Unravel by Imogen Howson
Book Two of the Linked series
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss
Summary (from Goodreads):
Untold dangers await telepathic twins in this sequel to the futuristic, romantic thriller called classic sci-fi, space-travel adventure at its best. After Elissa and Lin exposed the government's secret experiments in Linked, which Booklistcalled a roller-coaster ride into space that just about everyone should enjoy, their home planet Sekoia is thrown into chaos. Determined to do their part to help the planet they've hurt, they return to Sekoia only to discover that things are far worse that they imagined. Resources are suddenly scarce, people are scared, and there's a rising current of anger against the Spares. When Lissa and Lin find themselves among another group of Spares and twins, they feel like they've found their kindred spirits at last. But a threat none of them could have expected is lying in wait for Sekoia's Spares.
What I Liked:
YAY for another series completed! This one was a duo, so that made finishing the series easier. I like duos, because they're less stretched out and mass-marketed like trilogies. Also, with trilogies, the final book is almost always published more than a year after the second book. A year and a half to two years is the norm, it seems. I understand that the author wants to make the third book as fantastic as possible, but honestly, most of the time, when the author takes more than a year, the book ends up with a lower rating than a third book that published a year after the second. But I digress.
I liked this book a lot. I knew, after the first book ended, that there must be another book to the series. This book! I think this book does an excellent job of continuing the story from the first book, as well as wrapping up the series. The plot was weird - I felt like it was a lot of back-and-forth, but I was (overall) interested in knowing what was happening, what was going to happen, and what I missed (if I skipped over something).
Elissa and Lin are heading back to Sekoia, to try and help the planet with the space shuttles and hyperdrives. But when the girls and the rest of the Phoenix's crew reach Sekoia, they find that things are very different. The planet is under IPL law, not SFI law, and everything is chaos. They are taken into a safe house by Cadan's parents, which houses other twins and Spares, just like Elissa and Lin. But there are worse things than the abductions and raids happening on the planet, as everyone is about to find out.
Once again, Elissa is the twin I favor. I like Lin well enough, but she doesn't act human, and she has no compassion - except towards Elissa. Elissa is kind and thoughtful, with a soft heart and a hard-working attitude. I hate how she puts herself down all the time, thinking that she does nothing, while Cadan and Lin and Ivan and everyone else does something. Elissa always feels like she's dead weight, but she is so strong, such a wonderful heroine. Not every heroine has to save the world, and that's okay.
The story of this book was kind of weird. Part was spent trying to get to Sekoia. Part was spent figuring out that they need to take shelter on Sekoia. Then they went to the safe house. Then they had to leave the safe house. Then they were off to Philomel (a different planet). It was very see-saw-like, and honestly, a little bit exhausting to follow.
Howson injects seeds of conflict throughout the story though, and she goes straight for Cadan and Elissa's relationship. Cadan's parents didn't know that she and Cadan were dating, so when they see Cadan and Elissa together, they don't necessarily approve. Cadan's mother puts it in Elissa's mind that Elissa is distracting Cadan. Then there's Cadan himself - to Elissa, it seems like he isn't treating her like an adult. And Elissa - she is so insecure, but rightfully so. With Cadan's mother breathing down her back, less and less time with Cadan, and her growing doubt of the strength of their relationship, Elissa has every right to feel like her love life isn't in great shape.
What I like about this is how the author tests Elissa and Cadan, how she keeps throwing obstacles in their paths - whether it's the parents, or Elissa's self-doubt, or Cadan having to leave to pilot. It seems like every time that Cadan and Elissa get alone time, they either get interrupted really quickly, or they disagree about something. But they work things out, bit by bit, and I like that. I wanted to see more intimacy between them, but as an afterthought, I realize that it's not really their style. Oh well.
Stick with the story. It might seem cyclical, or tug-of-war-like, but it's necessary. Howson tackles Sekoia, then IPL, then the Spares, problem after problem after problem. Not that the Spares are a problem, necessarily, but there is a problem with them. The last 15% were CRAZY - Howson throws something at the very end that is not totally unexpected, but the way it happens is unexpected. I was shocked and enraged right along with a certain character, but in the end, I think it was bound to happen.
All in all, I'm satisfied with this book! It has a wonderful ending, not cookie-cutter perfect, but satisfying. I'm a tad bit confused as to how the IPL/Sekoia/Spares government/rights/problems worked out specifically, but I think that was just me rushing to get to the end. Don't do that. Take your time, at the end.
What I Did Not Like:
This book was so long. Nearly 500 pages? Woah. I was definitely intimidated from the beginning, especially after reading The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (also somewhere between 400 and 500 pages). I feel like there were paragraphs in each chapter that really were not necessary. A good fraction of this book could have been cut down. In all honestly. I skipped whole pages of this book, when I saw that it was the same contemplation, the same musing, the same observation, over and over, just said differently. I definitely understand the basics and beyond. There was just too much narration and "fluff" for me.
And all that narration and musings and whatnot? It can be boring at times. That's why I skipped pages at a time, when I skipped at all. I hate skipping parts of a book. But you gotta do what you gotta do when a part of the book isn't holding your interest, but you want to finish the book. So.
Would I Recommend It:
I would most definitely recommend you read this book if you've already read Linked! I know there were some readers that thought that Linked ended well - but there is more to the story! And I liked the "more".
And if you haven't started this series, I would recommend the books! It's only a duo, and this is the last book (obviously), so, no waiting, no angst, no heartbreaking decisions or cliffhangers. These books are heavily science fiction, but I love the backseat romance, and the sisters theme. Definitely give these two books a try, if you love science fiction (or even if you don't)!
4 stars. What a fabulous ending to this duo series! I'm sad that it ended (like with most series), but I think I like duos, how that they don't stretch on for miles (years) and leave me heartbroken (oftentimes). Well done, Imogen Howson!
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