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Books whisper to Beatrix Alba. But they aren’t the reason she has never fit in. Bullied at home and school, she keeps a secret—a power of violence and darkness.

When the spell that keeps her hidden fails, she’s catapulted into the Zweeshen, a realm where all tales live, and her dream of meeting her favorite characters comes true. But wishes are tricky, and behind its wonder and whimsy, the Zweeshen is under attack. A character is burning bookworlds in pursuit of a weapon to rule both stories and storytellers. To succeed, he needs a riddle in Beatrix's keeping.

Now he’s hunting her down.

Joining forces with William, a cursed conjurer, Beatrix must face an enemy who knows her every weakness in a realm where witches play with time, Egyptian gods roam, and Regency heroines lead covert operations. And with her darkness as the only weapon, she may have to sacrifice everything to save a world that rejects her.


Praise for UNWRITTEN

“Fascinating and magic-filled, the fantasy novel Unwritten promises adventure right up to its final page.” — Foreword Reviews.

“Novo’s well-crafted story will delight and engage readers ... A satisfying and socially relevant story about acceptance and sacrifice.” — Kirkus Reviews.

“Wholly original and wondrously imaginative...” — Reader’s Favorite Reviews (5 Stars).

"Its surprising confluence of fantasy and its unexpected twists and turns, supported by strong characters, draws readers into a story that is satisfyingly unpredictable and hard to put down." — Midwest Book Review

324 pages, Hardcover

First published May 8, 2021

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About the author

Alicia J. Novo

1 book124 followers
Alicia has a weak spot for happy endings and transformative journeys. She spent her teenage years in Argentina and Europe, speaks several languages and loves to travel.
Always an eclectic book lover, she's never been cured of reading a bit of everything and is as likely to geek out about Mr. Darcy as Dr. Who.
A big-city girl, she now lives in the Midwest, where she occasionally picks apples and pretends witches exist.

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5 stars
117 (41%)
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83 (29%)
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60 (21%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 188 reviews
Profile Image for Toni.
515 reviews
April 21, 2021
This has got to be one of the most beautiful book covers I have seen this year!

Unwritten is one of those books I never wanted to end. The story was riveting, the world was fully-developed without stifling your ability to see it in your own unique way, and the characters...well. they just jumped off the page and took on a life of their own.

16-year-old Beatrix Alba lost her mother when she was seven. She is devoted to her wonderful grandfather who is teaching her how to control the magic that lives inside her. When he passes away, Beatrix is devastated. All that is left of him is a mysterious box with a few objects and an enigmatic letter from her Mum. Beatrix doesn't get on with her father and is also severely bullied at school. Her only solace is her books that whisper to her, give her advice and comfort her. Her grandfather's spell that kept Beatrix's magic hidden from everybody starts going wrong and she finds herself discovered by three very unusual characters who encourage her step into a different world. Zweeshen is the universe of stories and characters that live their immortal lives there, governed by their genre guilds and their rather strict laws and regulations. While Beatrix is hunting for clues that would help her solve the riddle of her mother's letter and enable her to find her far-away land, Zweeshen is under a mortal threat and (you guessed it) has to be saved by our young and selfless heroine who is still figuring out who she is and what her real powers are.

The beginning of the book reminded me a bit of the black-and-white part of The Wizard of Oz. It was so clear that Beatrix didn't belong there. Everything was somehow subdued. Then the magic broke in and from that moment on I just couldn't put the book down. Zweeshen was such a fascinating place to discover, and I was really grateful to the author who let me gradually build up my knowledge of this biblio-multiverse. I felt as if I was discovering it together with Beatrix.

One of Beatrix's comments that made me smile was how main characters as a rules seemed too pretty, too perfect, impossible to measure up. Well, they aren't in this book. They have their unique personalitites and their own flaws and weaknesses that make them well-rounded and even more fascinating. It is difficult not to empathise or even fall in love with some of them, and be suspicious of others. They also grow and change as the story progresses and some of the developments will take you aback.

Imaginative, enchanting, beautifully written, Unwritten will take you on a unique adventure, and once it's over, you'll join me in waiting impatiently for it's continuation.

