Unraveling

Unraveling

In this standalone fantasy novel by an award-winning author, the dark truth behind a string of unusual murders leads to an otherworldly exploration of spirits, myth, and memory, steeped in Caribbean storytelling.Dr. Miranda Ecouvo, forensic therapist of the City, just helped put a serial killer behind bars. But she soon discovers that her investigation into seven unusual m...

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Title:Unraveling
Author:Karen Lord
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Unraveling Reviews

  • Lata

    I'm not entirely sure what I read. A story of a serial killer, a forensic therapist, and a pair of brothers, Ajit and Chance, one a Trickster, the other who is sort of human, and sort of undying. A story also of angels, and of a powerful being who can make undying individuals, and can separate a less-powerful being than her into undying and human....

    Miranda, the therapist, is pulled into the oddest investigation she's ever been on by Chance, who takes her through labyrinths to help her find the

    I'm not entirely sure what I read. A story of a serial killer, a forensic therapist, and a pair of brothers, Ajit and Chance, one a Trickster, the other who is sort of human, and sort of undying. A story also of angels, and of a powerful being who can make undying individuals, and can separate a less-powerful being than her into undying and human....

    Miranda, the therapist, is pulled into the oddest investigation she's ever been on by Chance, who takes her through labyrinths to help her find the identity of the serial killer and his motive.

    There was a lot of weird and wonderful in this book, and stuff I didn't really understand, like the pantheon of deities/super-beings, and the stuff about the amulets; but I liked Miranda and her prickliness, and her relationships with Chance and Ajit. As I'm still processing what I read, I'm giving this book

    .

  • Monika Sadowski

    I am not going to lie but I don’t know the author, so I picked this book only by looking at the cover page which seemed to me very intriguing. It’s a big maze with an eye in the middle. The main characters Dr. Miranda Ecouvo and two brothers Chance and Trickster have to go through the maze and solve complicated puzzles in order to catch a killer or rather confirmed that Walther Grey, Butcher of the City killed and mutilated 7 victims. I couldn’t get into the book on the beginning but when I did

    I am not going to lie but I don’t know the author, so I picked this book only by looking at the cover page which seemed to me very intriguing. It’s a big maze with an eye in the middle. The main characters Dr. Miranda Ecouvo and two brothers Chance and Trickster have to go through the maze and solve complicated puzzles in order to catch a killer or rather confirmed that Walther Grey, Butcher of the City killed and mutilated 7 victims. I couldn’t get into the book on the beginning but when I did I couldn’t stop. It’s difficult reading and needs a lot of attention because scenes change very quickly but it’s rewarding on the end. There is a lot of characters throughout the book so if someone likes challenging reading I recommend this one :).

    Thank you to First to Read and publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    if you’re going to read ONE african mythology-infused fantasy novel with magical portals, bloody dismemberments, shapeshifting, immortal beings, and a murder mystery that throws you in the middle of its world with zero regard for your comfort… probably read

    .

    that’s glib, but the comparison is worth mentioning. i love marlon james, and i’m willing to work for his ‘catch me if you can’ brand of storytelling, but reading that book fulfilled my quota of madden

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    if you’re going to read ONE african mythology-infused fantasy novel with magical portals, bloody dismemberments, shapeshifting, immortal beings, and a murder mystery that throws you in the middle of its world with zero regard for your comfort… probably read

    .

    that’s glib, but the comparison is worth mentioning. i love marlon james, and i’m willing to work for his ‘catch me if you can’ brand of storytelling, but reading that book fulfilled my quota of maddeningly confusing fantasy novels for the year. blrw requires the reader’s close attention and critical engagement throughout, otherwise, it can be easy to get bogged down and lost. this book is the same kind of disorienting, but it never came together for me, even though i kept going back and rereading chunks of it, trying to find where i’d lost the thread.

    i suspect a lot of my confusion would have been avoided by reading

    first. ten years is a long time to wait before writing a follow-up, and this lists as a standalone novel, but several of the characters were introduced in RII, and this book takes for granted that you are either already familiar with or can effortlessly wrap your head around its fantasy bits, and i am simply not that reader.

    i don’t think the word ‘standalone’ should ever be applied to a book set in a fantasy realm. because while the

    itself may be a standalone, the specifics of the world are crucial for comprehension and enjoyment.

    ‘cuz it would be fine if this book was about jimmy the baker and the first book was all about his bakery and all the fine loaves he baked therein. and if the readerly WE were only reading the second book featuring jimmy the baker and he made mention of the previous loaves in his life, we would be able to interpolate our own bread-related memories or experiences into the story and we would probably be a-ok. but this? this is about undying/immortal creatures and angels and a goddess and mindpaths and essences and amulets and I DON’T KNOW HOW THIS WORKS.

    but then, neither do the characters:

    same.

    i enjoyed the parts i did understand—which was more of the book than this review is implying—and she does good word-work:

    (o, that assonance)

    but, yeah, i struggled with the conceptual foundation. and i hear you scolding me - 'karen, you have owned

    for years. it’s your own damn fault you didn’t read it.'

    we all agree i am a dummy.

    you are probably better at fantasy than i am and this book will not trip you up the way it tripped me up. OR, to avoid being me, all bewildered and mewling, there are three weeks before this book comes out and

    is < 200 pages. you can do it.

