2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris
This is one of those books that I get completely sucked into. I get sucked in so much that I start fangirling about it all over the place. Unravelling was FLAWLESS. Well, not completely flawless, but almost.
The plot was well paced and kept me hooked. I mentioned in one of my previous reviews that I didn't feel a sense of urgency even though the world was/could...
Published 18 months ago by Amber
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unraveling book one
Unravelling was so nearly brilliant, there was so much to enjoy and admire about it. It is such an ambitious book and that ambition really paid off but in the end this book fell at the most important hurdle, characters.
I will start my break down of Unravelling on a positive note. The story itself is incredible and exactly the type of story I love. It kept...
Published 6 months ago by Kate Phillips
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris,
This review is from: Unravelling (Paperback)This is one of those books that I get completely sucked into. I get sucked in so much that I start fangirling about it all over the place. Unravelling was FLAWLESS. Well, not completely flawless, but almost.
The plot was well paced and kept me hooked. I mentioned in one of my previous reviews that I didn't feel a sense of urgency even though the world was/could be coming to an end. In Unravelling I definitely felt that! The climax had me holding my breath for so long, there was a legitimate chance of me fainting.
I was wondering how this was going to lean towards science fiction rather than paranormal, and can I just say it was NOT what I was expecting! At all!
The big reveal/plot twist came about half way through, and it blew me away. Did anybody actually see that coming?!
There were a couple of things that I did find unbelievable (I know, in a sci-fi novel!), particularly the amount of times Janelle went through her father's FBI files without proper consequences. She seemed to get away with too much. I don't understand why she was allowed to solve these cases for the FBI.
I also had a problem with the way Janelle - the main character - used the word 'literally'. Your heart didn't literally jump into your throat and choke you, mate.
I didn't think I cared for the relationship between Ben and Janelle, but the ending changed my mind. I also really like her with another guy, and if there was a love triangle then I'd definitely root for those two! That would be one love triangle that I would enjoy.
The ending made me cry. A lot. Elizabeth Norris makes some bold moves there, and I adore her for it. I always love it when an author makes a decision to kill/maim/torture/destroy important characters!
Unravelling is a great novel with amazing twists, writing and world building. I adored it, and I think there is going to be a sequel. The set up for a second book was fantastic!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling,
This review is from: Unravelling (Paperback)Unraveling was definitely a thrill ride from start to finish! I really enjoyed Liz Norris's writing style, she pulled me in immediately and with the short, sharp chapters I was hooked and couldn't put the book down. I love movies with end of the world type scenarios and parallel universes so was interested to see how it would unfold on the pages and was thrilled to find I was just as excited and could visualise the world perfectly.
Janelle was a great character, I connected with her immediately and really sympathised with her situation. She's had a lot to deal with her in life, a workaholic dad, an ill mom, looking after her little brother not to mention dealing with attempted sexual assault and losing her friendships because of it. Janelle can only rely on herself and her best friend Alex and together they make a really mature, supportive team which was lovely to witness.
When Janelle "dies" after being hit by a car and is brought back to life by the enigmatic Ben Michaels, a rollercoaster ride of mystery, murder and mayhem takes hold of Janelle's life and things will never be the same. When Janelle, Alex and Ben team up to stop a countdown to the destruction of their world they discover just how far some people will go to stop them.
I loved the countdown to destruction aspect of the book, it kept the pace frenetic and I never experienced that lull that usually occurs in action books. The science was believable and its inclusion wasn't too overwhelming. I won't focus on the plot too much in this one because there are several reveals that will blow your mind and I don't want to spoil them.
The characterisation was the books biggest strength in my opinion. I really liked the exploration into Janelle's life especially her relationships with her family. The weight of the world is quite literally on her shoulders at times and she handles it with a grace I found really admirable. Her relationships with Alex and her brother Jared were sweet and real, I loved the compassion and love they clearly all shared for each other.
Janelle's relationship with her parents frustrated me, I wanted her to be the kid for once and not have to deal with the drama. It's understandable considering the positions that both her parents were in but it saddened me that she was put in the positions she was in.