Thank you to Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours, the publisher and the author for the review copy, provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Profile Image for Dex.
9 reviews22 followers
June 24, 2020
I have been truly lucky to get an early read of this amazing book! The world-building was breathtaking and left you with the desire to see it for yourself. It takes you through the adventure as if it is your own. It also parallels some of today's important issues but balances it with fun and discovery. The heroine teaches you that strength and courage come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and looks. It teaches a single voice, a single selfless act no matter how small or quiet it is could change the entire universe. Whether you are the butterfly or the tornado in your everyday life there is something in this book for you to relate to. It is a breath of fresh air in the grittiness of today without diluting the urge to keep fighting. If you love books and love fantasy, action, sci-fi, medieval magic sprinkled with a little love this book is a must-read and re-read.
Profile Image for Renaissance Kate.
239 reviews125 followers
Want to read
February 22, 2021
ARC received!!✒️✨

Thank you to Intense Publications/ Xpresso Book Tours via Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Profile Image for Sarah Anderson-Pagal .
126 reviews3 followers
January 26, 2021
I recieved an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Oh my gosh thank you! I adored this book. The world building was fantastic. I really enjoyed her descriptions and being able to picture everything.

I was invested in the characters. I rooted for William to be a good guy from the start. I loved Emma's quirks, Beatrix's sheer willpower was amazing.

I look forward to reading more of their adventures!!
Profile Image for Meghan.
85 reviews11 followers
February 2, 2021
I received an eARC for an honest review.

Beatrix can hear books. They whisper to her and when she suddenly finds herself in the Zweeshen, the realm of books, she finds a world in turmoil. Someone is burning book worlds and all the characters with them. Beatrix holds the riddle that may bring peace to the Zweeshen, but in order to save the realm of books, she will first have to confront the monster inside.

Let me start by saying, when this book comes to print, I will be purchasing a copy. What a breath of fresh air! What reader doesn't want to read a book based on books? It is abundantly clear that Alicia Novo is a lover of books. She brings to life some of literature's favorite characters in stunning detail which makes traveling through the Zweeshen all the more enjoyable.

Honestly, the last book I read with this amount of creativity layered throughout it was the Harry Potter series (and if you know me, you know those are my OG, very near and dear to my heart). The world Novo built is stunning in its complexity.

"When she entered the apothecary, Beatrix guessed she'd stepped inside the trunk of a tree. The round room smelled earthy, Tarzan-worthy vines hung from a ceiling too black to be seen, and mushrooms grew in multiple nooks."

Every detail of this book grabs your attention - the guilds, the buildings - Bookends Cafe changes its atmosphere everyday! Novo really makes this story jump off the pages and weave itself into your imagination.

Not many books manage to surprise me, I generally tend to predict the "twists and turns" and can see how the book will unfold. Unwritten left me suspicious of EVERYONE and this is one book I did not see coming. I had so many questions from the first page that made the surprises all the more enjoyable.

Over on Bookstagram, you often come across the question, "If you could live in any book world which would you choose?" This world, the Zweeshen, is definitely firmly on that list for me now.

My only complaint is I need more, more of this world, more of these characters, and more of this author. Novo's debut novel did not disappoint and I look forward to reading more of what the Zweeshen has to offer!
Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,571 followers
May 8, 2021
This was fantastic, I enjoyed it from the first pages! I was intrigued and excited. Great set up and lovely characters. Beatrix , William and Emma were fantastic.

“In her library , she sat in the middle of Infinity .”

I loved the premise in this one, it’s the journey of a girl to an unknown world trying to find the truth. The Sweeshen was unique and I liked the system.

It was fast paced and refreshing!
Profile Image for rania.
111 reviews
April 29, 2021
3.5 stars

”There’s no belonging, Beatrix. There is only creating your own world and inviting others in. You invent your homeland. Remember that. You only belong to the words.”

Unwritten has amazing world building. I mean, it’s a world where all our fictional characters live. I’m almost sure that our main character, Beatrix met Elizabeth and Jane Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.

The characters are wonderfully created, each of them having a unique and distinct personality. Except the love interest, because he just felt like a rip off of Will Herondale. His name is literally Will, what do you expect?

My favourite thing about this book was definitely the Zweeshen. I would honestly love to live in a world with all my favourite characters. But that’s not the case here. Beatrix is an unwritten. She doesn’t belong to any story. So she’s deemed as an outcast. But there’s a threat looming over the Zweeshen. And she does everything she can to protect it.

