Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Review: Unbreakable

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? Quoted from Goodreads


I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Too much, maybe.  I stayed up until 1:00 last night just to finish it, it was that nail-biting, heart-pumpin, must keep reading until the end.  So if you're looking for a great action read, (or really something just plain different for a YA read) this is it. 

Seriously, everything about this book is designed to keep you turning pages.  We have the countdown, so 5 day time limit right there.  Then the chapters are short, most with a sort of cliff-hanger that practically forces you to read the next one.  Finally, so much action: fighting, prison breaks (yes, there are multiple), missing people, world jumping, kidnapping, conspiracies, human trafficking, corruption, doppelgangers, torture, mistaken identity, and the list goes on.  

I loved Unraveling. I loved the characters, the plot, the way we got an end of the world scenario, all of it.  This book is similar but different.  It's not quite so "small" town, one location, one problem causing others.  It's much bigger.  It's world hopping, and reflects the bigger backdrop for the story.  There's also a little less romance.  The first book is Janelle and Ben falling in love (and, of course, the countdown to the end of the world).  This book still has the romance, the longing, but Ben doesn't even show up for the first half.  Much of what Janelle does is motivated by what she feels for Ben, but the story is about something much bigger.

The biggest surprise, at least for me (and don't worry, I'm not talking twist/spoiler surprise here) was how much I grew to like Taylor Barclay.  Sure, he's still arrogant and thinks he knows better than anyone, but I love his snarky relationship with Janelle.  I love how ambiguous he is in the beginning, then love what he becomes. 

I'm also glad I read Elizabeth Norris's novella, Undone.  It's not that you have to read it before this second book, but you really should.  It fills in a few of the gaps and gives you a greater understanding of what's been going on with Ben.  Don't worry, though, it doesn't really ruin any of the spoilers for Unbreakable.

Probably the most difficult thing for me about this book is expectations. I thought this series was a trilogy.  Who knows, maybe it still is, but I don't think so.  The end of this book felt like the end of the series, which made me kind of sad.  Don't get me wrong, it's a satisfying ending, but at the same time, I loved reading it, knowing there was at least one more book with these characters, so in the end, I kind of felt a little cheated. So take note, there are (probably) only two books in this series.  Knowing that, this book is a wonderful continuation/conclusion.

All in all, this is an action packed 4 stars for me.  It's one of those books you can't put down, and I loved it.  It's exciting, thrilling, and full of action, while not just being action.  There's a depth to everything.  We get those brief moments of introspection before the next emergency.  So, if you're looking for a great read, pick up Unraveling, then Unbreakable.  You won't regret it. 

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