Unblemished by Sara Ella
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Thomas Nelson Inc on October 11th 2016
Genres: Love & Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
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?
I am going to go ahead and say that this is my favorite urban fantasy to date, even going as far as calling the bookstore as soon as I finished reading on my Kindle to reserve a hard copy. I loved the setting, the romance, and the main character and her journey.
It began with Eliyana Ember’s mother’s funeral. Instantly, after being in El’s head for only a few pages, I connected with her. El had never believed herself to be beautiful, which was why her best friend, Joshua, didn’t reciprocate her feelings—or so she had convinced herself. The birthmark on her face made her an outcast, but what she didn’t realize was it gave her a different view of the world around her. While some of that view was negative, I liked her voice. Her pessimism started to wane as her confidence grew, and I can’t wait to see the strong, resilient character return in full force in the next book.
I am a sucker for love triangles. I simply adore them. When Kyaphus Rhyen joined the mix, I liked him for his normal features, then couldn’t stand him when I thought him to be one of the bad guys (or is he????? Read to find out!). Nonetheless, thank you, Sara Ella, for giving this reader a guy that isn’t chiseled to perfection but still stole my heart. He had snark and sarcasm to last for days, and he was one of the most complex characters in the novel. Maybe I just have a thing for blonde guys (ehm, I do), but say hello to my new book boyfriend. I wanted to reach through the pages and keep him for myself.
That brings me to the other leg of El’s love triangle: Joshua David. Joshua reminded me of those guys that your mama warned you about. You know, the ones that you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with and get nothing in return. El, girl, you don’t need that in your life! I was wary of Joshua for a large chunk of the novel and could—unfortunately—understand why El went back to him time and time again. Safe, familiar, and the boy that she had dreamt of kissing—Joshua embodied everything El desired under a foggy microscope. What would happen? Who would she choose? I mean, I know which guy I want her to choose, but those last few chapters nearly gave me a heart attack, and I don’t know what I think anymore.
Basically, love triangles like this are why I adore love triangles.
How obsessed with this world am I really? I’ve already changed my location on Twitter to the Second Reflection, that’s how much. The world building was intricate, and I enjoyed the juxtaposition with our world (the Second) and the world El’s mother worked so desperately to hide from her (the Third). I would love to venture into the fourth, possibly fifth, in the continuation of the series.
Oh goodness, I mentioned the last few chapters, but they need to be mentioned again. I could barely put it down. Action-packed, romance-filled, and plot twisting goodness filled the last couple of chapters, and I’m surprised I even survived it all to tell you about it. Just…yeah, just read it.
The gorgeous cover is a perfect inclination to the story that lies within the pages. Plus, I’m curious as to if the next book will be in dual perspective because of the last chapter (I love that!). Unblemished is sitting happily on my shelf, and Summer 2017 cannot get here soon enough!
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