That’s what I loved about Beatrix. She did everything in her power to restore order to the very world that didn’t want her. Everyone hated her. But she still saved them. And I loved that. It was about time she taught them all a lesson.

The ending did feel a bit rushed. Everything happened in just a few lines and I couldn’t really make sense of it at first. It also ended rather abruptly.

Emma was definitely my favourite character. She’s so outgoing and is always up for an adventure. She’s trying to find her own story and joins Beatrix so she can feel it for herself.

The romance was supposed to be an enemies-to-lovers but I don’t think we got enough of the enemies part. It was just Beatrix completely hating Will for a few chapters till her thoughts changed. I don’t think Will ever hated her though.

Overall, the plot and world building was spectacular, though I think it was in the characters and their development where the story lacked.

”’home’ doesn’t have to be where you were born. You can create yours wherever you choose.”
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,316 reviews215 followers
June 14, 2021
I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Unwritten was such a fun book to dive into. In it, you will meet Beatrix. She is around 16 years old and completed devoted to her grandfather. Until the day that he passes away, which leaves her completed and utterly devastated. He was her person and now she's all alone. I mean, she has her dad but they aren't close and I just felt bad for her.

At least she was left a mysterious box and letter. She also has some cool magic because books whisper to her. Oh man. If that happened to me? Well, I would probably freak out for like a hot second.. but then want to hear all the whispers all the time. I just think that would be so cool.. unless I was trying to sleep.

Her world also gets a bit stranger once three strangers discover her magic... which was pretty well hidden until recently. Entering into this magical world, I had no idea what was going to happen to her. Especially with all the strict rules/laws that she isn't used to. So in a way.. she's like Harry Potter. The chosen one to save everyone in this new place but finds herself in all kinds of trouble trying solve riddles and such.

It was definitely interesting in some ways but once books go the chosen route.. I will automatically think of Harry Potter. Other than that, this was just a lot of fun to read. I can't wait for the next book because of how realistic the characters actually were. No one was perfect and everything just kind of sucked me in. I hope the sequel is amazing!

Profile Image for Avani ✨.
1,585 reviews329 followers
May 11, 2021
This Young Adult Fantasy Book set in the world of Zweeshen, where books, authors, Libraries and Stories rule the world. The book has the main character Beatrix Alba, who is a potential Tamlian, she and William, a cursed conjurer, go on an adventurous journey through out the book. The book is fascinating, whimsical, and full of magic and stories you would want to read about. I enjoyed the concept of the book thoroughly and I cannot wait to read the further books in the series. The cover and the writing style of the author is just flawless.
Profile Image for Shannon.
35 reviews
January 28, 2021
This book is simply gorgeous from the very beginning. The illustrations and cover are swoon-worthy. The main character, Beatrix, can hear the whispers of books. It's an interesting concept, something I know most book-lovers would greatly enjoy.

"In her library, she sat in the middle of infinity."

Beatrix has a strong magic inside her that she struggles to keep under control, to keep locked away in a cage within herself. Bullied at school and unhappy at home, books are a huge part of Beatrix's life.

This book details an incredible story, a girls journey through an unknown world as she fights to discover the truth and finally feel accepted somewhere. She meets a range of interesting characters, both friends and foe, and never gives up.

I adored all the mentions of famous books and characters from other stories. The Zweeshen is marvelous, so complex and well-thought out. It was easy to follow along without being simplified, and the whole biblioworld system was highly intriguing. The secondary characters were also amazing, well-developed and interesting in their own ways.

Unwritten flows at a nice pace, allowing the reader to become immersed in the world properly while continuing the story and the character's adventures. You're definitely left seeking more by the end of the book! I'm already eager for a sequel, and I can't wait to see the world of the Zweeshen develop even further in the future.

I am incredibly lucky to have received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Vachara.
93 reviews
February 9, 2021
I had such an wonderful time reading UNWRITTEN by Alicia J. Novo
The world building is simply beautiful: Pangea, Zweeshen, Eisid Naraid, these places are so of full of colors and life you can project yourself when you read the lines.

Beatrix, our main character, has always been different: she has a ‘monster’ inside of her waiting any chance to manifest itself.
Her grandfather had protected her by cloaking her magic and showing her how to control her inner-beast, but his recent death left her defenseless.
In his belongings, she found a letter from her mother, sending her on a dangerous quest to save worlds.

