The heroine got hit by a truck and died within the first two pages of the book.
Then in a span of approximately two minutes, she woke up staring up at the eyes of the school’s resident stoner.
At this point, I was the figurative fish; hook imbedded deep inside my cheek, and hopelessly flailing at the end of the reel.
I can cite two complaints among the number of gratuitous gushing I have done over this book:
One, the author was relentless in jacking your emotions. She never once let up; not even to recover. As if the thought of the end of the world wasn’t enough to put the fear of God in the character’s eyes, she also tortured the heroine with other rather, emotionally scarring events in her personal life. And as much as you want to cry with Janelle, Norris will not let you do that. Just when you thought that you can just sit back and contemplate about Janelle’s emotional upheavals, the author pulls her up by the hair on her head, slaps some sense into her and tells her to “suck it up, princess! You have a world to save.” I think this is also the reason why it’s taking me a while to post a review. I had a choice between a shot of tequila or just to step back – way back from the book. Besides, this complaint may be a good thing to some readers but not to me. I needed time to process, decompress – before I tackle the next round of drama and angst. I'll tell ya one thing, you'll never be bored while you're in the grips of this book.
Two, Nick (brief boyfriend) was a victim of being the unfortunate, irrelevant character (pet peeve of mine). I seriously haven’t a clue why he was there to begin with. Unless he’s got a bigger part in the remaining books of the series, Janelle’s relationship with Nick was the proverbial fat in need of trimming. The same goes with her poor mother. Or maybe it’s just me. I feel like her mother’s mental health was a ploy to add angst in an otherwise, already complicated family dynamics. Her father is a workaholic; living and breathing his FBI life. But he was doing his very best. He’s mostly absent but the little time he spent with his kids was precious, nonetheless. His partner, Struz acted as the big brother who, oddly enough, spent more time with Janelle and her brother than their father did.
There were a myriad of things that happened in the book but Norris managed to bind them all in one cohesive awesomeness. Her writing was clear and concise. I found her very descriptive without being wordy, and at 445 pages, being wordy just spells boredom and imminent flouncing. I’m glad she got her point across; otherwise, this book would at least be double its size.
The way she wrote of Janelle’s emotional state after a loved one’s death was consistent of how she handled her mother’s illness. At times, I found her cold and calculating but if you look at the other things that was going on her life, you’ll find that she’s very adept in compartmentalizing her emotions. She’s always got her head on and she never let anything get in the way of her priorities.
I love the suspenseful element of the barbequed humans and the mysterious countdown. I remember wracking my simple brain for how those two would be related and coming up empty. When I eventually found out toward the end, I wasn’t even close.
Ben, the love interest: This is where I'm supposed to gush and swoon, but I'm opting to skip this part. The impossible romance: Damn it. It hurts like a mofo. You need to read this book; you need to immerse yourself in a world where parallel universes exist. You need to meet the secondary characters that made this book that much more compelling. You need to meet Ben; the angsty, rebellious, typical bad boy who'd loved Janelle since she was probably ten years old. You just need to read this book, period.
VERDICT: Unraveling did what science fiction had somewhat failed as far as capturing this reader's interest. And though I’ve never been one to go out of my way to acquire books in this genre, the ones I have in my bookshelf seem characteristically lacking in emotional pull. Well, Unraveling is the exact opposite; it was bursting in human elements. Though I was a bit wary of the blurb “24 meets X-Files”, I can honestly say that all my hesitations were all for naught. This high octane novel exceeded all my expectations and then some. 2013 can’t come soon enough.
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