Do you ever start reading a book, then have to stop in the middle and check for other works by that author because the book is so good? That happened to me while reading Unblemished, and I was surprised to find that this is the author’s debut book. It was impressive! I don’t consider young adult fantasy one of my favorite genres, but after reading this, I may need to reevaluate that. I absolutely loved this story and can’t wait to see what happens next. The author did an excellent job of gradually revealing the storylines, building the new Reflection and developing the cast of characters. To top it all off, there are plenty of plot twists to keep the reader guessing and make the story more interesting.
Plot: Eliyana Ember is just trying to make it through high school. Having an ugly birthmark on her face, she prefers to blend into the background. When her mom dies, friend and neighbor Joshua David, three years her senior, becomes her legal guardian. Sneaking out one night with her best friend Quinn, Eliyana goes to a party and meets a guy that doesn’t seem to be bothered by her birthmark. Ky is friendly at first, but then Quinn abandons Eliyana and everything starts to get weird. Ky knows things about Eliyana’s mom and it becomes clear that Joshua’s not exactly who he says either. There’s another Reflection, a whole different world, in New York City, and Eliyana’s about to be transported there. In this new strange place, it’s not easy to tell who she can and can’t trust. Eliyana may not make it back to her home alive.
Characters: Eliyana is a well-written character that earns the readers sympathy quickly when her mom dies. I liked having a teenage character that was physically imperfect, but smart and tough. The book is told entirely from her perspective. In order to not spoil anything, I’m not going to say much about the other characters except I really enjoyed their growth through the story.
Content: This book didn’t have anything I’d consider inappropriate, even for teenage and pre-teen readers. While it’s from a Christian publisher, it could be a general market book. It has themes of good vs. evil, but no mention of God.
Recommendation: I’d strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, whether you’re young or not. It’s the first of a three book series, and I can assure you, you will want to read the rest of them. (Book 2 comes out later this year!) I’d love to see this book become the next big thing and be turned into a movie.
Rating: 5/5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild. This review is my honest opinion.