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Unknown by Melissa Pearl
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This YA fantasy romance novel started out strong but started fizzling for me partway through. Doubtless this is personal preference and a dedicated YA genre reader could easily disagree with this assessment. I loved the first 25% of the book, but skimmed the final 10%.

The spiritual as well as physical nature of the main characters' quest is an excellent plus. The mixture of fantasy to romance leaned hard toward romance, further than I prefer, and parts of the adventure seemed tacked on, rather than germaine to the quest. And how many things can go wrong in a single day…?

I like the three main characters in the love triangle. In fact, many of the major characters are presented sympathetically and it's difficult to dislike any of them; they're fully developed and entertaining. The relationships among Kyla and her two love interests, Athra and Jethro, are excellent. They're just lingered on for too long; I can only read about Jethro's dismay at not being Kyla's betrothed so many times before I want to smack him. Same for Kyla's confusion re Jethro's attempts to distance himself from her, as they were formerly best friends.

The writing style is strong and the book contains few errors, although there are some lapses in verb tenses. One aspect of the author's style irritated me [MILD SPOILER ALERT] and that's the way she discussed the two very old children who are the Light's secret weapons. Rather than showing us the children's delightful behavior, the author instead told the reader how to feel about them, using words such as adorable and joyous, talking about them as cherubs, mentioning their smiles and dimples. A little of that goes a long way, and after a few rounds I was ready to smack the kids, too. Granted I'm a professional cynic. [END SPOILER ALERT]

In all, this is a reasonably good story and there's no doubt YA romance readers will enjoy it. Those of us who prefer the fantasy adventure side of the equation might be left wanting. Let's call it 3.5 stars.

Note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program. ( )
  GunnarGrey | Jan 6, 2014 |
Link to book: Amazon
Book Description: Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in.Then a star begins to fall.Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate.
Then a star begins to fall.

Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from.

Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a

Review: 4 stars

General: The Unknown is a fantastic adventure story filled with connections that any reader would love. This book was a wonderful addition the YA world. A prophecy is the central device in the story and it is filled with love, betrayal and action that will suit any reader’s interest. The world created is very original and I found myself enjoying learning everything about it and the descriptions, once the book got going, were wonderful.

I spent the majority of the book rooting for Kyla and Jethro and cannot wait to see what the next two hold in store. Their journey is believable and filled with many things that would test their limits and engage readers. While the two characters are off fighting and searching for the things they need for the ultimate war, betrayl and drama are brewing at home between the Queen, Athra and a Nikara.

However there were two issues I had. The first was the confusion the start of the book creates. There is no indication this isn’t our world, or a medieval version of our world. I am in fact, not 100% certain this isn’t supposed to just be unknown civilizations of Earth but I am fairly certain they are completely fabricated and while not living in the past, certainly have no technology. The second was there were too many external characters narrating and it made me skip sections because they weren’t developed characters so I didn’t care what they had to say. Also, a minor thing is the book sets Nikara to be a main role, displaying her on the cover and I personally didn’t even care that she was there.

Characters: Kyla- Kyla is a fantastic heroine for a YA story. A princess and loyal to a fault she is strong, kind and determined to do what’s best. However she is also stubborn and leaning towards potential deceit with Jethro and those make her character feel more real.

Jethro- I love Jethro and the idea of Jethro with Kyla. He is the perfect teen embodiment of the adult novel hero. He has chosen to give something up to do what’s best for the woman he loves. He doesn’t have a whole lot of narration in this book but it is clear he will be a very strong character from mental to physical components.

Athra- While I don’t want Athra with Kyla because they lack chemistry, Athra is my favorite character in this book. He is loyal and kind. A natural ruler he reminds me of the many portrayals of Kin Arthur and I would love to see his loyalty twist and bend to the point of corruption as the novels go. ( )
  BookBliss2013 | Sep 22, 2013 |
An ancient prophecy was foretold. “From its ashes two seekers will arise. Through earth, water, wind and fire, I will be found.”

Princess Kyla of Taramon and Jethro have been life-long friends. They even share the same birthday. However, ever since it was announced that Kyla was to marry Jethro’s cousin Athra, a rift has come between them.

Discovering they are the seekers from the ancient prophecy Kyla and Jethro must go on a journey together in order to bring light back into a world that the dark took over.

Melissa Pearl does an excellent job creating multi-dimensional characters making this story believable. You will empathize with the main characters and hiss at the bad guys.

Pearl wrote an astonishing story rich with symbolism. Unknown is a well-done foundation for the Elements series. This fast-paced story is hard to put down.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  dlynch | Sep 18, 2013 |
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Darkness is covering the land. As the city of Mezrah grows with power and greed, the rest of the world can only stand by and wait for their inevitable destruction. The only hope against this growing power is an ancient prophecy that people have stopped believing in. Then a star begins to fall. Princess Kyla of Taramon stopped believing in the power of light the day her father died. Trapped in a city she does not care for, under the watchful glare of her mother, the queen, she struggles to accept her fate. Then a star begins to fall. Jethro has loved Kyla for as long as he can remember. Learning that she was to marry his cousin drove a wedge between him and the feisty princess. Watching her from a distance is a torture he is unable to free himself from. Then a star begins to fall, sparking an ember of hope and sending two seekers on a treacherous journey into the unknown.… (more)

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