Tuesday, September 13, 2016

YA Fantasy with Enchanting Style | Review of Unblemished

About the Book

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?

Releases October 11, 2016!

My Rating


My Review

Unblemished is a very interesting young-adult fantasy read! The story begins in modern-day New York with the heroine, Eliyana, in a state of shock and mourning at the loss of her mom. But grief quickly gives way to confusion and fear when friends become strangers...and strangers may or may not prove to be trustworthy.

This could potentially be a *spoiler* (you've been warned!), but let me just jump right in and say that this story pretty much contains the Mother of All Love Triangles. Now, some readers might be completely turned off to such things in this genre. I confess I don't always mind them, depending on how they're handled. This one certainly has some intriguing twists and plenty of suspense as to who really belongs with our heroine. (I believe I do have a favorite...but  my lips are sealed, at least in this review!)

Speaking of the heroine...Eliyana makes for an interesting narrator. Unfortunately, I didn't find her entirely likable for the majority of the book, but I wasn't so bothered that I couldn't keep enjoying the story. Her preference for periods (all. the. time.) was a bit annoying, although it does make the voice distinctive, and I can appreciate that. And, despite the things that are left up in the air, I did like how Eliyana was portrayed at the very end.

You'll find some YA cliches in this story, but there's enough uniqueness and depth to make Unblemished stand out. One of the ways this story really shines is through the descriptions of the settings and the characters' emotions. The imagery is familiar and yet slightly foreign...vivid...enchanting. The author's individual style is evident in the writing. And the musical references and metaphors are a nice touch!

All in all, this YA fantasy debut has some great writing, dramatic romance, and an entertaining adventure to offer.

*With thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing me with an e-ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*


Kara said...

I really enjoyed this one, but I will have to admit that that love triangle disappointed me. I really wish people didn't love those so much! *sigh* Clearly I'm in the minority though. But otherwise, I thought this was an very unique idea that left me looking forward to book 2. :)

Amber Holcomb said...


Totally understandable! Love triangles can be a little...much and overdone. But I agree that this series has an interesting premise, and I'm curious how it all continues!