WOW. This book doesn’t come out until later this year — October — but I finished reading it the other day and have the urge to talk about it. It’s no...moreWOW. This book doesn’t come out until later this year — October — but I finished reading it the other day and have the urge to talk about it. It’s no secret how strongly I loved Fault Line, so when I saw Bleed Like Me go up on Edelweiss, I knew I had to read it. I was not disappointed. This book is just as grim and heartbreaking and horrifying and tragic as Desir’s debut. Like Fault Line, nothing is spared and the characters go through situations no one should have to deal with. Twilight has the stigma of being the punchline to YA for Bella and Edward’s co-dependent relationship being glamorized, but in Bleed Like Me, no such fairytale exists. Gannon and Brooks are in an unhealthy relationship, addicted to each other and unable to see how toxic it is. It’s a quick read, but not always easy due to the subject manner. But I will say it was hard to put down and I spent 2 hours sitting in my grocery store parking lot binge reading because I just had to see how it ended. Add this to your list, people. It’s a winner.
My full review will go up around release day. Be there with me to discuss.(less)
I should start this review with a disclaimer: I am friendly with this author and I have a lot of respect for her as a fellow b...moreActual rating: 1.5 stars
I should start this review with a disclaimer: I am friendly with this author and I have a lot of respect for her as a fellow blogger. However, I hope to review this book with as little bias as possible. Also, this is a review of an early e-ARC and I've been informed that the finished copy may have had a few significant changes. I'll try and indicated that, but I haven't checked the e-ARC against the finished copy, so please keep that in mind while reading this review.
Initially I was very excited to start Unbreathable because not only is Sci-Fi one of my favorite genres, but I also love when books take place on different planets or in space. I figured Unbreathable would fit the bill since it's toted at a Sci-Fi adventure. Unfortunately, I didn't end up loving it as much as I thought I would.
About half of Unbreathable's problems could have been solved if the pacing was a little slower. The beginning was entirely too fast and didn't give the reader a chance to get to know the main character, Lissa. Instead, we are dumped into a situation, given a brief background and expected to simply keep up with the events that followed. The problem with that was that Lissa supposedly undergoes quite a bit of character development after she starts combat training. Afterwards, we are told how much of a shy girl she was, how she was now stronger and more confident. But since we didn't get to know Lissa before that event, there was nothing there for me to make that connection or see that growth.
Laziaf's writing style also conflicted with the pacing. The use of short sentences and very descriptive passages was lovely by itself, but made the book feel like it should have been moving slower vs. the events happening back to back.
2. Character Development
I didn't connect with any of the characters and disliked them for the most part. There's an evil queen, an evil brother, the love interest, the girl with the power to save everyone. It was all very run of the mill and lacked depth. Why was the queen evil? What was her motivation? It felt like she was evil for the sake of being evil. There was also Mia's character that confused me. What was her purpose besides being a filler character? There wasn't anything more to these characters besides what their role involved plot-wise.
Why did Lissa seem to forgive everyone, even the bad guys? Oh, you've killed off people forever and even tried to kill Lissa and her family/friends and now you're dying or you're sorry? No problem! Lissa will forgive you! Not every character can be redeemable, but that is exactly what happened in Unbreathable. It didn't make Lissa seem forgiving or mature, but the contrary: naïve and lacking self-preservation.
3. The Romance & Plot
If you prefer your Sci-Fi with a stronger romantic focus, then there is a chance Unbreathable will be for you. However, if you are like me and prefer the romance to take a backseat to the plot and action, Unbreathable may disappoint you. Even though the events and plot moves fast, the romantic scenes were well-written and were clearly the strongest parts of the novel. In fact, if Laziaf's next novel were a contemporary romance, I'd be all over it.
As for Unbreathable's romance, it tried to do entirely too much. There was the main romantic arc between Lissa and Julian that could have been sweet had it had proper time to develop. Then, there was the side romance between Lissa and Rowen that was strange, creepy and uncomfortable.
At the same time, the main focus of the book is supposed to be the race for earth, but those parts are rushed just to get to the next kissing scene (the best parts of the novel were the kissing scenes). I would have liked if Unbreathable made up its mind on what kind of book it wanted to be. Did it want to be an epic love story with a Sci-Fi backdrop (Space Opera) or did it want to be the action novel that it was marketed as? Trying to accomplish both of these things, left the book wide open to plot holes and, ultimately, feeling incomplete for me.
I didn't really buy the love between Julian and Lissa, though, this may be due to the beginning moving too fast. Their feelings did seem to develop very strongly and quickly, allowing Lissa to call Julian "The One" not long into their relationship. This was very unbelievable to me since Lissa had been raised in isolation from everyone besides her father. She had zero experience with boys and love (something she admits to), but somehow ends up falling for one of the first boys she interacts with.
Then, enter Rowen, the bad boy. I believe his romance with Lissa was introduced to give Lissa more choices, but he was not redeemable in my eyes and I really don't understand why Lissa liked him, and eventually, confessed to loving him in the span of a few days. (This may be one of the things that is changed in the final copy.)
I just couldn't ship these peeps.
In conclusion, Unbreathable didn't measure up to my expectations. I needed more plot, more character development and better world building to connect to the story. While the premise promised an exciting adventure, I found it lacked the action and finesse to pull it all together.
e-ARC was provided by the author for an honest review.