(Janelle) Once upon a time I would have said that I could save myself. But I open my eyes and see Ben's long, dark eyelashes and the perfect curve of his mouth, and I say, "We save each other."
This hold-on-to-your-seat finale to the Unraveling series is a mind-blower! It's everything I could have wanted and so much more. It's unexpectedly expected. Ms. Norris doesn't hold back.
Despite stopping the countdown to the Oppenheimer device in Unraveling, this Earth (Janelle's Earth) is still reeling from the close call. Most of the technology is just plain out - no cell phones, no Internet - not to mention very little basic supplies and homes left. The world has been devastated by earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, tornadoes, and looting. Most folks don't have all of their families in tact, and many are seeking shelter at community shelters, like the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Martial law is in effect. In the U.S., the Speaker of the House is in charge, because both the President and Vice-President were killed in the after-math of the natural disasters. Hundreds of thousands are missing, and the number seems to grow daily, as people seem to just vanish, including those in Cecily's care at Qualcomm.
Janelle is living with Struz and her brother Jared. When Taylor Barclay kicks in the door and demands that Janelle come with him to save Ben from being executed on Prima, it's just the beginning of non-stop action. Janelle has to help Elijah escape from a maximum security jail in Prima, so that she & Barclay can question him about Ben's whereabouts.
Since Barclay's been gone, he's discovered that Ben is part of a white slavery/kidnapping ring; Ben and who knows how many others have been snatching people - some to order - from the various multiverse Earths. But for whom? Where? Why? Ben and Elijah were discovered, arrested, questioned, tortured, and imprisoned. But Ben escaped. And the IA has decided that he's the #1 Most Wanted.
Barclay knows that corruption is afoot inside the IA (Interverse Agency). Someone high up is helping the slavers. But he doesn't know where to start or whom to trust to find the information. Barclay figures that Janelle can find Ben, thus getting the full story, help Barclay get the proof he needs to expose the corruption, stop Ben's and his loved ones' execution, stop the slavery operation, and save the day.
And oh yeah, Barclay and Janelle have 5 days to accomplish the task.
So much is new in this book, because we spend a lot of time in Prima and in other versions of Earth. Because we're experiencing everything through Janelle's eyes, it's strange and even scary, but we don't have a lot of time to think. We have to DO.
We get glimpses into the doppelganger theory, that each of the multiverse versions of Earth have the same people, but those people are all different from one another, based on their life experiences and choices. The differences in who they are becomes apparent, but just think of how you'd react to running into someone you think you know well, only to discover that person is not who you think at all.
I found this book sad in so many ways, but I applaud Ms. Norris' determination to not follow any of the expected routes. She keeps us hanging with the constant action, twists and turns, and a vision that means no one, not even main characters, are safe from harm.
My only nit is that there are discrepancies between this book and [book:Undone|5203], which features Ben's POV of Unraveled and the gap between book 1 and this book 2. They aren't massive, but having just read book 1, then Undone (book 1.5) before starting this book, the differences were obvious.
Thoroughly enjoyed the ride of this series and its characters! I'll be on the look-out for more of Ms. Norris' books in the future. She's definitely an author to watch!
Pages: XX Kindle story pages
Publisher: Balzar + Bray