I enjoyed how Janelle's relationship with Ben developed. While the inexplicable connection was there, I never got a whiff of insta-love. The romance aspect didn't overshadow the action either which was wonderful instead acting as a complement.
Norris pulls no punches with the plot and isn't afraid to break her readers hearts and I certainly shed a few tears reading this book. Usually a story so packed with action will sacrifice the emotion but Norris brings tons of heart and feeling to her words and really made me care for her characters.
There was one aspect that really bothered me and that was the fact that the kids ran around like mini-FBI agents, hacking into databases, stealing files from Janelle's Dad and partner, messing with evidence and the adults shared vital, classified information with Janelle as if she was an agent herself. It's a small gripe but it took away from my enjoyment as I don't think the FBI would be quite so easy to manipulate or so careless with their case-loads.
Unraveling is definitely cat-nip for a sci-fi geek, I adored the X-Files references, it was filled with suspense and tension until the explosive, heart-wrenching ending I still can't believe happened! A wonderful story of love, honour, courage and family wrapped in sci-fi goodness with a healthy topping of the paranormal, I recommend Unraveling to anybody looking for a story of a kick-ass heroine willing to protect her family and her world with everything she's got.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unraveling book one,
I will start my break down of Unravelling on a positive note. The story itself is incredible and exactly the type of story I love. It kept me interested from the first page until the end. I thought it was exciting and full of action but it was also complex and clever. There was maybe, at times, a little too much going on and a few too many sub plots but it was still extremely impressive.
The writing was also of a very high standard. Norris' world building was impeccable and I got lost in the world she created. I really liked the short chapters and the way they were presented as a countdown like in the TV series 24. There were a couple of times where I felt corners were cut. Several conversations that explained major components of the plot were skipped and instead Janelle (the main character) explained them to the reader after. I would have much preferred to have the conversation played out.
As I have mentioned my main problem with this book was characters. Most of them I liked, Ben (the love interest) and Alex (the best friend) were my favourites and I thought they were both full rounded. I also liked all the supporting characters especially Janelle's dad and his FBI buddies. There are a lot of characters in this book and Norris did a great job at making them all different and making them all fit.
My issue and unfortunately it was a big issue was Janelle. I really, really found her unlikeable. In fact I would go as far to say she was horrible. I had the overwhelming feeling that Janelle thought she was better than everyone else. The world appears to revolve around her and it irritated me. I hated the way she treated Alex, it was disgusting. She used him as a verbal punching bag and taxi service. She also puts her romance with Ben above everything else. She finds out that the world is going to end and people are dying, yet despite being told by everyone she refuses to inform the FBI or authorities. I just found her annoying and selfish.
The romance also failed to impress probably due to my feeling about Janelle. I didn't quite feel the chemistry between her and Ben so the romance fell a little flat for me.
Unravelling is an amazing book about a horrible character. Despite that it was extremely readable and impressive. I look forward to reading more from Norris.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable debut novel,
This review is from: Unravelling (Paperback)I finished Unravelling just over two weeks ago and I'm still struggling to write this review because, honestly, I don't think I can give it the justice it deserves. It's such a unique read that pulls you in from the very first page and it keeps you enthralled until the very last, making you want more and more.
Janelle Tenner is a normal seventeen-year-old girl until one day she is hit by a truck and is killed. But the next thing she see's is Ben Michaels kneeling over her and she knows that he had something to do with bringing her back to life. Janelle tries to get closer to Ben to find out what really happened but Ben's hiding's bigger secrets and he's somehow involved in her Dad's new FBI case where unidentified people are turning up - dead and somehow the world only 23 days left resulting to the end of the world.
Unravelling is absolutely EPIC read and I'm still trying to get over how awesome it really is. I've heard mixed reviews about this book and I personally think it's going to be one of them that you're either going to love it or hate it, and of course, I loved it. Elizabeth Norris introduces you to something fresh, imaginative and beautifully written, with intense and action packed scenes and a storyline that is exciting and unique. The story continued to surprise me all the way through and there were so many twists and turns that left me utterly stunned. It's impossible to predict this book and it was definitely one of my favourite reads of 2012.
