Unthinkable by Nancy Werlin
Publisher: Dial Books (an imprint of Penguin Group, USA)
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (393 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Thistledown
Fenella was the first Scarborough girl to be cursed, hundreds of years ago, and she has been trapped in the faerie realm ever since, forced to watch generations of daughters try to break this same faerie curse that has enslaved them all. But now Fenella’s descendant, Lucy, has accomplished the impossible and broken the curse, so why is Fenella still trapped in Faerie?
In her desperation, Fenella makes a deal with the faerie queen: If she can accomplish three acts of destruction, she will be free, at last, to die. What she doesn’t realize is that these acts must be aimed at her own family and if she fails, the consequences will be dire, for all of the Scarborough girls.
How can she possibly choose to hurt her own cherished family not to mention the new man whom she’s surprised to find herself falling in love with? But if she doesn’t go through with the tasks, how will she manage to save her dear ones?
When all you ever wanted is a normal life with your family, what would you be willing to do to get it? What if you just wanted it all to end?
Fenella was cursed. There was no way around it. She was taken into Faerie and has lived there for hundreds of years as a captive to the “Mud creature” Padraig. Essentially a slave, she demands her right to die and her freedom from the Faerie Queen. One thing about faeries…nothing comes without a price and that is one thing Fenella should have learned. When she is told that to die she must perform three acts of destruction, she agrees blindly. Not until it is too late is she informed that the very lives she sought to protect will be the ones in jeopardy. If she performs the tasks, she will be free to die. If she does not, she returns to Padraig, a slave once again. The Faery Queen councils her to live out her life and forget about her need to die but Fenella is set on her path, and it very well might cost her more than she ever thought possible.
This book is a continuation of Impossible. Coming into it not having read the first book, I was a bit lost at first. Who were these strange tree creatures and why was this odd girl trying to kill herself and not doing a very good job at it either? As I read, I realized that it was completely readable without the backstory and settled in for a ride through faery trickery and betrayals. I was not disappointed in that regard. Full of twists and turns I found myself wondering at the theme of destruction that permeated the book. There is an element of romance that got a little close to the scorching edge of what constitutes normal in young adult these days.
One of the hardest things for me about this book was the main character. Fairy tales, I love. Fenella I really did not like. Her reactions were a bit off for someone who had been alive for four hundred years or so. If the character is going to be a teen, then great. If they are mentally four hundred than you expect a level of maturity (or at least I did) that was not there. Some of the choices she made in the series of trials were questionable and that kind of soured my feeling about the book in general. My suspension of disbelief was not working in this particular case.
While I love a great faery story and appreciate the overall quest for the impossible that this book had going for it, when you can’t identify with the main character it makes the book a tough read. I wanted to like this girl who stood up to the Faery Queen and her captor but I just could not connect with her. The opening message with the goal being to kill one’s self as the goal of the story was a little off, too. The imagery and the author’s style of writing were thought-provoking, as was Ryland and his snarky cat comments. How interesting that destruction was used as a theme in this book, but in the end there were some good things that rose up from the ashes if you will.
Overall, if you enjoy a story about insurmountable odds and the things you are willing to do to set yourself free than this book may be for you.