My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Holy cow, that was intense. I wasn’t expecting Unblemished to be that good. I saw all the rave reviews on Goodreads, and felt skeptical. “Well, might as well give it a try, I suppose.” I’m glad I did.
I’m normally not a fan of allegories–I suppose that only contributed to my skepticism. However, it was really well done here. Very subtle, and not in your face at all. I’m interested to see where the author takes it in following books. The entire story kept me riveted, and I couldn’t wait to see what happened to Eliyana next. I found the world-building to be believable, and very fascinating. I’m not normally of fan of alternate reality stories, but…this book is an exception to a lot of my dislikes.
But not all of them. (Warning! Warning! Minor spoilers ahead!) This book does have a love triangle. And yes, it is very frustrating. It was convincing at the beginning–the author had me rooting for one guy, until the tables turned and I was rooting for the other, just like Eliyana. Unfortunately, I remained rooting for that one character for the rest of the book. Guy #1 totally and completely lost my vote by acting like a total jerk. ‘Nuff said. Most of the characters were well-rounded, and sympathetic. Eliyana was especially endearing, as we spent the most time in her head, experiencing her every emotion. Her character transformation was excellently done.
I liked how it started in our world, before transitioning into the fantasy realm. All the pop culture references were really fun. It was neat to watch El transition into the new realm, and start to unconsciously use 2nd Reflection phrases in her thoughts and dialogue. I also loved the idea of Callings, and Thresholds. However, quite a bit of the world-building was very confusing. What, exactly, happened to Reflections 5-7? (Is that correct? There are 7 Reflections total, right? Ugh. See, it’s totally confusing.) And I’m not sure I totally got the concept of what the Verity and the Void are, and what they can do. Things only got messier towards the end, and I’m still not sure what happened. I can’t share much more details, as I’ll only spoil the plot.
Overall, I’d rate the book 5 stars, minus 1/2 for confusion, and another 1/2 for the love triangle. I can’t wait to start Unraveling, as Unblemished left me with a bit of a cliffhanger. Let’s hope it’s just as good–or dare I say, even better–than the first!
Rating: 4 stars
Recommended: Yes. 14 and up. (Too confusing for younger readers, and some content issues.)
Language: 2/10 (at least one bad word and unfinished sentence that implied foul language)
Sexual content: 6/10 (frequent non-sexual nudity, desire to kiss or touch, heavy kissing, some touching, innuendo, implications of rape, adultery, fornification)
Violence: 6/10 (quite a few injuries and deaths, but most non-graphic)
*Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy to review!*
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