Thursday, September 11, 2014

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

The Basics:
Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Book One in the Legion series
YA, Urban Fantasy
Published October 1, 2013
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

The description read as being action-packed YA paranormal fun, and I wanted a dose of that! Also, I loved the cover.


I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn't know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy's room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon -- a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother's place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon -- battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels.

My thoughts:

I had middling expectations for Unbreakable. I read Beautiful Creatures and was a little on the fence about it, but I liked the sounds of Unbreakableso I thought, what the heck?

Unbreakable succeeded at giving me a creepy ghost mystery. It's a fast-paced adventure, with lots of set-style locations - big concept places that we can all recognize and know as being haunted, as being places teenagers would venture on dares while all sane people steered clear. There's a cinematic quality to the places that this book is set and it's easy to imagine them.

The action was great, the pacing was go go go with a few well-timed pauses. I found it pretty entertaining - Unbreakable was never boring or slow.

In terms of characters, I liked Kennedy. She freezes when I think it was believable for her to freeze, and she acts when she's finally gets her feet under her in this strange new world wherein ghosts are real. Her certainty that she's unloveable felt a bit out of left field as she seems to have had some pretty strong relationships with her mother and her best friend. This element to her personality felt a little manufactured for the sake of drama.

I did *not* like the twins. It's not so much that I found them interchangeable (as I've read is a problem for other reviewers): I had two issues with the guys. First, I felt that they should be tighter as brothers than they were. There's a whole lot of blame and emotional turmoil and hurt feelings and left-out-itis going around. To me, this seemed like a lot of drama these guys couldn't afford to have. Given the rather exclusive club that they lived within, I wanted to see that the ties between them were complex but ultimately loving. Perhaps their relationship will be addressed with more depth in future books in the series - I certainly hope so as I think it's one area in which these books could really shine.

My second issue, and probably the more significant, is that I couldn't wrap my head around the love triangle. Why Kennedy? The insta-love was not believable for me at all, and easily the weakest element of the book. It happened so fast and in the middle of so much danger and drama that, for me the love felt forced.

The other two characters that fill most of the book - Priest and Alara - are sketched as being these types - mechanical engineering nerd and badass bitch. I think that as the story unfolds, they're given much more colorful personalities and traits. Their backgrounds in particular made them much more than first impressions suggest.

Bottom line:

Overall, Unbreakable is a good ghost-hunting story with a weak love triangle component. I want to read more because I liked the way the story flowed beyond the romantic element, and because I was entertained regardless of any flaws I thought the book might have.

From what I gather, comparisons to the tv series Supernatural are inevitable. I've only seen an episode or two of that show (inexplicably as it's the kind of show I love), so as a non-viewer, I can say that book was good. What influences, inspirations and connections can be draw between the two, I don't know, and that didn't affect my enjoyment of the book. Your mileage, obviously, may vary.

4 stars
For fans of YA paranormal, love triangles, hot boys

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