Review: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Unbreakable
Kami Garcia

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
I received an advanced copy of this book through the Around the World ARC tour.
Releases October 1, 2013
320 pages
YA / Fantasy / Supernatural

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Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia.

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels

So a lot of things have been compared to Supernatural and more often than not I am completely disappointed in these pretend Supernatural things because they do not have the same heart and sense of fun that the television show has. Despite that, comparing a YA book to my favorite television series and then say that it involves twin boys and a girl falling face first into this world of ghosts at the worst possible moment, and I thought that maybe this could be the exception that wouldn’t disappoint.

And I was completely right. I haven’t read the Beautiful Creatures series, so I have no prior experience with Kami Garcia’s writing. It’s an energetic romp through ghost filled conspiracies while also having an emotional core that never allowed the fantastical elements to pull the story too close to crazy town. Kennedy loses her mother, only to find out that some great demonic conspiracy was the cause of her “heart attack”.

Being introduced to twins Jared and Lukas by having them burst into the bedroom of unsuspecting Kennedy while she’s having a nightmare was is a nice jarring reveal. It’s also very Winchester-y, bursting in at the nick of time to save someone from having their face eaten by a ghost. You have the sweet sensitive one, Lukas, who is immediately concerned about Kennedy’s mental well-being, and Jared, who just wants to shoot monsters in the face. Of course this is going to become an awkward love triangle, but luckily Garcia doesn’t drag things out too much and there are only a few awkward moments.

After some unfortunate encounters with supernatural creatures, the twins introduce Kennedy to the rest of the secret society, who help in the matter of plot dumping background. My favorite character though was Priest, the 14-year-old tech genius, who spends his time taking things apart only to put them back together in way cooler, more destructible weapons. He’s crazy smart and unfortunately treated like a little kid by his elder teammates. He’s spunky and awkward, while Alara is your standard mean girl/tough girl who doesn’t trust newbies. She’s pretty much a place filler that will hopefully get fleshed out in later books.

At the heart, Unbreakable revolves around a sort of scavenger hunt as the crew of five look for pieces to an epic weapon that’s meant to solve all their problems. Considering this is the beginning of a series, you can guess that it does not solve their problems and makes thing a whole lot worse (is that a spoiler?). Anyway, the imaginative ways Garcia hides the pieces of her weapon and the ghosts that cross our heroes path are often a little unconventional. It’s a little convenient that all the members remember stories told by their parents or grandparents that lead them to these ghosts, but I enjoyed the ride so much that I didn’t mind hand-waving a little here and there.

But the part that reminded me most of Supernatural were the journals. Each member of the Legion, with the exception of Kennedy, have leather bound journals full of the adventures and advice of their predecessors. Tips of the trade, if you will, and research that allows the characters to not spend all their time hanging out in dusty libraries. It’s very much John’s journal times three. I can only expect some sort of Men of Letters archive somewhere down the road.

This is a really fun book that sets up a fantastical world that’s not too unlike our own. It is swiftly paced and action-packed with a few good swoon moments that builds up to what I can only imagine will be a killer second book. I thoroughly enjoyed every adventure-filled moment of it, and it dampened my summer hiatus Supernatural craving a little bit.

 

I received an advanced copy of this book through the Around the World ARC tours in return for an honest review.