Monday, September 30, 2013

ARC Book Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Title: Unbreakable
Author: Kami Garcia
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: October 1st, 2013
Rating: 2/5

Cover Impressions: 
I am a little underwhelmed by this cover.  I like the font and the effect but I feel like maybe it needs another color or two - it is just too much of the same... And it certainly doesn't scream "ghost hunters". 

The Gist:
Kennedy hadn't planned on spending her evening traipsing through a graveyard, searching for her cat and she certainly hadn't planned on encountering a girl who looks oddly out of place - and floats.  When the ghost follows her home and takes the life of her mother, Kennedy finds herself in the company of a group of ghostbusters claiming that she is part of the Legion - a century old organization designed to protect the world from a demon.  Kennedy takes her place in the group while still doubting the validity of their claims and joins on their search for a mysterious device that may be their only hope of saving themselves, and the world.


Have you ever felt like an author is flying so high on the success of his/her previous book(s) that he/she is under enormous pressure to produce his/her next book in 1/4 the time that the first one took to write?  I do not know if that is the case with Unbreakable, but it certainly feels like it is.  Ultimately, it feels like what was meant to be a 500 page novel has been condensed into under 200 pages.  Everything in the novel seems to happen too fast.  Blink.... there's a ghost.  Blink..... Your mom is dead.  Blink..... a demon want's to kill you.  Blink..... you are part of a ghostbusting crew.  This also means that there is no time to SHOW the reader what is happening and Garcia instead relies on pages of info-dumping.  During these sessions we learn about a century old order of which Kennedy's mother was supposedly a part.  Now, I can suspend disbelief with the best of them but, you would think that there would have been some type of clue - even something that wasn't evident until after this new knowledge.  But, no.  Even at the end of the book, we still know NOTHING about the mother's involvement with the League and haven't gotten any answers to the big questions.

The condensed version of this novel also mean very little in the way of character development.  I did enjoy Priest, but Alara felt like the typical female rival who hates the main character at the beginning but grudgingly comes to respect her by the end.  I also had a big problem with the twins.  First of all, I kept mixing them up and had to constantly go back to remind myself which as the broody one.  If you are going to write twins - you had better be able to make them sound different from one another.  Then there was their immediate infatuation with Kennedy, their immediate rivalry over Kennedy and the fact that they had SEVERAL arguments over who was going to "take care of" Kennedy every time they went out on a mission.  Seriously, does the girl not have any self respect?  It seemed the Kennedy's only job was the fuck things up.  This is an all too familiar ploy within the YA world and one that I am beyond tired of.  I hate watching the main character have to be rescued over and over again.  I hate listening to her brood over how useless she is instead of learning some actual skills. 

There are some scenes in Unbreakable that are pretty damn scary.  The part in the Children's Home was freaky-deaky and the setting of the final battle was downright terrifying.  I really could have gotten on board if there were more of these scenes and less "I like you but I'm not good enough for you" moaning between Kennedy and Jared. I also was temporarily hooked by the teaser of a twist at the end (see bottom of review for spoiler)*.  But it turned out to be no where near as cool as I had hoped.

Unbreakable just didn't hook me but it may be different for those people who were big fans of the Beautiful Creatures series.  I may give the second book a shot when it is released.  Here's hoping for more ghosts, less whiny romance.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

13 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Supernatural Violence
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Use/Abuse: None

* For just a moment, I thought that the ghosts were going to be the good guys, that the "League" was going to turn out to be the bad guys and that they had used Kennedy but, alas, Garcia copped out just making the device evil and Kennedy goes on her merry way with the Scooby Doo gang with no new information that what we started with.


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