Read on for my review!
From the start, I was frustrated that I couldn't get a good feel for what this book wanted to be, and honestly, I began to suspect that the author wasn’t quite sure either. At times, the innocence of characters and blatantly sophomoric dialogue (like when Ethan asks Anora, “Do you want to be my girlfriend?”) spoke for this book as an innocent YA Paranormal love story. However, the open discussion of sex, drugs, and alcohol, and the fact that, by the end of the story, Ethan and Anora are regularly knocking boots and moving in together were more characteristic of a steamier NA grade romance. Whichever it was intended to be, the romantic scenes tended to be awkward and definitely lacking in steam. For example, Ethan meets Anora at school and pulls her in for a kiss, "his tongue going in my mouth". She may as well be describing a dental exam for all the excitement the scene raises. Despite the fact that Ethan could very easily be a blood-stirring character, I never really felt the passion between him and Anora.
Another issue that held me back from enjoying the story more and, ultimately, from rating it more highly, was that it felt very story driven. It was hard to get a good, deep connection to the characters, and there were lots of situations and conversations that felt as if they existed solely to move the story along toward a pre-destined point to which the author needed to get. Anora is still in high school and living with her parents, yet parents never seem to be an issue, except when they throw in a token objection that never really has any impact on the story. Need to sneak out late with Ethan? Agreeance spell. Need to visit the house in Indiana? Agreeance spell. The Agreeance spell was just too convenient. And there were several times I found myself thinking, “There’s no way someone would REALLY do that!” Like the time Anora’s dog, Hunter, is freaking out by the back door and Anora thinks there might be demons. What’s a girl to do?! Apparently, go upstairs to get dressed and blow dry her hair…
All of this being said, I thought the story concept was intriguing, the characters had great possibility, and oh my goodness can Emily Goodwin create a visual with her words! I never had any trouble getting a vivid picture of the world of Unbound, and I was truly impressed by the powerful imagery. For example, when Anora and Ethan go to Green Lake:
“The sun was sinking behind us, and the orange, red and yellow colors from the sky reflected beautifully off the glass-like surface of the water. I rested my head against Ethan’s broad shoulder. I never wanted this day to end.”
I could feel the warmth of Ethan’s arms and Anora’s contentment in that moment, with the gorgeous colors of sunset and the peaceful lake before them. And descriptions like this were throughout the book, strengthening the prose and drawing me into the story.
Overall, this was a fairly enjoyable read, but I think it has much unfulfilled potential.
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*