BOOK REVIEW: UNBLEMISHED BY SARA ELLA
by Emily Kopf
Word Count: 426
Summary: Book review of Unblemished, book #1 in the Unblemished Series by Sara Ella.
Book Description via Goodreads.com
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?
Eliyana has had a blotchy red mark on her face for as long as she can remember. It makes people look away awkwardly, stare, or avoid her altogether. She has a crush on her best friend, but she is too afraid to mention it because her ugly blemish would surely turn him away. Then as El’s normal life is upended by her mother’s death and the discovery of multiple worlds, she begins to discover a reason behind her blemish that she never could have dreamed.
I absolutely love Unblemished! The beginning was amazing, but as I got into the middle of the book it became a little slow. Then it sped back up, and the subsequent events and themes about unconditional love blew my mind in the best way.
There is so much in Unblemished, from the gorgeous worlds caught in the battle between good and evil (also called the Verity and the Void) to the layers upon layers of secrets and deceit that the characters have to wade through to discover the truth. There are awesome magical abilities that hinge on the pure Good of the Verity. And the mystery kept me guessing to the end.
The romance was so good. Never have I seen a more painful, swoon-worthy, romantic, agape, death-defying, high-stakes love triangle. El loves both men, and they her, so much that they would die for each other if given the chance. How does a person even choose in such a situation? And the laws of the worlds this author created makes the love triangle so much worse. High-stakes is the best description.
The message and its themes are more than I could have hoped for. It is so beautiful, about unconditional love—true love in its purest form. The entire story centers around it, the climax rests at its core. It is the one thing, the strongest good, that can overcome the overwhelming evil. (And the evil is most definitely overwhelming.) The resolution of the problem was epic, but the ending was another matter altogether. Everything was perfect until the author threw in a major plot twist in the epilogue. “She will seek answers eventually. When she does, I’ll be waiting” (Unblemished, p. 352). I mean, come on! Forget Eliyana, I need answers! How am I supposed to wait for a second book?
Basically, I recommend this book to everyone, but especially to those who enjoy a good YA fantasy with some romance and Christian themes.
I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.