Wednesday, March 27, 2013

eBook Review: Undone

Before the accident. Before their universes collided. Before they fell in love.

Riveting and romantic, Undone: An Unraveling Novella contains three short stories set in the world of Unraveling, the first book in the gripping sci-fi duology by Elizabeth Norris.

Before Ben Michaels saved Janelle Tenner’s life, Janelle saved Ben when he stumbled through an interuniverse portal into a completely new world. That day, he fell in love with the girl of his dreams. And he never forgot her.

Through three stories told from Ben’s point of view, learn how Ben and his friends discovered their ability to travel between worlds, how Ben first met Janelle, and how he pined for her for years before he actually got the chance to meet her, save her life, and capture her heart. And find out what happens to Ben between the cliff-hanger conclusion to Unraveling and the beginning of its heart-stopping sequel, Unbreakable.

I really enjoyed UNRAVELING so much more than I thought I would.  I'm eagerly looking forward to Book 2, UNBREAKABLE.  This e-novella?  Told from Ben's point of view?  Made me want it so much more.

Oh my shiny stars...told from Ben's POV and starting before he saved Janelle's life we see just how much he was torn between fixing a wrong he was only partially responsible for and moving on. I have to admit on paper, comparing his actions to other YA male love interests, he sounds like a super-creep.  Moreso even than in UNRAVELING since we see him from being super-creep through his own eyes.

He admits to this, justifying himself by pointing out he understands he's being creepy. But I think what sets him apart is that he doesn't force his attentions on Janelle. We see various 'crucial' moments in his life (involving her) before he saves her and each time its sort of sweet how he's like "All right I got this, we will talk and she'll find me funny and--there goes my chance. If i talk to her now it would be creepy. Well there's always next time."  This isn't a guy who wants to possess or dominate the object of his affections, this is a teen guy who's already kind of lost in a world just enough skewed from his own that he's off balance. 

Really this made me think back to my own aborted attempts at getting my crush to notice me.  Memorized his school schedule (check), could tell from the way he smiled if he meant it (check), could recognize his walk anywhere (check).  I barely even knew the kid, so I had even less reason than Ben to know these things.  Its all about intent.  I didn't intend to use that information to manipulate my crush into asking me out.  Ben didn't intend to use the little things he picked up about Janelle to do anything more than observe her.  If something came of it well so be it.   

Briefly there's a chapter or so about the events happening during UNRAVELING and the immediate aftermath, but the bulk of the last half of the book is a set up for UNBREAKABLE.

We got to see how his and Eli's homecoming was NOT what they (or anyone could reasonably) expect. My heart broke for them, and their families. I think things were a bit too easy in the case of Reid's family though.  [spoiler] Reid is of course dead, but then apparently so are his parents, so Eli and Ben don't have to face them and lie to their faces about their son. [/end spoiler] We see Ben's family, learn a bit about Eli's and get some context as to how different their world is from Janelle's.

This is a bit more difficult to comprehend.  At the end of UNDONE, we see what it takes to make Ben break and make a vow that is (at best) morally gray.  Included is a snippet of UNBREAKABLE and I'm not sure how that fits with what we read in the last couple of pages of UNDONE. 

[spoiler] At the end of UNDONE, the Bad Guys bring in Janelle as a hostage to force Ben to do what they want or they'll hurt her (they had previously tortured him and Eli for weeks, then shot Eli's stepfather in front of him).  Ben agrees if they'll leave her alone.  In the UNBREAKABLE excerpt, Janelle is perfectly fine--relatively speaking--and the last sentence is of her seeing Ben.  So I'm a little confused if the last bit of UNDONE is set during UNBREAKABLE or what[/end spoiler]