Title: Uncontrollable (Book 2 in Nature of Grace)
Author: S. R. Johannes
Publisher: Coleman & Stott
Release Day: September 24, 2012
As Grace recovers from tragedy, her science class is chosen by Agent Sweeney at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help with research on the new “Red Wolf Reintroduction Program”.
While she’s excited about helping with the conservation of the endangered wolves, Grace knows this means being outdoors in the worst winter recorded, in a place she no longer feels comfortable. It also means working closely with Wyn (her ex) and his annoying girlfriend (Skyler), a girl whose idea of getting close to nature is picking silk plants and growing fake plants.
After a couple of wolves show up dead, Grace almost quits. However, when a fellow project team member goes missing, Grace continues the assignment under a renewed suspicion that someone might be sabotaging the conservation program. She quietly begins to hunt for clues.
Little does she know, she is being hunted too.
Even after not having read the first book in over a year, I jumped right back into the story. Grace recaptured me with her subtle wit and adventurous, honest spirit. I loved the storyline, and how it really built on the first book, playing off of the fear and other emotional entanglements Grace had then, too. The very real danger, the love and confusion she feels, the hurt and sorrow over all the death she faces (which I’ll get to in a second) is just incredible to read. The emotions are almost tangible in Johannes’s writing.
Now, as to the death that Grace faces almost constantly: I like it and yet I don’t. It’s a very realistic story – set in a rural town on Earth (not of the Middling variety), with real problems like poaching, so it’s a little weird that danger follows Grace everywhere she goes. At the same time, though, this is what lends the tension and emotional suspense to the story, and it never feels faked or forced. The course of events throughout the book support the dangerous situations that she experiences, and as strange as it may sound, it actually helps the book along and keeps the reader interested.
One of my favorite parts of the book is that Johannes starts in the prologue with a scene that happens later in the book, and then jumps back to start from the beginning. It gives a taste of what is to come so that the reader doesn’t know what exactly Grace is going to go through, but that it is certainly going to be exciting, and that sets the tone for the book overall.
The characters in this installment are pretty good. I still don’t really like Wyn, though. I feel like he’s whiny, egotistic, masochistic, and just kind of incapable. I’m totally on Grace’s side when it comes to her love life, and I hope that Wyn can get over himself and realize that they are not meant to be together. But even if he can’t, I think that this is one instance of a book where I really wouldn’t care if he ended up staying friends with Grace. The only redeeming qualities he has in my eyes is that he does seem to care for Grace, and the fact that Grace thinks she needs him as a friend (even though I don’t).
Lastly, the fact that the conservation theme has continued is great. A major part of Grace is nature, and the incorporation of that into the plot makes it an integral part of the book, as well as an outstanding feature that will keep the book in readers’ minds long after they’ve finished the book. And the added bonus that the cover matches the first book’s cover is great, too – I can’t wait to see what’s been done with the third book (which I hope to read soon!)
*Note: I would recommend this book to readers aged 13 and up due to some violence.
*Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. My views on the book are entirely my own and have not been influenced by the author or publisher in any way.