The beauty of Karen Lord’s Unraveling lies in her mastery of storytelling and the art of larger-than-life protagonists. The book starts pretty typically, showing a woman as she walks down the street. We get a bit of the scenery, we get some basic background on her story and the recent goings-on that have haunted her life for months. She’s walking and everything seems to be normal when WHAM. Out of nowhere, the story veers into uncharted territory, tearing our protagonist out of her seemingly normal life into an alternate reality where time, perception and aging all work differently. It’s quite jarring in the most wonderful way, forcing your mind to twist along with the ever-changing landscape of dreams, reality, and the strange workings of these half-god, half-human guides who are trying to get answers to a huge mystery.
Lord’s title perfectly sums up the brilliance of the novel. From a seemingly normal moment with hints of fantasy, we fly with a sudden, violent shove, into threads of the world beginning to unravel. We run from alternate reality to a nightmarish maze to the inner-dreams of our protagonist. At another turn, we criss-cross in and out of real-time interactions, imagined nightmares, and the strange alternate rift in time that’s impossible to fully comprehend. I was constantly on edge, trying to stick with the path as it flew out of control. It was difficult at times, and that added to the suspense of it all. This is the perfect representation of reality spiraling down a rabbit hole, trying to keep up with supernatural figures in a world of their own making.
Overall, Unraveling is a fascinating journey into worlds, times, and stories unknown. The real joy lies in experiencing the art itself, watching the demigods interact with a human in an attempt to form a coherent connection between the dark events plaguing this little piece of the universe. It’s always surprising, never dull, and infinitely entertaining from start to finish.
By Karen Lord
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.