Unbreakable by Kami Garcia isn’t a terrible book by any means and there are going to be people who really like it. But it does feel very much like it is pandering to a specific young teen audience, bringing an almost ‘mary sue’ wishful trope especially suited for those invested in the “Supernatural” TV series. I can’t imagine being accused of being a derivative of a CW show can in any way be considering a recommendation and certainly this book treads a thin line between shallow and unlikeable. Readers will likely be polarized between loving it and hating it as a result.
Story: Kennedy lives a somewhat normal life – until her mother dies mysteriously and she is attacked by ghosts. Saved by uberhandsome emo twins, YA love triangle and instaluv ensue. Cue ‘on the run’ team fighting supernatural entities while evading authorities.
The characters here were the main problem for me. Kennedy is nearly unlikeable – overwritten in the ‘show not tell’ style to an early death of believability. She spends most of the book showing how plucky she is being ensuring she will need to be saved by the cute emo twins as often as possible. And not so much for thrilling action sequences so much as to provide reasons for soppy romance scenes.
The love interest wonder twins themselves are ciphers; two dimensional walking cardboard cutouts of a typical reverse-harem situation: one is sociable and one is moody and withdrawn. Any guesses which one our overdramatic heroine will fine most intriguing? I found them boring and wholly uninteresting. Sadly, that remained true for all the characters in the book.
The plot needed more depth and believability to bring credibility to the characters’ actions. Not much makes sense, especially in the logic department, and as a result it became very hard to invest in anyone or anything that happened. I enjoy characters I can respect rather than those that feel the need to make every situation completely over-the-top. That is my personal preference (an intelligent, sane, nuanced, heroine) and others may like Kennedy a lot more than I did. In my world, she’s be an annoying brat.
There is much that could be done with the premise to take it above and beyond a shallow homage to a beloved TV show. What worked in Supernatural, the likability and quirk of the main characters, would have taken this book so much farther. Unfortunately, too many of the shortcomings and lowest-common-denominator values of the speculative YA genre are overrepresented here.
Reviewed from an ecopy provided by the publisher.