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Unblemished (The Unblemished Trilogy) Hardcover – October 11, 2016
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The Amazon Book Review
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—The first two books of a planned trilogy introduce readers to a fantasy world with glimpses of the familiar all around them. Unblemished finds 17-year-old Eliyana mourning the loss of her mother and somewhat secretly in love with the guy next door. All that changes when she discovers that her entire life has been built on half-truths and she is forcibly returned to the Second Reflection, a world that resembles, but isn't quite, the New York City she knows and loves. In the Second Reflection, Eliyana discovers the birthmark across her face designates her as an important piece in the battle between good (the Verity) and evil (the Void). Unraveling picks up immediately after the first book and focuses on the love triangle between Eliyana, Joshua, and Kyaphus that began in book one. There is much to like in the start of this series—the adventure, the idea of multiple worlds and various powers (Callings) that the inhabitants have—but the world-building is at times overly complex. Rather than explaining the Verity, the Void, and other magical elements within the context of the story, the characters often stop all action and spell things out, which breaks any flow the author has built. Pop culture references are liberally sprinkled throughout both volumes and already feel dated (Shania Twain, Titanic, Phantom of the Opera), particularly in Unraveling. VERDICT Purchase only where readers clamor for world-bending, Christian fiction, and love triangles; otherwise, skip it.—Heather Webb, Worthington Libraries, OH
“With plenty of YA crossover appeal, this engaging and suspenseful debut urban fantasy features superb world building and a tightly paced story line. Reading groups will find plenty to discuss concerning self-image, the nature of good vs. evil, and the power of the marginalized to change the world. Suggest to fans of Tosca Lee’s Demon or Ted Dekker’s Eyes Wide Open.” (Library Journal, starred review and debut of the month)
“Sara Ella’s debut novel is a stunning journey into a fascinating new world of reflections. Intricately plotted, the story is complex, but not difficult to follow. Eliyana is a strong heroine, yet also has a vulnerable side that readers will definitely identify with. The other characters are also well-developed and have many hidden secrets revealed throughout the course of the tale. Good vs. evil is the overarching theme, and it’s easy to draw parallels with faith. The book is set up for further installments, and it will be fascinating to see where the author takes the characters next.” (RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars, TOP PICK!)
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The opening scene is out introduction the bereft Eliyana who has lost her mother and she is heartbroken. Eliyana has a birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. Joshua changes her perspective and she feels as if no one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her like he does: normal. Maybe even beautiful. (And then enters Ky. — but more about that later.)
Now that her mother is gone, Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. 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, the villian if you will, or is he? How can an ordinary teenage girl, a blemished girl, become a savior? She has some choices to make and her journey of discovery of what true love is is sweet and not without some pain. Ky becomes her protector along the way and he is so different to Joshua. I loved how these two characters turned out to not be what they seemed.
Just so you know in advance, so that you will not do what I did and panic after the last page, there is another book coming in 2017! Oh how will I survive?
But in the meantime I highly recommend Unblemished. Sigh…actually I don’t think I have recovered from the book hangover….I have not read anything since….but I will, in time.
As a fan on fantasy and being immersed in so many incredible stories over the recent years, this brand new edition was something I was very interested in for two specific reasons. This is a story that takes place in my home town, and I am a huge fan of alternate universes/alternate dimensions. Right after the prologue you are drawn right in after such an emotional couple of words and that is one of the strongest elements of the book. The world building is captivating from the streets of New York City to it's reflection. The author went to great lengths to capture NYC down to the statues in Central Park that there were times I can almost envision walking in that exact location at one point in my life. The main characters are very relatable. The author went into the characters as to make the readers focus...especially with Ky's back story. Yet she scales back on some of them as well which to me keeps the reader interested and wanting more. As someone who wanted to get to know the characters like to Eliyana and Joshua and I hope we get more. Even the secondary characters who just show up to assist the heroine have such stand out presences that I want to see even more of them. There is even one specific character I referred to as the 'Boba Fett' of the story only because of the twist we see in the story and that the character doesn't have much of a role to play but, one you get to that point in the story your head is swimming with questions.
The writing style is very unique because while the story is told through first person perspective it is written the present which to me is a very challenging thing to do and keep in check with all the events unfolding. Like "the cold rush hurts my skin" or "he's getting closer". Along with that there is a lot of emphasis on sound which continues to draw you in.
However, this story is far from perfect much like most starting points in a potentially grand saga. At the very beginning while you are drawn in the author does tend to throw way too much at the reader way too quick and way too soon. As you reach the climax of the story the book catches up with that pace and even though the story continues to throw so much at the reader it does lead to some very interesting and clever plot twists. To me, I also feel that a lot of the book is visual. Imaginations can always create but sometimes especially with conflict sometimes a visual aid can be very useful. Finally, I will be honest and say that I have never been much of a romance fan and this book does have a very 'Twilight-esque' love triangle with some very sappy moments. Yet, while it is an important part of the story the romance itself does not take over the story and lets the fantasy and hero's journey remain at the steering wheel.
So in the end I feel that 'Unblemished' was very rich fantasy story with some very well thought out out characters. The romance is secondary in my opinion but, if you love that stuff readers will adore it and if not, the fact that it is a secondary while important piece to the story...it doesn't ruin it for non romance fans. This is one I am proud to have in my fantasy collection and I am hoping that the rest of the saga is just as fun and engaging. I have a great many questions and a great many things I am hopeful about. For my friend Sara, I hope this is a true success because there is so many that can spawn from the book series alone everything from additional lore to graphic novel interpretations to even films I believe that this saga will find its place among the classics in time.
Most recent customer reviews
Eliyana can’t bear to see her own reflection.Read more
“Sara Ella’s debut novel is a stunning journey into a fascinating new world of reflections.Read more