    ******************************

    IS this a standalone? because it doesn't FEEL like a standalone! i am about 60 pages in and i am LOST!

  • Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)

    I received a free e-ARC through First to Read from the publishers at Penguin Random House. Trigger warnings: death, child death, body horror, dismemberment, severe injury, violence, blood, spiders.

    Dr. Miranda Ecouvo is a forensic therapist who helps people who have witnessed violent crime unravel the truth about what they’ve seen. She’s coming off one of the most gruesome cases The City has seen lately: a ritual murderer who dismembers his victims and keeps their body parts. However, when she’s

    I received a free e-ARC through First to Read from the publishers at Penguin Random House. Trigger warnings: death, child death, body horror, dismemberment, severe injury, violence, blood, spiders.

    Dr. Miranda Ecouvo is a forensic therapist who helps people who have witnessed violent crime unravel the truth about what they’ve seen. She’s coming off one of the most gruesome cases The City has seen lately: a ritual murderer who dismembers his victims and keeps their body parts. However, when she’s visited by Chance and the Trickster, two brother undying, she realizes that the murders may have been instigated by something other than human. The three of them follow the memories of various people involved in the case, bending both space and time, in the hopes that they can get close enough to the real killer to discover their identity and stop them before they complete the ritual and become immortal.

    This is one of the weirdest books in recent memory. We’re dropped abruptly into the story with little explanation into the plot or the world. While Unraveling claims to be a stand-alone fantasy novel, I kind of wish I had read Lord’s Redemption in Indigo first, if only to familiarize myself with the characters and the world-building. That being said, the plot itself is stand-alone, and it’s entirely possible to read it on its own, provided that readers are patient and don’t mind having all their questions answered immediately–if ever.

    The structure is gorgeously complicated as Miranda and the undying move in and out of timelines and imagined physical spaces. Very little of the plot actually takes place in the “real” world, and the timeline meanders into the memories of various minor characters, loops back on itself to see events play out again in a different way, and never manages to resemble anything close to linear. We’re always grounded by Miranda, Chance, or the Trickster’s perspectives, which keeps the novel from becoming too confusing. Again, it’s the kind of book that rewards patience and requires some thinking on the part of the reader to weave the many threads together into something intelligible.

    I’m new to Lord’s fiction, but I admire the restraint in her writing style. Her subject matter is complicated, and it would have been very easy for the language to be similarly complicated, which would likely render the novel utterly incoherent. Instead, the sentences themselves are clear and straightforward. I might not understand why things are happening, but I pretty much always knew what was happening, weird as it might be. I would encourage readers who want to experiment with nonlinear views of time and space to give it a try because, on the whole, it’s pretty accessible. In addition, it also presents Caribbean culture/mythology, which is a nice change from American/European fantasy.

    On an intellectual level, the novel has a lot of impact. On an emotional one, it fails to hit any sort of mark. Chance and the Trickster are unique and interesting. I admire Miranda’s faltering when confronted with harrowing experiences and her ultimate grit in facing them down. The characters are compelling, but they’re typically not moving; I never felt a connection to them or to anything that was happening, and it’s my sense that the book holds readers at a distance. Similarly, while I felt I understood most of what had happened, I was less clear on what exactly I was supposed to take from that. It’s not that every novel needs a message, but if Unraveling has one, I have no idea what it is. I’d be open to reading more of Lord’s fiction in the future and possibly revisiting this book to see if I can get a better sense of its overall theme. I’ve certainly never read anything else like it.

    I review regularly at brightbeautifulthings.tumblr.com.

  • Kristen

    is a mythic murder mystery that unfolds as a journey through time and memory. Karen Lord does a fantastic job making the undying and angels seem truly otherworldly while also making the undying who are currently mortal familiarly human, and I appreciated the thoughtfulness that went into it. However, it never engaged my heart as much as my head, and it just wasn't a book I found particularly memorable as someone who prefers stories with more in-depth characterization.

    3 1/2 Stars

    is a mythic murder mystery that unfolds as a journey through time and memory. Karen Lord does a fantastic job making the undying and angels seem truly otherworldly while also making the undying who are currently mortal familiarly human, and I appreciated the thoughtfulness that went into it. However, it never engaged my heart as much as my head, and it just wasn't a book I found particularly memorable as someone who prefers stories with more in-depth characterization.

    3 1/2 Stars

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