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?
The plot of this book was excellent. The premise is very creative, and the author definitely makes full use of it. There were lots of plot twists, which I did not see coming. There isn’t a lot of extraneous material either – even random things that don’t seem important tie back into the plot later on, and while towards the end certain things got a little confusing, the author does a great job of tying everything together into one coherent storyline.
The worldbuilding was pretty cool too. I’ve read plenty of portal fantasy before, but I enjoyed this take on it, with the whole concept of Reflections/alternate universes. And the whole Verity/Void thing (upon which I won’t elaborate because spoilers). I loved the way she handled the magical powers, with the different Callings and things.
Some of the characters seemed rather shallow to me. At least for the first part of the book, it felt like Eliyana’s character was completely centered around the things that were important to the plot – her birthmark, her mom’s death, her crush on Joshua. I would have loved to see her developed more as a person. Her growth as a character was good, but seemed somewhat forced. On the other hand, the characters have a lot of secrets, and basically surprised me the entire way through as I kept finding out more about them.
There’s a lot of romance. It’s integral to the plot, but I didn’t enjoy it (while there’s nothing explicit, I ended up skimming one scene near the end). Maybe it’s just not my thing, or maybe it’s because of the love triangle, I don’t know.
I didn’t care for the writing style all that much either. It’s first person, present tense, and seemed jerky at times. It could be confusing too, because a lot of times Eliyana talks to herself and/or to the other characters within her thoughts, but if I wasn’t reading carefully I would assume she was speaking out loud.
All in all, while Unblemished wasn’t exactly my favorite book, I’ll probably be reading the sequel when it comes out. Ella has potential as an author, and I’m interested to see how her writing develops in the future.
//I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.//
Have you read Unblemished? What do you think? What are some of your favorite portal fantasies?