Janelle is a great heroine. She's smart, feisty and witty. She never backs down from a challenge and will always stand up for what she believes is right. The way her mind works really is captivating too. With her Dad being a FBI agent, she's picks up a lot of insight from him, like how to figure out which hand someone will use to fire a gun or she thinks fast to get herself out of dangerous situations and I really see her as a FBI agent in training. She's definitely the hero in this book.
Ben was a great love interest for Janelle. He isn't what he appears to be, he's been labelled as a stoner kid at school and he's anything but. He's just as smart as Janelle, he's funny, loving and he really cares for her. They have a connection that knows-one can break and it's really sweet. The secondary characters were fantastic too. I love Elijah, Reid and Alex especially Elijah. His relationship with Janelle is a pure hate relationship but it's so funny at times that it gives the story the humour it needs.
Now the ending of the book is utterly heart-breaking but so, so good. Be warned, it's a tear jerker! I knew it was coming but I still wasn't prepared for it and Elizabeth Norris ended things so fantastically that I'm dying for the next book. The last words that Ben spoke to Janelle are still with me now and I have no doubt that Ben will keep his promise. I cannot wait to see how things turn out.
All in all, Unravelling is a remarkable debut novel by Elizabeth Norris and I will be eagerly anticipating the release of her next book. This not a book you want to miss out on in 2012, so go and pick up a copy today - you won't regret it!
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! The Best Sci-Fi Book I've Read In A Long Long Time!,
This review is from: Unravelling (Paperback)4¼ Out of 5
"I wonder how long I was dead. Because I know with absolute certainty that I was. Dead.
And I also know with absolute certainty that somehow - even though it defies any logical explanation - Ben Michaels brought me back."
Janelle's life is far from perfect. Her mother is bipolar and barely manages to get out of bed. Her father is a full-time FBI agent who is hardly ever there. Janelle is responsible for her brother, trying to play the mother while also trying to be a normal teen.
She doesn't realise how dead she feels until she is actually, physically dead.
Hit by a car. Very definitely dead. And then... brought back. Healed. Alive. Someone restarting her silent, broken heart, leaning over her with worried brown-black eyes.
This person - the one who heals her - loves her. Very, very much. But surely, surely, they have a better reason for bringing her back. There has to be something bigger going on. Right?
Possibly something that is linked to the series of mysterious and bizarre cases Janelle's dad is investigating.
Like her own. The car - the one that killed her - is unregistered, created by a car company no one has ever heard of. As if the car just... appeared. Out of nowhere. The driver, a John Doe, who died after hitting her. He died in his car. Only, he seems to have died from extensive radiation burns - injuries that could never have happened to him inside the car.
But all of that's impossible, right?
Unfortunately, no. Something far bigger than her is going on. Something the whole world is going to find out about in, oh, about twenty three days.
Well. Not really going to find out about, per say. More... not discover. Cause the world will be over.
Unless Janelle, her best friend and saviour can stop it - unless they can keep everything from unravelling.
'So far all attempts to stop the countdown have been unsuccessful...'
So, let the countdown begin and pray that Janelle can stop it...
Unravelling is the kind of book you pick up, start to read and then just can't stop. It is totally addictive. I could barely do anything else - even the so-called 'important' stuff, like eating and sleeping and breathing... Who came up with these stupid bodily rules? They totally get in the way of my reading. It is extremely annoying. But back on topic, Unravelling was completely hooking. I literally could not put it down at all, no matter how hard I tried - not that I tried all that hard, really, given that the book is freaking amazing.
I absolutely adored Janelle. She was so normal and yet so not. She was clever, stubborn, strong and snarky. She never let anyone walk over her or stop her from doing what she wanted - namely investigating FBI cases. I do admit, the fact that the only thing that seemed to work for her when she was grieving was just throwing herself into snoop mode was a bit odd to me (personally, I'm the curl-up-and-cry-and-eat-chocolate-and-watch-trashy-TV kind of girl) but, hey! People grieve in their own way and if that's what works... And no. I'm not telling you why she's grieving. You're just gonna have to read the book and find out.
As for Ben... Yum. Right from the word go, he made me fall in love. Damn me and my weak spot for the tortured ones! But seriously, he was so so amazing.