Have you ever wondered what happens to the characters once the book is finished? The author had a brilliant idea here by interlinking the biblioworlds (or book worlds) into one universe: Zweeshen
These biblioworlds and its tailimn (characters) are safe there as long as the Leeber (original book) exists, but someone started to destroy these precious books and with them, all their worlds and characters that make them up.

As a debut novel, UNWRITTEN just nailed it for me, and now I have to wait for book 2.
I think I need some magic here to comfort me and help me while waiting for the next installment of THE ZWEESHEN CHRONICLES.

I wanted to thank the author and her media contact Lucy for reaching out and sending me an ARC of this wonderful story.
Profile Image for Lizabeth.
Author 2 books1 follower
January 30, 2021
I received this book as an ARC from the author for my honest opinion, so here goes.

I LOVED IT. I cannot wait for book two to come out, or even for this one to release for real so I can have a physical copy. If you like the hate to like/love trope, this one is for you.

To start with the heroine annoyed that absolute crap out of me. She was clueless about what was going on, but flat out refused to listen to certain people. I mean, I get it...she had some serious reasons why not to listen to people, but when certain things are at stake...take a moment and at least think about it. Not just ignore people and push it out of mind.

But, the inventiveness of this story, this world...was fantastic. The characters, the adventure, the atmosphere. Even the way things were continued and explained was so refreshing and wonderful. I loved this story so much. And I cannot wait to see what comes next.

And the COVER!!! So beautiful! And the first page of each chapter! LOVE LOVE LOVE

Thank you so much for offering this ARC to me!!!
Profile Image for Carly.
30 reviews
January 31, 2021
I received an eARC of Unwritten in exchange for an honest review.

Wow — where do I even start? The Zweeshen is a world where all the characters you have read about are alive, and it’s a world that one of my new favorite heroines, Beatrix, finds herself thrown into. Tasked with decoding a letter from her mom to unlock hidden secrets and working against the dark forces of those out to destroy biblioworlds, Beatrix works with her new character friends to learn more about herself and the world she ultimately comes from.

There’s a line at the beginning of the book that says, “you have to love things, Beatrix.” And I absolutely love the premise of this book and how a character’s moral compass leads them to making the right choices.

Will now be (im)patiently waiting to see if there’s a second book because I am also deeply infatuated with Beatrix’s love interest, and I need to know how their story is written.
Profile Image for Alicia Novo.
Author 1 book124 followers
July 7, 2021
Hi everyone, I will not write a review of my own book, even though I love it dearly, but I wanted to share a couple of things.

First, here is the link to the Unwritten Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGsW2... in case any of you want to watch it.

Second, we have a preorder offer going on. You can get an exclusive enamel pin of the winged dagger with purchase! For more information check: https://www.alicianovo.com/incentiver...

Also, there will be a few interactive companion experiences unveiled in May to enhance your reading. I will update the links here once released or you can follow me on Instagram @authoraliciajnovo or sign up for the newsletter at https://www.alicianovo.com, so you don't miss anything.

Feel free to ask me any questions.

Thanks for reading and loving books.💙
Profile Image for Finitha Jose.
298 reviews46 followers
April 19, 2021
If you are someone who would love to live in the world of books, then this story is definitely for you. Well, if you are not that reckless (like me for instance), still this will hook you in. Let me begin by admiring that cover . . . again (I was practically drooling all over it). If you go with the looks, this particular beauty will surely take you to the red carpet. And the brain inside is not bad either.
What makes this book a special one is the elaborate world of Zweeshen that the author has created. We meet many of our favourite characters and get a taste of how it feels to be a character once the story comes to an end. A world where their stories go on endlessly with new adventures not predicted by their artisans.
That doesn't mean the plot is without holes. Even after the end, there are so many questions unanswered and one is confronted with the feeling that Zweeshen still has its mysteries. With all its glitter and glamour, it dodges our touch, refusing to be tamed. Well, something to look forward to in the coming instalment of this series.
As for the characters, I liked William but Beatrix felt like a hormonal teenager. With that temper, I dare not imagine how anyone can bully her in school. The chemistry between the two also felt a bit off, too sudden. The side characters, on the other hand, was an altogether different matter. Emma is, by far, my favourite. I can't wait to read more about her.
Altogether a refreshing read and a great beginning to a series that shows immense potential.
Profile Image for Celia.
Author 6 books487 followers
February 25, 2021
Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy to review!

