Publisher: Daw Books
Author: Karen Lord
Released: June 4th, 2019
Warnings: Graphic murders, child death, dismemberment
I received a copy of Unraveling through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Unraveling is described as a standalone novel by Karen Lord. It’s a novel where mystery and Caribbean lore meet in the middle. The end result is whimsical, dark, and thoroughly enchanting. The novel follows two immortals (Chance and Trickster) along with one forensic therapist and they attempt to unravel the truth behind a series of murders.
I should clarify why I said that this is described as a standalone novel – instead of just saying that it is a standalone novel. You see, it can be read on its own (I managed), but it uses characters and references from Redemption in Indigo – a novel written and published over ten years ago by Karen Lord. I enjoyed this novel quite a lot without having read the previous novel, though there were times where I found myself regretting my reading order. So I just want to mention it here.
Warnings: This novel follows immortals and a serial killer that, well, he’s driven to commit these murders for a reason. There are graphic murders and dismemberment, and not all of the victims are adults. So bear this in mind before diving in.
Unraveling is unlike any other novel that I have read. Though there were many elements that I found familiar and fascinating. The blend of so many different elements made it stand out, and I know it’s one that I will remember for some time to come.
For me, Unraveling felt like a cross between Caribbean lore and Good Omens. There were immortals – neither exactly good nor bad – directly interacting and meddling with humankind. The quirks of both novels shined through, making them humorous and somewhat absurd. Though I would argue that on the whole, Unraveling had a more somber and serious tone to it.
The character writing and development for this novel was astonishing. The immortals, Chance and Trickster were interesting, and I found myself trying to puzzle out as much about them as I could, while still thinking about the mystery at hand. And then there’s Miranda. She’s the human forensic therapist that found herself in the center of this mystery.
Her story and the delving into her mind were some of my favorite parts of this novel. Including her allowed for a stark contrast to be made – for the two immortals and how they behaved. It was a nice touch, and it gave us reasons to be afraid, curious, and concerned.
The written in this novel was brilliant – delicate and flowing, yet powerful. It handled heavy subjects without the slightest hint of hesitation. And yet even when blending so many different things together, it all still felt organic and natural. If I could have, I would have dived head first into the words on these pages.
I’ll confess that I had never written anything by Karen Lord before. The cover art was what drew me in to begin with, and the description sold me. I still wish that I had read Redemption in Indigo first, despite the declaration that this is a standalone novel. But that really is my biggest complaint, which isn’t really all that much of one.