And Alex... Oh, I want an Alex. He was so sweet and amazing and just always always there for Janelle, no matter what. And I loved that they were just friends - no love triangle including new mysterious boy and boy-next-door. Yay!
The whole daughter-keeping-family-together, absent-workaholic-father and/or emotionally-absent-disturbed-mother thing has been done numerous times. But I think what made this family and the family angle so special is that even though it seemed like it was almost on the verge of falling apart, the family was still normal. Janelle, her dad and her little brother fire off X-Files quotes, eat Chinese and joke around. There's Strutz, the basically-uncle, who's there and makes them laugh. Alex, to whom Janelle's dad is basically a second father. The beautiful, perfect and touching relationship between Janelle and her little brother Jared. Even the nickname they gave Janelle: "J-baby" just screamed normality. The mother might be the only abnormal thing, always holed up in bed with the occasional episode, but also the occasional normal, sunny period. And then there came The Event, which proved that even if you're normal and even though you love each other and are hanging on firmly, a single act or event can still devastate...
Oh, I have to mention the plot! Mainly 'cause I loved all the twists and turns. And, of course, because I'm a sucker for a good murder mystery! But my God, Miss Norris! Why do you seem to be set upon breaking my goddamn heart?! I mean, what's with that?! Because yes, this book that I wasn't expecting to be emotional, this book that I expected to be all sci-fi, was absolutely heartbreaking. The way Norris wrote... she made the sci-fi, far-fetched as it was, seem actually real and so emotional it was untrue. I fell in love, laughed, hated and then cried my eyes out at three in the morning. Oh, why did you do it, Miss Norris? Why why why...?
But back to the writing: it was brilliant. I think Janelle and her voice had a big part to play in that: J felt real and human and I felt everything she felt. Which, obviously, meant I mourned as she mourned. And now I'm pretty sure half my heart has been taken... But on top of the emotions there was the whole mystery. I loved that part of it - mainly 'cause generally speaking it didn't destroy me. I just had fun trying to figure everything out and loved racing through the book to the end, gobbling it all up. But seriously: that blend of emotions and pure sci-fi? Brilliant. Genius. Awesome. Yay!
So, yes. Unravelling was... incredible. I adored it. I have been left broken by it and yet absolutely deliriously desperate for Unbreakable. My heart may be broken but the torn muscle still aches for more of this story, of this world (or should I say worlds?) and of these characters. This is a book that will suck you in, capture your heart and mind and leave you breathless, broken and longing for more more more as soon as humanely possible. Just an absolutely stunning debut I can't recommend enough.
4.0 out of 5 stars Unravelling,
I loved Janelle straight away. She was a stubborn and strong character who didn't like to back down when she knew she was right. She was determined to get Ben to talk and tell her what happened and who he is. She was also very determined. She was determined to figure out what the hell was going on and help her father solve his case. Janelle's mother is bipolar and she basically raised her brother and protected him from their mother's moments. She's slightly angry at her father for leaving her in charge of raising her brother, taking care of her mother, the house and for making her grow up too quickly.
As soon as Ben brought Janelle back to life, I was extremely intrigued by him. I spent quite a bit of this book thinking he was an alien (and how funny it was that Janelle's father wanted to look for aliens and Janelle may have just found one), but then we found out Ben's story and it was much more interesting that my alien theory. I found myself drawn to Ben and wanting him and Janelle to get together because he cared about her so much.
With the gruesome bodies and Ben's reveal, there was definitely a lot going on in this book. It's very hard to describe without spoilers, but there was someone else like Ben who was doing stuff that was causing destruction on Earth and causing all the gruesome deaths to happen. And it wasn't just Earth that was being affected. I enjoyed discovering Ben's story and learning about what happened to him. I felt bad for him because of how he was separated from his family and he's been trying for years to get back.
The ending was cruel and heartbreaking. I ended up crying a bit at it because Janelle had lost so much throughout the book and that hit at the end was the last straw for my emotions. I just couldn't believe everything that had happened to her and how much she would have to deal with. She's a strong character though, so I knew she'd managed to get through it.