First thing I noticed about this book was the writing. World-building is key in every book, fantasy especially, but this book does not suffer from "blank world" syndrome. Novo has a way with words that has me grasping for her deep dark secrets. Did she sell her soul for writing skills? How can I do the same?

Honestly, I did not know what to expect when I opened this book. The cover promises a fascinating story, but covers can be deceiving. I'm looking at you-cover-that-was-deceiving. But this cover matches the story inside. Full of magic, hope, and sadness, this book encompasses everything I love about fantasy. Books are an escape. We want to flee into worlds unlike our own. That is just what Beatrix does, except she has a mission: contain her dangerous powers, and figure out who is destroying books in the world of Zweeshen.

Beatrix is your typical stubborn teen, but I still like her character. I rooted for her. I wanted her to succeed, and that is the best thing an author can do for a reader: make them feel. Her love interest is a broody cinnamon roll named William who softens like butter as the story progresses. He starts off kindofajerkdon'thateme, but there are reasons for his jerkiness that are revealed later on. There is an instant-love aspect to their relationship though, which is OK for me. Love is love.

My only vex was for the ending, which seemed a bit rushed? I don't mind long books at all so it would have been nice to have more space to breathe at the conclusion if that makes sense. In fact, a lot of it seemed rushed, but I know it can be when you're on a deadline, have word count maximums etc, and writing is HARD. And pacing...PACING IS THE DEVIL.

Ok well, overall thoughts are that I liked this book a lot and my minor qualms did not affect my rating all that much. I'm incredibly lucky to have read it, and I cannot wait to see what the author does in the future.

Profile Image for shecreatesreadsandwritesxo.
24 reviews18 followers
January 21, 2021
I received a e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Where do I begin? Going into reading this I had no idea what to expect except a good fantasy filled with magic and a unique, mysterious world. That’s exactly what I got. This book follows a young teen named Beatrix who has a dangerous source of power she tries to keep concealed. Once “the monster” is unleashed, horrible things can happen like taking the life of another. She lives alone with her cruel father and is bullied on school grounds. When she discovers a letter from her deceased mother, she has to uncover the inscription to unlock the hidden secrets her mother left for her to find. Taking her on a dangerous journey, she is thrown into the Zweeshen universe. Beatrix has to unlock more about herself. Who she really is and figure out her mother’s story to save a world of stories she’s not even sure wants her.

There’s many things I liked about reading this book. What stuck with me most, is how it’s so relatable to a reader who just wants to escape into a mystical world filled with adventure and enchantment. This book definitely delivered and was beautifully written. Another thing I loved is how it’s weaves a balance of stories and characters. Being lighthearted with a bit of darkness fused into the story. The world building is so excellent, it takes the reader into a vivid expedition where you’re experiencing it yourself. Exciting! You won’t want to put this down.

My only critique for this is sometimes the main character Beatrix felt a little younger to me than just reading about a regular teenager. Besides that, the vivid experience and everything else I loved about Unwritten overshadows this. I still highly recommend reading it. It’s a real breath of fresh air, a little slow paced with just enough going on to keep the readers eyes glued to the pages! It’s still the perfect balance of a light and dark read. 4/5
Profile Image for Yesha- Books Teacup and Reviews.
651 reviews128 followers
May 29, 2021
Disclaimer : Many thanks to author for providing eARC, in exchange for an honest review.

↪Unwritten was fantastic YA dark fantasy, a perfect opening book in The Zweeshen Chronicles.
↪revolved around Beatrix Alba trying solve the riddle her mother left behind and find a place she belonged.
↪It was about belongingness, abandonment issue, courage, believing in yourself, gift, power, secrets, betrayal, friendship, and love.
↪Writing was mesmerising and descriptive.
↪Author didn’t rush into things whether it was characters and their development, plot or the world and long chapters made it steady paced.
↪Plot was much more complex than I expected.
↪All characters were flawed and realistic.
↪I rooted for Beatrix from the beginning.
↪Emma was my most favourite.
↪World was absolutely brilliant. It was intricate, dark, gloomy and filled with magic.
↪Romance was good, not the centre of the story which I liked
↪All twist and turns were well written.
↪End was happy and sad both at the same time with a minor cliff hanger.

I recommend this book to fantasy readers who prefer to have detailed world without feeling like info dump and like to take their time in the immersive world.

