Monday 4 December 2017

Unravel by Christine Bernard (Book Review)

What a fantastic story! Rose Madison is a promising young writer at her college, and popular to boot. With a highly successful author for a mother and stunning good looks, she doesn't know how lucky she has it.

Until everything in Rose's life starts to fall apart. At first, it's innocent enough: when words start disappearing from the award-winning story she's meant to read in front of the whole school, she chalks it down to stress. After all, the supposedly "missing" words are back when she goes over it again later.

But things quickly start escalating from there, and slowly, Rose comes to the conclusion that she's going crazy.

The pacing of this story is brilliant, and the situations in which she finds herself are chilling. It's been a while since I've read one of those "Just one more chapter" books--I couldn't put it down!

Plus, I tend to enjoy stories about writers, and in this one, the lifestyle is portrayed quite realistically, in my opinion. I really cared about Rose and what was happening to her.

So, I won't lie, I thought I'd figured out what was happening quite early on, but it turned out I was only half-right, and the last chapter nearly made me drop my phone in the toilet when I got to it! Christine Bernard really knows how to keep you guessing.

There were two things that niggled me with this book. The first was, in the e-book version I read, there is no linked table of contents. I've grown quite used to knowing, over the years, how many pages/minutes I had in the current chapter, so I could make a decision about whether I had time to read it or not. But with the chapters not marked properly in the epub, I had no way of doing that. But maybe that was a blessing in disguise because I devoured the book in record time.

The other thing was that, although the author is South African, the story takes place in America, and ostensibly uses American spelling, grammar, and phrasings. That's not a bad thing in and of itself (although I'd have loved it to be a bit more authentic and proudly South African), but she didn't quite get it right. "Color" is spelt without a "u", and the characters say "Yeah" and go to the "mall". But they also wear trainers instead of sneakers, jumpers instead of sweaters, and visit the shops instead of the store. I think the author is still trying to find her voice a bit... but I get the impression her second book is much better.

Speaking of her second book, boy am I glad that this one's a standalone. I'm getting really tired of series, and foreshadowing of things to come, which require me to read another three books before they come to a head. It was so nice to read a self-contained story. I hope Ms Bernard keeps that up. I don't really enjoy series.

In conclusion, if you like deep, psychological stuff, you'll love this. It's going to make a fantastic movie one day, in the vein of Stephen King's more psychological stuff, or something like The Cell. Best you read it before that happens.

(4 / 5 stars)

About the Book

Rose Madison is of sound mind, with a sharp focus and a willingness to succeed. At only twenty-three, she’s already won an award for her short story, and has been hailed as the next big thing in the literary world. She’s beautiful, funny, intelligent, and comes from a wealthy and successful family. It’s clear to all, including herself, that her future looks bright and promising.

Why then, does the perfect Rose Madison start to slowly lose her mind? 

This is a story of a young woman in her prime, clutching at the remains of sanity.

Click here to find out where you can pick up a copy.

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