Monday, June 10, 2013

Unbreakable (Unraveling #2) Review

Unbreakable (Unraveling #2)
by Elizabeth Norris
Genre: YA sci-fi thriller
Format: ARC I received from Authors On The Web. All thoughts, opinions and snark expressed in the review are my own.
Midnight Minute: From practically the first page, Janelle is once again in a race against time and parallel worlds to rescue the people she loves the most.
From Goodreads:
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?
Midnight Thoughts:
~ This is one of those books where it probably would have helped if I'd flipped through the first book again before starting the sequel.  Of course me being me, I didn't.  Luckily, I remembered enough and Norris does a good job of introducing past events without doing that info dump thing that I hate (remember Sweet Valley High books, and how they explained in the first few pages of every book what the twins looked like, their differing personalities, and the fact that they had to share driving privileges of their convertible Spider Fiat? Even at 11 it made me roll my eyes.).
~ Like in the first book, each chapter is a countdown of time left before some bad shiz goes down. I find this slightly thrilling. 
~ San Diego, where Jannelle resides, is in ruins, along with the rest of the world, after a series of earthquakes and general Day After Tomorrow-ness. This is why jumping through worlds should be left to the experts. 
~ Because this series deals with parallel worlds, Janelle runs into the version of her love, Ben, that exists in this world.  He's just not her Ben.  So bittersweet.  But this does raise the possibility that somewhere in a parallel world, Johnny Depp is waiting patiently for me. 
~ The series references X-Files quite a lot, but I think the author might have given a shout out to Alias and here's why: Janelle and her friend, Cecily, are helping people gathered in a large stadium.  People are going missing.  The newest missing person is Renee Adams, and she disappears from Section 47.  47 is a very important number in the Alias mythology and was featured at least once in every episode.  My inner tv nerd was completely satisfied.
~ It takes no time for things to get tense.  Janelle is living in a very different America now.  Martial Law scares the crap out of me, and fuels dystopian nightmares. 
~ Because of the state of the world, Janelle was able to join the FBI as a trainee.  Sigh, if only there'd be a world disaster when I was a teen and was convinced I was going to be the world's next Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs
~ Agent Barclay is back!!!  I'm sorry, but I love him.  I'm Team Barclay, but I want him for me.  Janelle can keep Ben. 
~ So, it turns out there's a lot of missing people.  And that they're being stolen from our world.  Also, Ben's missing and is suspected of being the one responsible for all the stolen people. 
~ I was intrigued be the idea of the missing and where they go when they disappear without a trace.  
~ Barclay, Mr. Straight and Narrow, is now going all rogue to solve the case.  And he wants Janelle's help.  Also, he calls Janelle by her last name, Tenner.  Which I much prefer. He can call me by my last name any day of the week too. 
~ Elizabeth Norris: not afraid to go all George R.R. Martin on her characters.  Just so you know, if you didn't remember who she killed off in the first book, don't assume anyone is safe. 
~ Janelle is torn between going with Barclay and helping to find Ben and solve the mystery, and between staying and protecting her little brother. 
~ But then someone she loves is taken and J's inner Liam Neeson is set loose!  Because Janelle has a particular set of skills... ;)
~ There is a strange kind of chemistry between Barclay and Janelle and I like it.  It helps that I picture Barclay as particularly yummy.
~ Also, Barclay brews and serves cinnamon tea. Shirtless. I seriously bought some the next day. 
~ The action in this book is almost constant and brutal at times. Janelle may not be as physically strong as some of her attackers, but the girl has some amazing mental skills.  I'm a firm believer that a strong mind is the best weapon. 
~ I tell you what, midnighters, if I could open portals into parallel worlds, I'd be breaking into vaults and grabbing gold and diamonds.  Then I'd break into some libraries and steal some books.  Because just think about all our favorite authors and the books they might be writing in alternate worlds.  Maybe there's a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird where Scout becomes a kick ass civil rights lawyer, or where Stieg Larrson is still happily churning out Lisbeth Salander novels.  The mind reels, people!  I would be the world's richest nerd and my library would be ENORMOUS!! I'd buy either North or South Dakota and fill it with libraries and coffee shops and it would be our very own Disney World.  And you could all come and stay as long as you kept it secret, okay?
~ Elijah provides some comic relief- totally needed in a novel where things have gone just as wrong as they possibly could for Janelle and Ben. 
~ I wrote a ton more notes I can't share without spoiling everything!
~ I liked Unraveling quite a lot.  I remember that the first book lost a little steam at the end, Unbreakable does not.  Norris keeps the pace up and keeps the reader on the edge of his or her seat.   Some things that happen at the end might make some readers unhappy, but I'm trusting Norris to keep me reading.

Timeless Characters:
Janelle- our heroine and junior FBI badass.
Ben- Janelle's love from book one, now on the run.
Agent Taylor Barclay- Interverse Agent, back off, midnighters, he's mine.  'Nuff said.
Cecily- Janelle's friend.
Jared- Janelle's little brother.
Struz- Janelle and Jared's guardian.
Renee Adams- among the missing.
Hayley- Barclay's ex. She had better stay that way.
Elijah- Ben's friend.
Derek- Ben's brother.
Meridan- brutish bad guy.
Midnight Moment:
The prison break! Holy crap, I must have held my breath for pages and pages!  Seriously, some tense Die Hard shiz.

Stop The Clock:
This is a series I'm invested in, and I think if you enjoy X-Files, anything J.J Abrams, and sci-fi mixed with your YA, then start reading these books!

Elizabeth Norris— Website |liz norris

Unbreakable *(Unraveling #2) gets a Midnight Book Rating of: 
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  1. Hahaha, omg. This review is great, but you had me laughing out loud with your plans for that portal! Honestly, that's probably what I'd do, too. XDD

    Anyway, I LOVED these books as well! Elizabeth Norris is amazing. I can't believe it's only a duology though - NEED MORE. D:

  2. 1. I'm so glad I bought this first book, because I must read this series.
    2. How old is Barclay?
    3. Could you pick somewhere warmer, maybe?
    4. I guess as long as there were lots of fireplaces and underground tunnels so I didn't have to go out into the snow unless I really really wanted to, that SD or ND would be alright. Also, the lights need to be voice activated in the tunnels. LUMOS!
    5. You reviews always make me laugh out loud.


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