Read full review by following the link- https://booksteacupreviews.com/2021/0...
Profile Image for Helen&Books.
2 reviews2 followers
January 23, 2021
I received an eARC in exchanged for an honest review.

I loved, loved, loved this book. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect but the world blew me away. I totally want to move in :-) And Beatrix! I enjoyed her so much as a protagonist. In a lot of the novels I've read lately the main character is often really harsh, which is fun, but it is nice to have a change. And as a bit of bookworm myself, I could relate to Beatrix. I loved how she is challenged: like after always having been rejected in the real world, she gets what should be her total dream world, and once again is told she doesn't belong. It was heartbreaking but it worked so well and she never comes off as a victim. One more thing: I adored William! He was my favorite. Please more of him in the next book. I can't wait to see where this story goes in the second installment.
February 19, 2021
Thanks to the publisher and the author for this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this story so much. I can't even decide what was my favorite part. I loved the world and the characters and I really liked the plot too. I felt like someone went into my wishlist and created the world any booklover will fall for. The Zweeshen is so fun and there are so many details and quirks. I had no problem seeing it all in my mind.
Also, I have serious gooey eyes for William. I liked that he is supportive and not afraid to say I'm sorry when he messes up.
All in all this book had so many interesting twists and concepts that I never saw coming. It felt different and original.
I can't wait for the sequel!

Profile Image for Alex (The Scribe Owl).
349 reviews109 followers
April 16, 2021
See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl!

Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

2/5 stars

I was completely prepared for this to be the best book I'd read all month, but unfortunately, it let me down. The premise sounded fantastic but the book just couldn't deliver.

I was really expecting to enjoy the book about books trope, but we just weren't clicking. I read a good amount of classics, but due to copyright and all that the author could only mention old books, most of which I hadn't read.

Our love interest was weird. First of all, he was literally Will Herondale but not as sweet. One, they're both named Will. Two, they both have that "oh no, anyone who loves me DIES" thing going on. I won't go into much detail in case you haven't read either book, but it's the exact same.

It wasn't that Unwritten was a terrible book. I wasn't that bad. But I don't think it's what I needed right now and it just didn't interest me.
Profile Image for Alex Nonymous.
Author 21 books375 followers
March 13, 2021
Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Unwritten in exchange for an honest review.

Unwritten is probably the heaviest I've ever seen a book lean into the "book about books" trope and it was absolutely delightful. The pacing, characters, and story-arc feel a bit more middle grade than YA, but Unwritten is chockful of witty literature themed references that more mature readers would also be able to appreciate.

Plotwise, this isn't technically that unique, but Novo is such an immersive narrator that this one can definitely stand as its own unique read.
Profile Image for Inkslinger.
232 reviews38 followers
May 8, 2021

ARC provided by Alicia J. Novo and INtense Publications. All opinions are mine and freely given.

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05-08: I feel like I've been waiting for the release of 'Unwritten' by Alicia J. Novo for ages. The beautifully intricate cover design caught my eye late last year and I fell in love with the synopsis.

The story follows sixteen-year-old Beatrix Alba, who has secrets. For one, books talk to her. Sometimes in whispers.. sometimes in shouts, they're a constant companion in a world she doesn't seem to belong in.

Bullied both at home and in school, she could put a stop to it all.. but she doesn't. Taught to keep her dangerous hidden power bound tightly within her, that hard-won control starts to slip with the loss of her beloved grandfather.

When the spell that keeps her and her magic hidden fails, one decision thrusts her into the midst of Zweeshen, a world seemingly made of stories like those tucked safely on the library shelves back home. But that realm isn't the whimsical escape from her own that Beatrix wishes it to be. A character is burning bookworlds in pursuit of a weapon to rule both stories and storytellers.. and Beatrix holds the key.

Even now, just sharing the premise with you.. I get a little swept up in the concepts. Cursed conjurers, Egyptian gods, Regency heroines, there are so many fascinating elements that the very idea of it excites me.

Unfortunately, though the technical aspect of the writing is very smooth, it's just not executed in a very interesting way and it really slowed the reading for me because I kept putting it down. William was intriguing from the get-go with his dark, broody visage and his standoffish nature. He's brusque, but magnetic.. and possibly the character I was most invested in. Beatrix, the main character, has a lot of unique attributes to draw from.. but she just didn't draw me in.