Overall, this was a fantastic novel that had me hooked from the very start. It was mysterious, intriguing and thrilling, and I definitely recommend reading it if you haven't already.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Idea, But Too Many Issues.,
This review is from: Unravelling (Paperback)(Source: Purchased used from Awesomebooks.com)
17-year-old Janelle is just leaving the beach after her shift as a life guard, when a jeep comes barrelling towards her, and she knows she's dead. Then a miracle happens, she's brought back to life, and the person who's currently healing her severed spinal cord? Ben Michaels; a stoner from school.
Janelle is given a clean bill of health at the hospital, but she knows what nobody else will believe - she died, and Ben Michaels brought her back. Now Janelle wants to know why, and how Ben Michaels saved her.
Janelle also has something else to focus on though, her father works for the FBI and is working on a new case that revolves around the fact that people keep turning up dead from excessive radiation, and they've also found something that appears to be a bomb with a timer - that they can't defuse.
Who is Ben Michaels? How did he manage to save Janelle and Why? Why are these people dying from Radiation burns? What is the timer counting down to? And how are Ben Michaels and this case linked?
I'm kind torn over this book, because there were parts that I really liked, and then parts that were just so boring it drove me crazy. Some of the plotlines seemed to have holes in them, the whole countdown thing was a bit bizarre (and it sounded much better in the blurb than in the book), and the pacing was just too slow.
Janelle was an okay character. I appreciated her determination to find the truth, and her dislike of people keeping secrets from her, but at the same time she was a bit too sure of herself, thinking that she could solve a case that the FBI couldn't!
I liked Ben, and he said some really sweet things. Some of his flirting was just lovely, and I quickly grew to like him.
One of the major flaws of this book for me though was the pacing. The beginning was good, but after the first 200~250 pages I began to wonder what the hell was going on. The entire middle, and even part of the end were so slow they just dragged, and dragged, and dragged some more. This was really disappointing after such a promising start, and I got to the point where I just couldn't force myself to keep reading, and actually had to put this down and read something else (which I don't really like doing). I really think that this book would benefit from having some of this dead weight cast off, 445 pages was about 150 pages too long!
The plot - I have to say that when reading this, I couldn't help but see the similarities between this story and the TV show `Roswell'; first Ben saves Janelle from dying - Max saves Liz in Roswell, there are three of these kids who are different - ditto for Roswell, and when Janelle looks in the mirror and finds proof that Ben did something to her, (which Liz also did) I was seriously expecting a silver handprint. That being said, I did love Roswell, but the similarities here were just so loud that when it's revealed what exactly Ben is at around page 250, and Janelle makes some sort of comment about being shocked, I couldn't help but wonder whether she had been paying attention to what was going on.
When we eventually get to the real story though, the plot holes are huge, and it took so long for things to be explained that I was getting seriously hacked off. How many pages are we expected to read with no explanations for things, until we just can't be bothered anymore? Some of these plot points were answered to some extent by the end of the book, but it was just ridiculous that Janelle herself didn't question some of these things. For a girl who goes around asking difficult questions, and sticking her nose in where it's not wanted - including impersonating an FBI officer, she didn't ask what I thought were very obvious questions. It was a bit like `We found a purple pig' - `Great - I wonder what colour the bacon will be?' - aren't you going to ask where the purple pig came from, or why it's there?
There were other similar incidents of this during the book too, and it got annoying.
The countdown. So much is made of this on the back cover, every chapter starts with the current time left, and the book is even compared to `24'. In the actual story though? It's almost a side-line! Janelle isn't even aware of the clock until about 18 days to go, and even then, it's something her father is working on, not really anything to do with her, and most of the time it's barely even thought about - other things are happening. Yet another misleading blurb!
The whole thing about `Janelle saving the world' was a bit over-the-top too. In reality saving the world had very little to do with her.
That being said though, I did enjoy the first half of this book, but I just can't forgive this books problems.
Overall; interesting idea, but too many issues.
6 out of 10.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good concept,
4.0 out of 5 stars A more "Adult" YA Novel..,
4.0 out of 5 stars Good,
This review is from: Unravelling (Paperback)I found this book a bit slow at times but an interesting read and good enough to be curious about the second instalment.
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Unravelling by Elizabeth Norris (Paperback - 7 Jun 2012)