In the last book of Cidney Swanson’s Ripple series, Sam and Will are fighting a war on two fronts against Dr. Helmann’s evil Geneses Corporation. Sam is back in California with her family, guarded night and day by Sir Walter’s nephew Chrétien, who is masquerading as a foreign exchange student with limited success. Will and his sister Mickie are across the Atlantic, helping Sir Walter investigate the properties that Geneses has been acquiring in ethnic neighborhoods all over the world. But Helmann’s neo-Nazis aren’t done with Sam yet- they still have plans for her, or more specifically, for her genes. And as Sir Walter and Will begin to uncover the full scope of Helmann’s plans, they realize it will take all of them together to thwart him, as well as help from a very unexpected quarter.
Swanson demonstrates her skill in building suspense again in this book. The plot is well-paced, with revelations coming slowly but frequently enough to keep the reader interested. There are some truly surprising twists as well.
Although I found the constant pining for each other from Sam and Will excessive and irritating, in general there is a fantastic emotional depth to Unfurl. The characters have to deal with some devastating personal losses, and Swanson doesn’t take this lightly. There is a thoughtful examination of love and loss, and also a compassionate treatment of forgiveness.
Development of the characters is somewhat hit-or-miss. Sam remains the most well-developed character, but her family and Mickie are still little more than background characters. I’m also somewhat puzzled that Sam’s family is so uninvolved with her. Several characters mention how much Sam’s Dad cares about her, but he is hardly in the series as a whole, and when he does appear, his reactions are strangely blasé.
The best moments are found in the confrontations with the villains. This is where we get the best insights into all the characters, and also some of the best action and dialogue.
Overall, I found Unfurl an exciting and satisfying end to the Ripple saga, which has become one of my favorite Young Adult series.
Title: Unfurl (Book Three of the Ripple Series)
Author: Cidney Swanson
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication: Williams Press; December 25th, 2011
Price: $4.99 (e-book, Kindle only)
Author’s Website: http://cidneyswanson.blogspot.com/