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Where does Unraveling rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
What other book might you compare Unraveling to, and why?
Beautiful Creatures - countdown to pending doom
Which character – as performed by Katie Schorr – was your favourite?
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Any additional comments?
As well as a central plot, Unraveling has a number of sub-plots that run alongside, interweaving and connecting with the main one. As such, there is a lot going on and there are many characters involved. Its complexity is one of its strengths since it is full of intrigue and never boring. I really like Elizabeth Norris’ prose. The depth appeals to me and I think she is very skilled at characterisation. She homes in on human relationships (family, friends, lovers etc.), exploring human behaviour and emotions. Janelle is not afraid to talk about her feelings, giving us insight into her character – which felt very real to me. For example, Janelle experiences a life-changing traumatic event which isn’t glossed over or ignored as the story develops. Instead, the effect it has on her is constantly there in the background, resurfacing and retreating throughout the story – in the way one would expect in the early stages of grief.
Admittedly, willing suspension of disbelief is required in order to go along with the central plot. You will need to overlook the amount of info sensitive to national security that Janelle’s dad is happy to share with her. You will need to overlook the way she seems to gain access to sensitive info related to the FBI investigation and a bunch of teenagers’ ability to do a better job at federal bureau investigation than the professionals.
That said I really enjoyed this audiobook. I intend to listen again and will get the sequel. If like me you enjoy contemporary romance and sci-fi, I would strongly recommend it.
You start off at the beach and the initial teen drama fools you into thinking that this is going to be a uninteresting thriller so superficial that you start to think about what else in your library; after all this is a 11 plus hour listen. Then bang, someone is dead, then alive and then another death. I won’t say more – this is not a spoiler since this all happens so rapidly that if you are not paying attention you’ll have to skip back in time.
One of the things I like about the way Norris’ structured the story is she opts for very short scenes. It makes the story move very fast and gives you many point to pause -- briefly because you want to get back to it. Pretty quickly you get sucked into the world of Janelle Tanner; before you know it, Norris has made you curious about the other characters, their relationships. Soon you are wondering when she is going to give you more backstory -- like Alex's mother for example.
Katie Schorr does an excellent job of narration in this first person point of view novel. Her voice is pleasant and melodic.
This is the first of a series. I recommend the first one enthusiastically. It will appeal to anyone who like a teen series. It does have a x-files feel at times, so if that is not your interest you may love it a little less. But I think it is well worth the read. A big thumbs up.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
When I first started listening to this book it reminded me of a late 90's early 2000 teen TV show about a group of alien teenagers. The very premise, a girl who gets fatally wounded and then is miraculously healed by a boy who is obsessed with her, is exactly what happened in the very first episode of this TV show. The story took a different turn however, which I'm glad of, but then started to remind me of another TV show, Fringe. I don't want to say too much and give it away, but if you've seen Fringe and listen to this book you will totally see the connection.
I liked the book, don't get me wrong. It kept my interest and there were a few twists and turns that kept me guessing...for a little while anyway.
The main character, Janelle, is smart, strong, and very persistent. Ben, the boy who saves her, is also an ok character. I didn't love him and I didn't find myself overly rooting for their relationship. It was just kind of sweet and a little bland. The relationship that is. I really liked Alex, Janelle's best friend. He was also super smart and witty. A very good sidekick. Everything seemed to flow pretty well and the prose was very readable. The structure of the book was a major redeeming quality. Short chapters and the ever present countdown helped to add urgency to the storyline.
The narrator was pretty good. My only complaint is that I wished she would have deviated the voices a little more. All the male characters pretty much sounded alike. Not a huge deal, mind you. She did a great job with emotions and never became overly dramatic.
Some of the things in the book that bothered me... Well, the first was some of the logic in the book. I really had to suspend belief for some parts. LIke how Janelle seemed to have such easy access to her father's files and his laptop. Her dad is an FBI agent, well no he's the head of a division of the FBI is San Diego to be exact, and it seems to me like it should not have been so easy for her to sneak a peek at his files or get onto his computer and email. HIs partner also seemed to allow her so much free reign into the investigation that it was a little more than unbelievable. And how is it that pretty much all of the central teenage characters in the book are so smart? Seventeen year olds that seem to have such a good grasp on quantum physics...ok? Anyway, the second thing that didn't bother me so much but might offend other people was the language. The F bomb is dropped several times and in general there is lots of cussing. So be warned. The third thing is that toward the last half of the book it felt like it began to lag a little. It was like fifty pages could have been cut out in order to move things along more quickly. Or maybe I was just anxious to see if my theory about the countdown was right?
The ending has me conflicted. In one way I thought, wow that is a brave way to end a book. Spoiler...the author kills off three of the semi-important characters in the story. One early on and two more at the end of the book. But the ending also made me angry, and not just because it was a cliffhanger. But because it was really sad and left me feeling like after what happened maybe I don't want to read the sequel, which there will inevitably be.
Bottom line: This is a decent read. I enjoyed it and I kept listening, which says a lot because I've been known to give up after only getting a few chapters in to certain books. While the plot lines were borrowed from other sources, the writer still made them her own. The writing style was definitely readable and flowed reasonably well. The cussing was a little overboard and the romance was a of the insta-love variety and I didn't find myself really caring about it one way or another. If you like sci-fi/mysteries give this one a try but prepare yourself for a cliffhanger and lots of suspension of belief.
8 of 11 people found this review helpful