Entertaining Yet Falls Short | Review of ‘Unraveling’ (Unblemished #2)

By Cynthia Ayala

Unraveling by Sara Ella
Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins
Image Credit: Goodreads

“What happens when happily ever after starts to unravel? Eliyana Ember does not believe in true love. Not anymore. After defeating her grandfather and saving the Second Reflection, El only trusts what’s right in front of her. The tangible. The real. Not some unexplained Kiss of Infinity she once shared with the ghost of a boy she is trying to forget. She has more important things to worry about–like becoming queen of the Second Reflection, a role she is so not prepared to fill. Now that the Verity is intertwined with her soul and Joshua’s finally by her side, El is ready to learn more about her mysterious birth land, the land she now rules. So why does she feel like something–or someone–is missing? When the thresholds begin to drain and the Callings, those powerful magical gifts, begin to fail, El wonders if her link to Ky Rhyen may have something to do with it. For light and darkness cannot coexist. She needs answers before the Callings disappear altogether. Can El find a way to sever her connection to Ky and save the Reflections–and keep herself from falling for him in the process?” —Goodreads

Published July 11, 2017, by Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Unraveling by Sara Ella is the second in her young adult fantasy series dealing with light and darkness, and the love in between.

As captivating as this novel is, there are some problems with fluidity, problems this review will explore shortly. First, the pros.

Overall this was a captivating novel because the world building, for the most part, is all done, allowing the reader to focus in on the characters and the readers and the mythology surrounding the world. The reader goes on this journey with Eilyana to discover what the Verity is precisely and what the Void is their origins. Thie concept of the Verity offers up a strong allusion to Christianity as it depicts a garden where the purest of the purest lived, only to be cast out by rejected love and a heart of despair. Not an exact allusion, but this is where the reader can see the strong influence the author’s religion plays in her writing. The Verity represents goodness while the Void represents evil and the goal of the characters is to rid the world of the Void forever. Moreover, to do that, the characters have to go on this journey to discover how the Void came into being and how to destroy it before it snuffs out the light.

That snuffing out the light is not a unique idea, but the way Ella has constructed it here has made it enjoyable. By giving Ky the Kiss of Infinity to Ky, Eilyana unwittingly tied the Void and the Verity together, in a way they were not meant to be together. There’s a saying, that is cliché, that there cannot be light without darkness. Light creates shadows where darkness breeds. However, darkness is devoid of light so tying the two together is dangerous, and it has placed all the reflections in danger, creating a fun adventure.

While the beginning is rather slow, once Eilyana teams up with her villainous half-sister, embarking on a pirate ship and go on an adventure full of self-discovery and soon, self-love. There is one thing many of female characters struggle with and its loving one’s self. Together, they find their worth. These girls overcome many of the doubts and insecurities they have endured for most of their lives. It is an empowering journey for the girls as well as for any female readers because these girls find their identities by themselves, not with the help of any of the male characters, they do it themselves.

There were also numerous plot twists that kept the story going. For the most part, they were great. However, there were times when the story seemed to drag along, dwelling on internal narratives rather than actual storytelling. On the one hand yes, this allowed the reader to understand the characters better, but on the other hand, there needed to be more exposition to show what is going on in the story. There are so many worlds that the reader is beginning to explore and the world building is still being flushed out in a sort of clunky way. Transitions from world to world, such as the Thresholds need to be structured better, as well as mirror walking and the different powers people have. It is clear that Ella has so many ideas, but there are times when so much is going on that forces the reader to go back and re-read just to be able to follow this adventure.

There is also one slight drawback of the narrative: the singing. It is excessive. In Unblemished it felt fresh and unique to the narrative. However, the way the novel utilizes the music in the novel, popping in and out of the narrative, it ruins the fluidity of the novel, and that is probably another reason why the story felt like it was dragging and why scene structure feels lacking. The musicality might world great for an audiobook, but for a paperback or ebook version, it is distracting. Yes, this is how she uses her power, readers understand that just hinting at the song is enough, but using it for every moment also takes away from the heart-wrenching moments. The reader does not need to know what she is singing every time she uses her power; it is enough to know that she is.

Overall it was a lovely book. There was plenty of character development and plot twists to keep the reader entertained, but much of the story could have condensed for a stronger impact without dragging out the narrative. (★★★☆ | B-)

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Product Details;

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

Page count: 356pp

Age Range: 13 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-7180-8103-4

Publisher: Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins

List Price:  $15.99

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