Thursday, February 12, 2015

Early Critique: "Unseen (Unborn #2)" by Amber Lynn Natusch

I received this ebook for free via NetGalley, but in no way did it affect my literary taste buds. This critique is my honest opinion.

This review features a book that is the second in the Unborn series, and may have minor spoilers for those who have not read Unborn. My review of the first book can be found here.

To Be Published: February 17th, 2015

As I had suspected, the worldbuilding of this series made more sense once the second book came into play. When we were introduced to Khara in the first book, she almost never mentioned her time down in the Underworld (Hell, essentially), and her past had large gaps where we weren't exactly sure what had happened with her (or she was very vague about it). In particular, her problems with Deimos, which had begun in the Underworld, were never fully explored, leaving the reader to wonder how exactly he tormented her.

Beyond that, we get to see a part of Khara as she was when she was 'princess' of Hell, unprotected by the constant presence of her brothers and cursed by Deimos's presence. The only hitch in this is Oz, now a Dark One, is with her, and appears to do his best to stymie any untoward advances. Still, she seems more independent (and more human) than the incredibly stiff (and sometimes completely inexplicable) Khara we saw in the first book, which is a good thing in my view.

The Plot: (As Seen on Goodreads)
'Welcome to the Kingdom of Hades, where even its prodigal princess sleeps lightly.
'After fighting Soul Stealers in Detroit, Khara hoped to return home to find answers in her father's realm. But the land of the dead offers little information, and far too much tragedy. Now cut off from her brothers, and left only with her dark and unreliable companion Oz, Khara must navigate the centuries-old webs of deceit and betrayal, all while eluding the Underworld's most depraved inhabitant. But she soon finds an unexpected ally in her adopted sister Persephone. Together, they endeavor to right a terrible wrong. And as Khara soon discovers, there's more riding on her success than she ever thought possible.'

Oz is also undergoing a transformation of sorts. Before, he seemed like an innocuous bad boy, projecting an image of toughness while remaining as soft as goose feather inside. Now, as a Dark One, he's truly broken that impression- I was increasingly worried for Khara, because he seems like someone I wouldn't cross. As mercurial as he is now, I can't help but wonder at his motivations, which the author chooses to keep under wraps (darn it!).

I'm getting rather good at guessing endings, so this one, again, didn't come as a complete surprise, due in part to the author's foreshadowing. What did come as a surprise was the sudden influx of worldbuilding- before, I had assumed all the Greco-Roman gods would play only a side-role in the series, but it's becoming increasingly clear they are part of the main course. With the additions to the worldbuilding, I must say I'm becoming more impressed with the series than I previously was- all signs in the first book hinted it might have been a more generic urban fantasy infused with Greek mythology, but I'm now seeing some similarities to the Neil Gaiman novel, American Gods.

Unseen is just as action-packed as the first volume, and yet we are still left with unanswered questions (ironic, considering that's a factor in what made Khara go down to hell in the first place). Although some characters didn't meet my expectations of what they would do (particularly a brother whose name begins with C), I was kept in suspense of what might happen well past my bedtime. If you like series with gods among us told in the fast pace of urban fantasy, I recommend the Unborn series for you.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars for a sequel that's just as great as the first.

Content: Ages 18+ for violence, interesting sexual non-situations, and swearing.

Page Count: 288 pages

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