The following review was originally published at Merikthorne Library, on December 8th, 2016.
Unblemished tells the story of Eliyana -- a high school senior with a ghastly birthmark that marks her face. She's never considered herself beautiful, and after her mother's death and recurring strange interactions with people she thought she new, her world comes crashing down... and she must be taken to another.
...Don't get me wrong: Unblemished was really good. Sara Ella seems a true wordsmith, and though I'm not a great reader of contemporary fiction (particularly set in a city), she was able to make me like it. It was as if Rick Riordan wrote fairytale-esque novels -- Sara Ella's writing is some of the best I've ever read!
But there were some problems I had with the book. The allegory, for one. I thought I understood it -- it was all rather confusing when I was first introduced to different Reflections, but as time went on, it began to make sense. Until it didn't. I honestly have no idea how the allegory works, or even if there's one at all.
There was also the matter of clichés. Clichés don't typically bother me, but they seemed all too stereotypical for a contemporary fantasy: A girl finds out she's really a chosen one who's supposed to save a magical kingdom surrounded by darkness; she's captured by the villain and escapes multiple times, but every time she's around him, he takes his time explaining his master plans. There's also a love triangle!
So the love triangle. It didn't bother me and seemed somewhat believable, at first. But then there was a giant whirlwind of face-paced emotions, confusing loyalty, and other such drama. The end result was less than satisfactory.
In the end, I think I liked the book? The writing was AMAZING, but I had a hard time standing the characters or the fantasy world. I'd expected Unblemished to be a sweet read about God and true beauty, but there seemed little talk of either, and I must admit that I was a little disappointed... 😕 So I'm not sure whether I'd recommend it, or not. If you are interested in reading it, I highly recommend it for the writing style. 🙂
You may want to know: There was fantasy violence, kissing, and drinking, as well as minor implications.