Altered

Unraveled by Genifer Albin is the final story in the Crewel trilogy.   I think as a reader I fall into the same rut that I tend to enjoy the first book in the series more as the world building is all exciting and new. The middle book is usually just ok, and then the last book tends to get exciting wondering how everything will come to a conclusion. Unfortunately, this last story did not fall into my normal pattern. The ending was disappointing in so many ways.

First, I thought there could have been more drama between Adelice and her little sister. Unable to tell her sister the truth in order to protect her, could have led to Amie really hating Adelice and making things harder for Adelice both emotionally and also getting in the way of any plans she made to take down Cormac. On the same note, I think Genifer could have drawn out the change in relationship between Adelice andPryana, keep us guessing as to whether Pryana wanted Adelice out of the way for revenge, to regain her position, or whether she was part of the rebel alliance instead of revealing right away that she had changed sides.

A storyline that did not get fully explored was Loricel the Master Creweler. Adelice realizes she is much older than she even imagined when she met her. So when did Loricel meet Cormac and how did she become what seems to be the first Creweler? Who was she before Arraswas created?   For that matter, what was her prior relationship with Albert Einstein and couldn’t there have been a more dramatic sendoff for two people so brilliantly talented?

The final encounter between Adelice and Cormac was a letdown after all the buildup to what should have been a great showdown, in fact, throughout the series I think we were all led to expect thatMaybe that’s the problem, maybe author’s paint themselves into a corner by the high drama between the two main characters in the story and then nothing can live up to the tension built.

There were also too many hints given about the outcome of the Adelice and Erik/Jost situation, the book practically screamed, “Hey, I am leaving an important clue here” so even that part of the ending was a disappointment with the ‘big twist’ not being much of a surprise at all. The only surprise was how that ended without any explanation of what happened in the big battle to cause that action to be taken. It also remained unexplained why he didn’t just tell Adelice as soon as she found him and he regained consciousness.

Veracity

As someone who chose writing as a major and profession, I can’t but be biased about a book that is about a dystopian government using words as a way to control people. Veracity by Laura Bynum is    shades of 1984, Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go and current events such as redacting documents, freedom of speech issues, etc.

Harper Adams was just a toddler in the before times, before the world changed. She was old enough to remember losing her parents, the parents she was told reacted badly to the vaccine they were given to protect them from the Pandemic which was killing millions across the country. As a teen she was chosen, against her will, to work for one of the government agencies as a Monitor due to her sentient abilities. Sentients are the modern term for people in the beforetimes known as psychics. In Harper’s case, she can read people’s colors. The colors tell her what kind of person someone is, how they feel and what they have done.   As part of her work, she also helps with the Red Lists, which are made up of words that are no longer allowed, and how the government keeps them from usage is everyone’s slate, a metal device inserted close to the carotid that will shock someone at varying levels of severity for trying to say certain words, in the worst case trying to speak a certain word can kill the speaker.

More benign methods the government uses to control people are the handing out of Occlusia, a sort of antidepressant drug, an increased number of bars, and the public’s right to free _____. Still, Harper can’t help feeling a strong sense of unease about society, especially when her work involves making sure that people who have been accused of crimes are actually guilty, however, often the alleged ‘criminals’ receive their punishment before she can review their case files. The Blue Coats are the quasi police force in this society of the future and all they have to do is recite the codes of the alleged violations and that gives the Blue Coats the authority to administer what is often severe punishment such as beatings, rape, and killing people who violate the rules

As there are flashbacks to Harper’s teen years, I decided to include this review on this blog even though it’s primarily a YA dystopian fiction blog. Of course in this kind of future, a person with Harper’s abilities is the perfect recruit for the government agency that monitors suspected rebels, but that’s also what makes her the best potential double agent as well, though the price involves giving up everything including her own daughter to create the kind of world she believes her daughter should be living in, and she does this all without knowing much about the people she would be throwing her lot in with, though she knows they highly valuable a mysterious tome, known as the ‘Book of Noah.’