Novo does an excellent job crafting backstory and developing her characters, but the journey itself feels inconsistent in depth. I love the whole 'books as portals to other worlds' trope and there's a test Beatrix goes through which could be really stunning imagery, but that was kind of glossed over for quantity instead.

Early on.. when I found myself facing what was ultimately a Monsters Inc door scene, I became disillusioned by the construction of some of the ideas utilized in this tale. In actuality, it's these last two things that for me are good examples of what didn't work for me with this book.

From a writing standpoint, Novo excels at scene writing. The strength of them still varies dramatically, but as this is her debut, I'm completely willing to give her time. Nonetheless, possibly because she can be so good at them.. it becomes much more obvious when they're weaker, and the paths in between them rather dull.

At this point, I'd think she'd do well with screenwriting, but her approach to the novel just needs more practice. The writing is still intelligent and elegant, she just needs to focus on managing the gap in her skills. That being said, though that lack of consistency made it difficult for me to stay invested, I think she has a ton of potential and I'm eager to see what her future holds as she learns and grows.

Profile Image for Rhys.
175 reviews146 followers
March 24, 2021
Thank you to Netgalley and Intense Publications for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Unwritten took me by surprise. The premise sounded so cool, and I was excited to read it. But I felt going in I was not going to like it as much, but I did!

Unwritten follows Beatrix, who is able to hear books whisper to her. However, books are not the reason she has never fit in; bullied at school and home, she keeps a secret-a power of violence and darkness. When the spell that keeps her hidden fails, she is thrown into the Zweeshan, a realm where all tales live, and her dream of meeting her favourite characters comes true. But wishes are tricky, and behind its wonder and whimsy, the Zweeshen is under attack. A character is burning bookworlds in pursuit of a weapon to rule both stories and storytellers. To succeed, they need a riddle that Beatrix has. Now, they are hunting her down.
Joining forces with Willian, Beatrix must face an enemy who knows everything about her. And with her darkness as the only weapon, she may have to sacrifice everything to save a world that rejects her.

Oh my GOD, I loved this book. The writing style was so good. It was definitely slow to start, which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5, but other than that, I had no problems.

Can we take a moment to talk about the romance in this book? Because GOD DAMN this is what I want when I say enemies to lovers. To me, it is not enemies to lovers if the characters start liking each other halfway through the book. In this book, the characters took a minimum of 60% of the book to start figuring out their feelings which is what I mean with enemies to lovers. It is a slow burn romance!!

The story itself had GREAT pacing once we got to around the 30% mark. The first 30% is a little slow but it is so worth it in the end. Plus the worldbuilding is so well done!! It is such a complex world yet it is done perfectly!

If you are looking for a book with enemies to lovers, fast pacing, such a cool and interesting world, Unwritten by Alicia J Novo is for you!
Profile Image for Jessica Belmont.
1,483 reviews46 followers
April 13, 2021
Unwritten by Alicia J. Novo is an absolutely brilliant YA Fantasy. This is the kind of book that perfectly represents what I love about the genre. But, before we get into that, can we just talk about this cover? Beautiful and a lot of the reason I initially wanted to read this!

The world building in Unwritten is really descriptive. I felt transported into this story. I loved learning about the world and magic. It was very well written and fast paced. I had trouble putting this down and read it in two sittings over one day!

The characters are excellent. Beatrix is a great lead. I love how relatable she is.

I absolutely loved Unwritten. I didn’t want it to end and thought about re-reading so I could go back into this world. This is what fantasy should be, in my opinion. Highly recommended!!

*I received a free copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours to review honestly on the blog tour. All opinions are my own and unbiased.*
Profile Image for ʙᴇʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。..
200 reviews99 followers
Want to read
February 23, 2021
books about books are my soft spot. I just really love when everything is fantasy and magic and bookish, so adding this to TBR with all the love~
Profile Image for Graisi O'Hara.
440 reviews9 followers
February 22, 2021
First, thanks Alicia J Novo, Intense Publications, and Netgalley for the ARC.

This was an entertaining adventure, fantasy mystery. In a rarity for teen novels, the romance does not overshadow the main storyline, but is interwoven. I'll be checking out the next in this series.
Profile Image for Kendra.
188 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2021
I would like to thank Alicia J. Novo for giving me an E-ARC of this book to read & review. I will be striving to make this a spoiler-free review.

