Author: Sara Ella
Series? Yes, trilogy
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins
Source: I received Unblemished via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts/opinions are my own. Thank you!
Eliyana has always recoiled from her own reflection in the mirror. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world existed where her blemish could become her strength?
Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a hideous birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her as normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.
But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird.
Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.
Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?
Unblemished is the author Sara Ella's first novel, and it has an excellent premise. It really, really does. However, Unblemished did not wow me as much as I hoped. Today I'm going to be doing my review a little bit different; I'm going to be sectioning off this review under concept, characters, and writing. I hope you like it! Without further ado, here we go!
- The concept! The idea behind Unblemished is pretty great, and unique. In Unblemished, there are "mirror worlds". They're not necessarily alternate worlds, but rather different Earths that are their own individual world. Eliyanah, the main character, gets literally thrown into the deep end very early on. She goes to a reflection of our world. Essentially, the structure of the world is the same (as goes for mountains and continents) but the infrastructure, politics, and beings of the world are different! In the reflection El goes to, there are shapeshifters and magic. I loved how imaginative the different worlds were!
- However, this concept was also the books downfall. While the idea behind Unblemished was unique, the book itself was bland. I couldn't connect with the characters, and the worldbuilding wasn't intricate enough. There was always an underlying layer of confusion when I was reading Unblemished, and it heightened in the last 10 percent of the book. Some huge things were revealed, but it took me much too long to actually grasp what was happening and what it meant. It seemed to me that Sara Ella bit off more than she could chew.
- The characters were the main reason why I didn't enjoy the book. I need a good plot to hook me in to a book, but the characters are what make me care and continue to read. To be honest, I didn't like any of these characters. There was only one that stuck out from the crowd, and that was Kyaphus, an ally and sometimes enemy of El in the mirror world. He was a pretty gray character, and I liked that he just wasn't solidly good or completely bad. The whole story has themes of light vs. dark, and Kyaphus was the only character who fit in the haze of not being a hero and not being a villain either. The others were all sanctioned into being good and bad, and it just made all the interactions among characters boring and predictable.
- I also think that the writing needs more improvement as well. Now don't get me wrong, an author has skill if they are published, and that itself is a feat I can't begin to imagine reaching. On a critical standpoint though, this just didn't shape up to the other debut works I have read in the past. I didn't empathize for the characters. I didn't think about this book when I wasn't reading it. I wasn't looking forward to reading this. Sara Ella's writing was just lacking that "oomph" that made me fall in love with reading. Unfortunately, the writing was descriptive in the wrong places, and lacking in the right for me. Most of the writing was telling, and not showing as well. Instead of saying "When El thought her mother was dead, it was the worst time of her life," make it less obvious. Mention little tidbits throughout the book, like having the character's laugh fade off at the end with a forced chuckle because they realize they don't remember the last time they laughed. That shows the despair the character went through without saying "Billy bob was really sad." It wasn't as bad as that, and Sara Ella did have her moments of beautiful writing, but I wish it wasn't moments. I wish it was consistent.
With that, I give this book
1.5 out of 5 Stars!
Have you read Unblemished? What did you think?
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Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!