Sunday, December 29, 2019

Unraveled by Kate Jarvik Birch

Unraveled is the sequel to Perfected and Tarnished so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first books in the series.  This is a series that really needs to be read in order so stop reading this review and read Perfected and Tarnished first!

Ella is no longer a pampered Pet from one of the best kennels in the country, she is a revolutionary fighting for freedom for herself and all the other Pets.  Over the past few months she has made some truly shocking discoveries about Pets and the world she lives in, and she has found true friends and fellow revolutionaries.  She has also found, and lost a true friend in Missy, and she is determined to do whatever it takes to free Missy from NuPet and their plans.  The rest of the world thinks that NuPet is doing the decent thing now they have been exposed, rehabilitating the Pets and setting them up for a bright and happy future in the world, but Ella and her friends know the horrifying truth - NuPet is going to exterminate the Pets.  

When a mission goes sideways and they are forced to operate as a smaller group without their usual resources it seems like an uphill mission for them, and when they are accused of a bombing things go from bad to worse.  Ella and her friends as being portrayed as terrorists, while a carefully controlled propaganda campaign is making NuPet look like the good guys.  Running from Congressman John Kimball and NuPet was hard enough, but now Ella and her friends have to hide from a public that wants them rehabilitated, and law enforcement officers who want to stop their criminal activities.  When another mission goes sideways the stress begins to show and the group slowly starts imploding, and with a traitor among them it is only a matter of time until they fail or are captured.  It is a race against time with limited resources - but Ella is used to being underestimated, after all, how dangerous can one Pet be?

Unraveled is the final (or so it seems) book in the trilogy that started with Perfected and Tarnished - and it is a very satisfying end to the series.  I only discovered it at my local public library because I was recommending the first two books and discovered Unraveled had come out last year.  Rereading this series from the start and completing it in less than two days made it much clearer that this series is much darker than you pick up reading them some time apart, and there are some really adult themes for a book series that reads so well.  The idea of slavery and being property seems so much stronger on a second reading, and it seems like it should have been written for adults rather than teenagers - mind you I might have stronger feelings about those themes after reading another series which stresses how little power women had in the past, how fathers owned their daughters until they married and then ownership passed to their husbands.  

The development of the characters over the course of the trilogy is also interesting, you can see changes in all of the main characters and not always for the good.  In many ways we discover more about the people around Ella as she develops an understanding of the world around her she loses the naivety of being a Pet and becomes more human in every way - she loses her vulnerability and innocence and comes to understand how complicated the world is.  She essentially goes from being a pretty ornament to being a fully realised character who rescues herself rather than waiting to be rescued.  There are some heavy themes, but Kate Jarvik Birch doesn't shy away from them, and this is a very rewarding series to read as a result.

If you like this book then try:
  • The Jewel by Amy Ewing
  • The Ones by Daniel Sweren-Becker
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  • Red queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • The scorpion rules by Erin Bow
  • Adaptation by Melinda Lo
  • The forest of hands and teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • XVI by Julia Karr
  • The glass arrow by Kristen Simmons
  • The 100 by Kass Morgan
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • The testing by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Proxy by Alex London
  • ACID by Emma Pass
  • Reboot by Amy Tintera

Reviewed by Brilla

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