Unwritten follows the story of Beatrix Alba. A girl who faces abuse from everywhere in her her life it seems except for the books that whisper to her. When she inherits a box of odd collectibles, and a letter addressed to her from her long-deceased mother, it sets her on a course to The Zweeshen a land made for book characters known as Taelimns.

I found Beatrix to be a very likable character. Through all the pain she faces she stays strong, I felt for her and wanted nothing more than for her to succeed. She is a very smart character and strong-willed which is evidenced by how effectively she keeps control over her dangerous power. she is quick to anger but is very good at staying in control which can't be said of many people. The thing I liked about her most though was that she reminded me of ... well ... a sixteen-year-old. Especially in the way she hates being told what to do by anyone. The stubbornness could be considered annoying but frankly, it's exactly how I was at her age and it made her relatable. This hatred of being told what to do and her own self-consciousness may be her greatest flaws. They are points where she could grow though, and I am unbelievably excited to watch her character development.

William, who is of course our love interest, starts out as your typical handsome brooding boy with a secret heart of gold. A classic and one I love. He really softens up the longer you read, and as his motivations for his earlier behavior are revealed you really begin to understand exactly why he has a bit of a sharp tongue. The reveal though felt very rushed however and underwhelming considering how big of an impact it has on the story. I wish more time and more emotion had been described when this revelation came about. As it stands, the scene seemed to gloss over what is ultimately a very big plot point.

The world of Unwritten was extremely well written. This book was a very immersive experience and I had no trouble picturing everything and simply disappearing into The Zweeshen myself every time I read. The Zweeshen is like every book lover's dream. Who hasn't read a book and wished to be able to meet one character or another. Though it seems to be a dream and boasts celebrities in the form of all the classic characters, The Zweeshen has a dark side. As Beatrix discovers, The Zweeshen can be very unfair. It comes across as a broken system that hates things that are different and takes away the right of its inhabitants. with so many revolutionary characters running about it's a miracle this corrupt system has yet to topple.

During the course of the story, there were a few times I was confused. The initial meeting between William and Beatrix for one came off as confusing, and though I thought it would be explained, it never was. That coupled with areas that seemed far too rushed and chapters that ended on what appeared to be a cliffhanger only for the topic to never be returned to were strikes against Unwritten. Another thing was the relationship between Beatrix and William. It very suddenly turned from budding friendship to romance. I initially thought this would be more of a slow burn but the sudden progression in their relationship took me off guard and came off as rushed. These are all things that could change however as this book has yet to be released.

To sum it all up, Unwritten was a highly immersive experience, with a beautiful world, likable characters, and a plot that kept me guessing. Though at times it seemed rushed I really did love this story. It has earned 4 stars out of 5 though which could definitely change. I will be picking up a copy as soon as this book is officially released, and will then eagerly await the next installment.
Profile Image for Christine.
134 reviews
February 16, 2021
“Readers become part of stories themselves. Everything is connected, and without readers to inspire, stories would lose all meaning.”

Our protagonist, Beatrix, is tricked by Evanzaar, the Librarian and a ruler, who tells her she belongs in the land of Zweeshen. Beatrix, desperate to find answers, follows this man. This lie results in Beatrix finding various clues about her mother's whereabouts in the mystical Zweeshen.

The things I like:
I do love this premise that characters live outside of their books. It was pretty cool as Beatrix runs into famous characters from various books. One of the best things about this story is Beatrix gaining the help of different taelimns to figure out the mystery of Beatrix's mother, Leyna. But it does add more questions about Leyna and her history. There is a mention of worlds completely disappearing, which sounds way more fascinating than Beatrix's quest of finding her mother.

The things I disliked:
The downside, at least for me, is the confusion and the pacing. In the beginning, the Librarian tells Beatrix that she belongs in Zweeshen only for the Council of Zweeshen to rule for her leave. There was a moment of disappointment, the villain. The villain aspect had great potential but felt rushed, and the reasoning for his destruction was lackluster. Even after defeating the villain, none of the questions Beatrix has regarding her mother aren't answered. With pacing, there are moments in the book where things sort of lag,

This book is an engaging read with an exciting protagonist trying to figure out her origins and power.

Thanks to Alicia J. Novo for gifting me this ARC e-book in exchange for an honest review.
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