She has a home, a family, clean water and food.  Her life that she now knows is soon to come to a halt when Taylor Barclay turns up to enlist Janelle's help in finding out what is happening to the people who are disappearing.  He wants Janelle to go to Prima and free Elijah from jail in the hopes they can find Ben, who is suspect number 1 on the IA's list.

It took me a few days to read Unbreakable, and that was a few days too long.  With work and training it was hard for me to sit and read this book in one sitting, so when I finally had a few hours spare I found a nice comfy spot and did not move until I had finished Unbreakable.  From the moment I began reading I was hooked, and as the story progresses the world and plot build up slow and steady, making sure you understand everything going on, and what is going to happen.  The tension is high, the stakes are even higher, and even though I wanted Janelle to win, to find Ben and clear his name, there was still doubt in my mind about whether she could do it.  Don't get me wrong, Janelle is a kick ass heroine that I would want on my side any day, but with the stakes and risk factor being so high and so many hoops to jump through I was never certain of their success rate, and it just made me want to read faster and faster to see what happens, will she find Ben?  Will his name be cleared?  Will they stop the kidnappings?

Even getting down to finding Ben takes a while, 265 pages to be exact, but by keeping him in the distance we get to focus on Janelle and her capabilities.  She is strong and tough, and although she has doubts about the plan, about what she is able to do, and the occasional second guessing of Barclay, she still forges ahead, determined to save others even if it means sacrificing herself, even if Ben is a traitor.

Elizabeth has a way of drawing her readers in and making them feel part of the world, that the characters are friends you are truly invested in.  Each risk that brings them closer to death brings you closer to the edge of your seat, and just when you think they are safe something else comes along that takes you back to the edge again.  Her characters stay in you head even after the adventure is over, replaying things they did or things they said to each other.
I look up, my nose brushing against his cheek. "Remember when the world was ending?" I whisper.
He nods.
"We didn't say good-bye or make promises then, and we're not going to now."
[Page 362 UK copy, Janelle and Ben]

Unbreakable is not without its losses, but it also has its gains, which I am not going to go into detail about.  I loved getting to see characters that we know in their different 'bodies' on alternate worlds, seeing how they differ from the 'real' one we know, both in personality and dress sense.  The last chapters were bitter-sweet for Janelle, but I thought it was perfect touch and a great link back to Unravelling (I know this sounds confusing but you will understand when you read Unbreakable)

Unbreakable ended far too soon for me, even though it was over 400 pages long, and I was ecstatic to discover there would be another adventure next year for these characters.  I am already counting down to the next instalment.

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