Sunday 14 September 2014

Book Review - Unmarked

Author: Kami Garcia
Series: The Legion #2
Genres: Paranormal, Horror, Fantasy | Young Adult
Release Date: 30th September 2014
Publishers: Little Brown
No. Pages: 384
Source: Review Copy - Little Brown
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
He is here.. and he could be anyone.

Kennedy Waters lives in a world where vengeance spirits kill, ghosts keep secrets, and a demon walks among us – a demon she accidentally set free.

Now Kennedy and the other Legion members - Alara, Priest, Lukas, and Jared - have to hunt him down. As they learn more about the history of the Legion and the Illuminati, Kennedy realizes that the greatest mystery of all does not belong to any secret order, but to her own family. With the clock ticking and the life of someone she loves hanging in the balance, Kennedy has to ask the question she fears most: what is it about her past that has left her Unmarked?

The following review may contain spoilers concerning earlier books in the series.
If you have not read the previous installments, please proceed with caution.

I was a beginner and a newbie to horror when I read Unbreakable last November, so it's probably not surprising that when I really enjoyed it, I whacked out the five stars, threw a party and took an interest in creepy sounding stories, however, just under a year later, much with other series I started in '13, I was too bold and too brash and denied any little issues I had with the series, but being more experienced and changing what I look for in a books, it's difficult to deny those previous issues that came back to haunt me, but Unmarked had so many fantastically painful and emotionally heartbreaking moments for me personally that it's difficult to write a balanced review.

So where do I start? Do I start with the two most heartbreaking, emotionally distressing, utterly strength destroying and completely painful first two pages in the whole of my reading history? I think we should because - it may have been not much under a year since I'd read Unbreakable, but I hadn't stopped the emotional hamster wheel of Jared and Kennedy rolling and to find that Garcia had - I mean, how could she? I was so distraught, so broken, I had to stop reading after those pages just to console myself. Of all the ways to get me back into this world with these characters, that was not a fair way to do it, and there was a lot of bed slamming, sorrowful face pulling and heavy breathing involved. Once I had composed myself, well, that's where things started to tear at me both logically and emotionally and I found that Garcia was creating a Romeo and Juliet vibe, not because they both die immaturely, but because she managed to lure me into a false sense of security, making me believe that those first two pages wouldn't occur, giving me hope that I wouldn't experience that heartbreak again, and it takes a fantastic author to create that vibe. Shakespeare did it brilliantly, and now Garcia has done the same. As openings to sequels go, Unmarked's was fantastic, yet painful.

Garcia is a master at creating different theories within her stories, Unbreakable I had a few, but in Unmarked, I so many I lost count. I had theories on why Kennedy hadn't gained her mark involving her father, which was a little correct, theories on the overall outcome of Unmarked and the scenes that will transpire, which I was very right about and confess to being extremely proud of guessing, but it's the plot twists in Unmarked that had me most impressed. Most theories I had were blown out of the water almost immediately after I'd had them, other's were fantastically manipulated and I honestly couldn't have enjoyed these moments more, especially how some of them effected the dynamics of the relationships involved in this series and the extra characters that became involved were also wonderful editions to the twists. The pacing of Unmarked was also really steady, not too fast, but neither was it too dry or lacked any action. What did let the side down un Unmarked as the missing creep factor that was un Unbreakable. Unbreakable had haunted wells, demented freaky children carrying dolls heads and twisted scenes of demons, cells and paranormal entities and Unmarked lacked a lot of what I'd come to really find I enjoyed about the series. Where were my creepy dead demons? Where were my poltagists and freaky scenes? There were probably around three really well executed scenes on the same level as those in Unbreakable, but really, I had hoped for more. I had hoped for a darker feel, a more dangerous and scary atmosphere that meant I couldn't sleep at night, but all that kept me up at night while reading Unmarked was the heat and the theories.

Predictably, the winner for me was the cast of characters in Unmarked. There were the olds and the news, characters streaming out of the word-work and characters relationships being taken and tested to the brink and oh man, I both adore and detest when authors test my characters like so, it's so painful to read, but so important to the series. The dynamics between Kennedy and the Legion is so important in Unmarked, more so than in Unbreakable, and the connections and relations found and revealed when concerning the Illuminati is just fantastic. What, you want to hear more about Kennedy and Jared? I can't, it's too painful and raw and when you read Unmarked, you'll see why, but really, Garcia is a genius, she creates this level of hope around Kennedy and Jared, a beautiful feeling of faith and love and because of this, she creates such beautiful but heartbreaking scenes that fuel the plot and the pacing so perfectly. Character development, there's a fair amount, but not necessarily with Kennedy, for her, there's much more of a revelations and reveals involved about her past, her family and her future and in that sense, there's a development into the connection I formed with her, but full on character development, not quite as much as I'd hoped for.

The Legion series doesn't have strength that other series has, and now that I've experienced more books, it also doesn't have a huge amount of strength in it's horror aspects too, but what it does have is a cast of characters you can connect and relate to, a romance that - don't cry Amanda - that just takes a hold of you and causes so much emotional pain and a plot with so many options, so many theories, so many twists, it's genuinely difficult to know exactly how the ending will come about. It may not make sense at every angle and it might not be a work of written art, but the feelings this series creates, the tension and the passion involved, it's so simply enough for me that I cannot wait another year for the finale.

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