Uncontrollable is the second book in the Nature of Grace series by S.R. Johannes. You can read my review of the first title, Untraceable, on this blog.
This second book begins much in the same fashion as the first one: Grace is being chased, and thinking back on where she went wrong earlier in the story. When we get to the point that we might know who it is that is chasing her, Johannes brings the book back to the beginning. In this case, it's three months after the end of Untraceable, and Grace has been coping with much negative backlash after the events of the previous book came to a head.
It's not that Grace meant for any of it to happen, it's just that she got caught up in it in all the wrong ways, and everyone seems to hold it against her. A new story begins when an agent from the US Fish & Wildlife Service comes in to recruit some students for a program to reintroduce some red wolves back into the wild. Grace volunteers, and braves the harsh winter to go looking for wolves. They start turning up dead, and Grace is led into trouble yet again as she grows suspicious of the people around her, especially after one of her team mates goes missing.
The structure of Untraceable is pretty much exactly like the first novel: most chapters end with a lead-in to the next, which makes it difficult to put the book down. Each chapter is also introduced with a survival tip of some kind that is relevant to what's going to happen, except this time around most of the tips have to do with being outdoors while it's cold/snowy out.
Untraceable left a few mysteries behind, and thankfully they were mostly resolved with this novel. At least, the big questions were answered, but then Uncontrollable ended with some big questions of its own. Where the first novel ended in a way that it could have stood by itself, the second novel absolutely leads into a third.
Back to Uncontrollable though, it's got one of those antagonists that you can sniff out from a mile away. You know, those scenarios when the main character is getting too much of a lucky break, or when something is just too good to be true? It's a common theme with young adult and teen novels though, so there's nothing negative to report here. Johannes spins it on its head a little bit in this novel though, and tries to confuse the reader into thinking they're not reading the right signals. It's pretty cool.
Uncontrollable isn't that long of a book. I got through it in two long sittings and a couple of quickie breaks, so it's a nice interlude if you enjoy nonfiction teen novels that feature a female lead. Grace isn't this super-strength, laugh-in-the-face-of-danger sort of heroine, rather someone that I think teens could relate to. For her, the world ended when her father died and her social life deteriorated coupled with the absence of her new love. These are all strong themes that could make or break a person - and like any normal girl she has to go through therapy, and take all the steps we would in similar situations.
Grace doesn't have any super powers, and she doesn't have super-knowledge and wit beyond her age. She doesn't have super strength or even the right answers to every situation. I like the Nature of Grace novels because even though she's spent her life learning the ways of rangers and trackers in the woods, she forgets things; misses things. She goes against the rules and we as readers get to see first-hand what happens when you don't do things the safe way.
I like Grace because she's a believable character. She's a little broken, so some of her inner dialogue might get repetitive, but otherwise the stories are good and it looks like the next novel is going to toss her into some sort of witness protection situation. At least, I'm sure that's what her protectors would want, but Grace herself may not agree to be whisked away somewhere into oblivion in fear of the man who is after her. Unfortunately with books, I can't count on getting the answers in next week's episode or in a few months when the next season starts up again.
Thanks to Shelli and her team for providing me with an advance review copy of Untraceable!
I'm also giving one away, so if you want to give it a read, see the form below:
to where you can follow the blog tour from here out. Thanks for reading!