Unravel Me by Kendall Ryan
Series: Unravel Me #1
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Published: September 22nd 2012 by Createspace
Psychology student Ashlyn Drake’s neat, orderly life takes a turn for the crazy when she finds the perfect subject for her amnesia thesis – a young man without any memory of his previous life, including the murder he’s accused of committing.
Against all common sense, Ashlyn’s drawn to him like a moth to a flame. Perhaps it’s that he’s so incredibly male, and even handcuffed to his hospital bed he could pass for a cologne ad – Scent de Insanity. Or perhaps it’s because she’s spent too many lonely nights studying. Either way, she’s determined to help him solve the mystery of his past. She begins to unravel who he was before, using his cryptic tattoos, and his paintings that scream of a dark past as her only clues. When she finally learns his secret there’s no telling which one is the real him, the gentle lover she’s fallen for or the troubled man with a dark past.
Unravel Me disappointed me a lot. Contemporary isn’t my usual genre, but lately I’ve been broaching more into it just because I find it to be a quick, fun read. However, whilst Unravel Me was a far reach from being a bad novel, it was a long distance from what I was truly expecting. The word that particularly stands out to me when first reading the blurb for Unravel Me is the word “Psychology” so I expect something a little darker and more twisted, maybe something suspenseful and a little like Nicci French’s Killing Me Softly that I read recently. Sadly, Unravel Me lacks a lot of suspense, a lot of darkness and contains a lot more sap, sex and a sexy man.
Ashlyn was a protagonist that I rather disliked. She was so immediately overcome by waves of lust for her subject. For me, this intense first emotion was a little disconcerting especially when she is taking her masters, I would have expected a little more indifference to begin with to building up to a bond that would lead to such feelings towards the guy she was studying. Otherwise her feelings seem a little unfounded and it doesn’t really set a great picture for her character that she is so easily swept away in all the emotion of things. Ashlyn then progresses to become a simpering, mopping Bella-esque when the man isn’t in her life of he disappears. She seems incapable of managing without him and her dependency on her subject grated on my nerves. We saw no side to her student life and intelligence that clearly had to be present and she didn’t develop as an individual and I think Ryan would have fulfilled the novel much more to characterise her character rather than depend upon the romance to develop her character.
“I knew it was selfish to want to keep him with me, especially if it turned out he had loved ones waiting for him, but that wouldn’t stop me from enjoying him while I could.”
The plot wasn’t a bad idea, it kept pace and it kept me turning pages which is a large reason why I enjoyed this novel because it wasn’t too long and the short length managed to keep me entertained for the duration of the novel because the plot wasn’t overly complex. I liked that there was mystery around the mystery subject and his past that had to be uncovered and that there were glimpses and paintings that reminded me of one of my favourite American TV shows from a while back, Heroes when one of the main characters, Isaac used to paint the future. However, I felt like Ryan could have expanded upon this more for the novel to gain ground and potential as a work of literature, rather it felt like she skimmed over this element and issues that faced the mystery man and how he dealt with these through he painting. I felt that she tried to promise something traumatic and trying with including this, but changed her mind to turn the novel into a more fluffy romance part the way through.
The mystery man I have to say I liked more than Ashlyn, he seemed to be grounded despite not knowing anything about his past and when he pushed Ashlyn away he gained a little respect in my mind that he try to create boundaries between the two of them and he wasn’t dependent upon Ashlyn despite his situation which he could have easily fallen into. He was rather sexy and a man with a presence. He didn’t quite sustain the dangerous thrill for me throughout the whole novel which disappointed me. I felt like Ryan had spent more time crafting his character, but still he lacked something for me. Whether it was his continual fleeing act and lack of staying to face his problems or that he didn’t seem entirely rounded by the end of the novel in all aspects, something about him still seemed askew, I can’t quite say.
“The murderer said to the weak, young girl. I swallowed the lump in my throat, and met his eyes. They were sincere and kind, and locked on mine, seeking forgiveness. Trust.”
I have to admit, whilst enjoying this novel and no seeing it as bad. There were a few thoughts that plagued me throughout reading. A man who remembered absolutely nothing of his life before, not even his name could remember his sexual prowess straight away. It might seem a little bizarre and I know that people remember things slowly, but he never once doubted himself. Surely a man that has just lost every memory he has ever owned would have some doubts? I think this is probably the point that baffled me most about the mystery man.
Secondary characters are something that clearly lacked in Unravel Me. There was only Ashlyn’s friend that really centered in the novel and only for short periods of time that I cannot even remember her name. There were several other characters that made minor appearances and had no central focus in the narrative which again leads Unravel Me to depend entirely upon the romance and the relationship between Ashlyn and her mystery man. Therefore, this is why Unravel Me lost esteem in my eyes because it became so absorbed with the romance that reflected Ashlyn’s character and it failed to explore the world outside.
Overall, I enjoyed reading Unravel Me, but I can’t say I will be eager to read it again anytime soon. I think other contemporaries such as Pushing the Limits work much better on a psychological aspect even when this isn’t the central focus of the novel and that a little more time spent on Unravel Me could unlock the hidden potential that is so clearly seen in Unravel Me. I’d say it might be a raining day read if you have a spare couple of hours to give it a chance, and if you’re not quite expecting as much in the darker direction, you’ll probably enjoy Unravel Me.
So off on a little tangent from Unravel Me, I commented on my love for heroes and one of Isaac Mendez’s pictures seemed to reflect Unravel Me to me perfectly. He was a character from Heroes that used to draw the future and if you never saw it, it was brilliant. Save the Cheerleader.