BOOK REVIEW: UNFORGIVEN by Stephanie Erickson

Yes, I know, I know. I talked to you about book 1 in this series last week. I’m sorry. But I wanted this book to sit on its own, because it really begins to delve into the meat and potatoes of this series, and I didn’t want to bog down the last review. This one may be a bit shorter than usual because of that.

We pick up with Mackenzie after the awful cliffhanger of the end of the last book, which I …uh, don’t want to spoil. (Man, writing reviews of sequels is hard.) She’s lost a family, found a family, and had her life utterly upended. She’s lost everything and has absolutely no idea how to rebuild herself within the constructs she’s found in the Unseen. David and the rest of the Unseen need her at one hundred percent to fight the Potestas. Mackenzie doesn’t know how to keep breathing, let alone fight like this. It’s enough to tear someone apart–and it’s threatening to do just that.

This absolutely continues with my love of Mackenzie and the way she handles problems. After what happened in the last book, I would absolutely be in the same shoes as her. Unable to function, totally lost, inconsolable. Erickson doesn’t shy away from this, doesn’t solve it easily, doesn’t brush it aside for the action of the book–something I appreciate a great deal. Again, it’s too easy to make our main characters superheroes of their own mind, pushing aside even the greatest tragedy because we don’t want to worry about it anymore. But we don’t actually work like that. Grief stays with us. Anger, pain, abuse stays with us, and we don’t let go easily. It’s good to see Mackenzie acting like that.

There is a section near the end, in a portion of the book I absolutely can’t say much about because spoilers, but it’s the crux of much of the action and I felt it a little lacking. It’s a major turning point for Mac, it’s something she’s never dealt with before and nothing she can overcome easily…and it felt emotionally lacking. It was unfortunate, because I’ve been so invested and deeply engrossed with Mac before, and this just felt detached. (Perhaps fittingly, but it still felt off.)

That being said, it led up to one of my all-time favorite moments in the whole book. A perfectly executed Chekhov’s Gun (basically) leads into FINALLY someone doing exactly what I wanted someone to do. All I’ll say is: I agree with Mitchell. Homemade caramel sounds awesome. (And now you know what I’m talking about if you’ve read the book. SUCH A GOOD SCENE.)

Even with the sag in the middle, I’m very much intrigued as to how this trilogy wraps up. One of my favorite characters is gone (though part of me is hoping that it’s not true, somehow) but there’s so much going on just under the surface and so much still to wrap up. I’m fascinated by the world, by the characters, by what’s been happening. I thoroughly enjoy Erickson’s writing style, and I’m happy to keep boosting her books up to people’s attention.

Rating: **** (Recommended)


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