Review: Unbreakable (Unraveling #2) by Elizabeth Norris

May 4, 2013 Review 2

Review: Unbreakable (Unraveling #2) by Elizabeth NorrisUnbreakable by Elizabeth Norris
Series: Unraveling #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on April 23, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 496
Source: Publisher
Excerpt: Excerpt
Sexual Content: Kissing. References to rape
Reviewed by: Abigail
3 Stars

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?

Whereas UNRAVELING was a character driven story dealing with family heartache and the blissful agony of first love mixed up with plenty of mystery and sleuthing, UNBREAKABLE is a nonstop action adventure that downplays character for the sake of adrenaline.  The sci-fi elements that were revealed at the end of debut dominate the sequel to such a degree I probably wouldn't have thought it was the sequel to UNRAVELING if the names hadn't been the same.  

Picking up four months after the end of UNRAVELING, UNBREAKABLE opens with an unrecognizable world.  Janelle's intriguing yet tragic relationship with her parents is gone, she and her brother now live in the ruins of what once was California.  Supplies are low, martial law rules, and high school has been left behind for an internship with the FBI.  Instead of a girl trying to solve a string of bizarre murders, she gets recruited to stop an interverse human trafficking ring and rescue Ben.

Janelle was a character who leapt of the page in the debut, but in UNBREAKABLE, she feels a little less vivid.  We are told that she possesses various personality traits, but I never really saw them manifested in her.  Granted, she has little time to breathe between all the running, world hopping, and prison breaks, but I missed the girl from the debut.

More so than Janelle's dimmed character, the real casualty of the newly emphasized action adventure tone of this sequel is the romance that was the heart of the debut.  It was a struggle to remember why Ben worth all this effort since we see very little interaction between these two for most of the book apart from a few tiny flashbacks.  In fact, I had no problem getting on board with the fluttering awareness that sprang up between Janelle and Barclay as they hopped from world to world in search of Ben.

I described UNRAVELING as mash up of the TV shows Veronica Mars and Roswell if they were written by Lauren Oliver.  UNBREAKABLE is more like the Total Recall remake mixed with The X-Files and Julie Cross's Tempest series.  I think to enjoy this one, you really need to divorce it from the debut as they really share very little in common.  Once I let go of my expectations, I found this thrill ride exciting if not as deep as I would have preferred. The ending had one big heartbreaking moment that still hurts when I think about it, and, as there are no more books planned for this series, a tidy resolution for the characters.

Series Titles:

1. Unraveling - 4/5
1.5. Undone
2. Unbreakable

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2 Responses to “Review: Unbreakable (Unraveling #2) by Elizabeth Norris”

  1. Effy

    I hated Ben in this one.. I could no longer believe in his love for Janelle after finding where and who he’d been hiding with, I was really disappointed in their romance.
    And I actually felt that Barclay and Janelle were a much better and interesting pair.

    • Abigail

      I know what you mean. That whole storyline was pretty unforgivable. Like I said, that romance really stumbled this time out. Still love them from the first book though.