By Cynthia Ayala
“Eliyana Ember is stranded in a foreign country in the Third Reflection with no passport, the inability to mirrorwalk, and zero clue where the nearest Thresholds back into the Fourth or Second might lie. Her mind is a haze, her memories vague. She knows a wormhole from the Fourth sent her here. She remembers her mom and baby brother Evan. Makai and Stormy and Joshua. Deep down El realizes she must end the Void once and for all. Is there a way to trap the darkness within its current vessel, kill it off completely? To do so would mean sacrificing another soul—the soul of a man Joshua claims is a traitor. But he’s lied to her before, and even El senses Joshua can’t be fully trusted, but one thing is certain: the Void must be annihilated. And only the Verity—the light which birthed the darkness—can put an end to that which seeks to kill and destroy.” — Goodreads
Unbreakable brings Eliyana’s journey to a close as she seeks to find the answers and the end of the Void. Trapped and separated from the people she loves, El has traveled back in time, unwittingly, to a time and place so foreign to her. Moreover, while on her journey Josh’s nefarious plan is slowly working, erasing her memories of Ky and replacing Ky’s face with his own. However, everyone loves El, so everyone, including former enemies who are now comrades in arms, is in the search for her, leading the story to branch off into various POVs and incredible character growth.
One of the best parts of the novel was the lack of lyrics. In the previous novel they were distracting, but in this novel, they are used sparingly, as with Unblemished. They do not distract the reader from the storyline or the scene and allow the story to focus on the characters and the story than their abilities. The characters begin to flourish in this novel, Ebony, in particular, goes through the most growth in her journey to discover her origins and her mother. She went from being selfish and self-hating, to compassionate and caring, learning to love herself. With a mother as cruel as the one she had, Ebony became something she hated, so the journey to love herself and learn something other than hate and loathing, to learn empathy and compassion was quite a riveting one.
As for the other characters, they all have their challenges that they have to face. David/Josh and Ky have to face the challenge of battling their inner demons and the darkness inside them. Everyone has a little green monster inside them, even a little darkness, but it is tempering it, it is the refusal to fall into such dark temptations that lead people down a dark path of no return. They face their challenges head-on, and through that, grow.
Ella showers the novel with character development, making the characters that much more vibrant and using them to drive the story forward instead of having the story drive them forward. There is one annoying thing regarding some of the characters, however: the names. The fact that some of the characters have multiple names is not only distracting; it is confusing. If someone does not re-read the previous two novels, there will be some level of confusion to who the characters are and what their relationship with one another is.
Now, as far the as the story goes, there are times when the time travel gets’s a little confusing. Characters go from being here to there, and while that is an aspect of travel unique to this world, it is not always clear to the reader how a character got from point a to point b.
Overall it is a strong story that functions much like a fairy tale, or, at the very least, has an ending like a fairy tale, offering readers a lesson in empathy and compassion, and showing readers that while darkness will always exist, it is not falling into it that keeps hope alive. (★★★☆☆ | B)