Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
Series: Legion #1
Published by Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: October 1, 2013
Find it here: Goodreads / Amazon / B&N
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. (from Goodreads)
Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
My Thoughts: I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began Unbreakable – I’ll be honest and admit that I haven’t read the wildly popular Beautiful Creatures/Castor Chronicles Series that Author Kami Garcia co-wrote with Author Margaret Stohl, so I went into this book having nothing to compare it to. In truth, I think this paid off well for me and what I found was an engaging story that was action-packed and exciting.
The first thing you need to know is this:
Kennedy mom has just died and
now a ghost is after her.
Wait, what? Let me back up.
The book opens as Kennedy is walking through a creepy graveyard trying to find her cat when she happens upon a ghost – a gal in a white gown, sort of hovering. Completely creeped out, Kennedy goes back home and goes on with life. Later, she goes out with friends to a movie only to come home and find her mother lying lifeless on her bed – with her cat on top of her chest. Strange, right? YES, but there’s a reason for it – no spoilers here! Mom’s death was ruled heart failure and Kennedy is OF COURSE devastated since her father isn’t around and the only relative she has left is an aunt that she isn’t close to. Kennedy makes plans to attend a boarding school in upstate New York and begins packing.
During the night in what is to be her last night at her house, Kennedy wakes up with a strange pressure on her chest. Well, wouldn’t ya know this pressure turns out to be that very same ghost gal from the cemetery How the heck did she know how to find Kennedy? Again, no spoilers here, folks. BUT! Before Kennedy can get another thought in or a breath or even attempt to move beneath the weight of this…thing, some dude busts into the house with a gun! He takes a shot and this ghost-girl scatters into millions of particles and just floats away.
Kennedy is freaked-the-heck out. Um, what just happened here, exactly?
The second thing you need to know is this:
It seems that The Legion has found Kennedy.
The need her plus they’re trying to keep her safe.
Naturally, Kennedy has a ton of question for the not-one-but-TWO guys that have barged into her house in the middle of the night to track down this ghost-girl that has followed her from the cemetery For starters, who the heck are these guys? And how did they know this ghost would be in her house? And what did this ghost even want with her anyway?
The guys are Jared and Lukas Lockhart, two members of The Legion – which is much too complicated to try to explain in-depth here, except to say that they’re the good guys. They are basically ghost-hunters or demon-hunters, or perhaps a combination of the two. They’re part of a group of five – The Legion – and they know all about Kennedy Waters. It’s very interesting, though, that Kennedy Waters doesn’t know a single thing about them.
Before much explaining can be done, however, Kennedy’s house begins to turn on them – see, another supernatural entity is in there – it locks the doors, trying to keep the trio inside and then starts throwing the home appliances and kitchen utensils all over the place. When the kitchen knives start flying through the air, Jared, Lukas, and Kennedy realize they’ll have to break down the door and escape the house – and that’s just what they do. Of course, this means that Kennedy leaves everything she has behind just as the house basically destroys itself.
Okay, well, if the ghost didn’t freak Kennedy out enough, whatever just happened with her house kind of tipped the scales. Somebody better start explaining things to her…and fast. They scramble to their waiting van outside and get outta there, and Kennedy starts learning things. AND WOW.
The third thing you need to know is this:
Kennedy gets to meet the other two members of The Legion.
There are five members in all – she’s already met Jared and Lukas. When they arrive at their destination – a well-hidden warehouse that’s their sort-of base camp – she is able to meet a young boy they call Priest and a beautiful girl named Alara. That makes four, right? The four members are pretty convinced based on several hints and clues that Kennedy is the fifth member – and this is news to her.
The four take their time explaining The Legion: what it is, the history behind it, its importance, etc. to Kennedy and why they think that she absolutely must be the fifth member. Despite the fact that each of their families have spent time preparing them for years for their roles within The Legion (since the job is passed down within families), Kennedy has never once heard her mother mention this before. She feels no connection to this group at all. She has a hard time believing that she can contribute anything to their ultimate goal – which is quite HUGE – and she feels like she has no talents to offer either. But again, before they really get the chance to discuss this much further, their safe place – the warehouse – is attacked by supernatural entities and the group has to flee.
It seems that Kennedy is going to be the fifth member whether she likes it or not, at least for a little while. At least until she can prove that she isn’t, because she still isn’t convinced. Because these four definitely need help with their task. Like I said, it’s pretty doggone HUGE.
Okay, so Unbreakable by Kami Garcia has a ton of stuff packed into it. A TON. There is so much information in there that it’s really hard to share my thoughts with you without just flat-out telling you the story. What I do want to tell you is that I found it highly engaging and fast-paced, and I think it’s definitely an action-driven plot, in my opinion. I also think the characters are extremely likable.
I liked Kennedy from the start – she’s living with her mom and her cat, and life is good. Her dad left years ago for reasons that Kennedy never understood but will always feel are her fault. Kennedy has a strange ability – she has a photographic memory of sorts – she is able to memorize text/drawings down to the finest details in a matter of seconds. Because of this, she’s always had a really easy time in school, but a hard time maintaining friendships and relationships – people have used her for her abilities in order to cheat, etc. This has caused her to be a little bit on the introverted side as the book opens, but this is all tossed to the curbside when she has to leave in a hurry and fight alongside the other four members of the Legion. Kennedy is forced to reach down into herself and find strength and gumption and stuff she never really knew she had just to survive, and I liked watching that about her.
Kennedy is a great female lead in that she is strong and unafraid to do what needs to be done, even when things are scary or tricky. I love that she bonds with these four people that are basically unknown to her because they’re all she has left. I love that she feels a fierce protectiveness for them after such a short time. Even with all of these great things, Kennedy is also flawed and makes mistakes, and this is something that I absolutely love about leading characters – when they aren’t perfect. Kennedy’s imperfections are actually just as important as her strengths as this book progresses and I’m EXTREMELY interested in seeing how this develops her as a character over the series.
The other four members of the legion are likable as cast members as well. I certainly love Priest, the youngest of the group. Known for his ability to turn things into anything usable, he is basically their mechanic, inventor, and engineer of the group. He makes the tools they use to hunt. Such a smart young guy with a snarky little attitude, and a fun character. Great, great cast member. And then there’s Alara – she’s the only other female in the group, so naturally there is the expected tension right away when Kennedy arrives. Alara makes her share of sarcastic comments and has plenty of rude stares, and for this reason it took me a few pages to warm up to her – Kennedy as well, obviously. But Kennedy isn’t weak by a long shot and wasn’t about to let Alara bring her down, so after she not only proved her strength to Alara but also helped her out of a few tight spots, Alara came around and quit being such a snob. I can’t say that she is my favorite of the group yet, but Alara is coming around.
Then there are the brothers – Jared and Lukas. Now, these guys are the supposed love interests of the book from what I can tell, and based on the book trailer (below) they’re identical twins and quite good-looking. It’s clear right away that there is some tension between these two brothers – something has happened in the (recent?) past and one holds it over the other’s head. Kennedy also picks up on this and it’s obvious in the reading that it disturbs her. Jared is the quieter of the two; he’s pensive and kind, often preferring to keep to himself for whatever reason even when the five are gathered together. Lukas seems to be more outgoing – making jokes, that sort of thing. Both of the boys have great skill where fighting is concerned, so they both seem to be on even playing fields within the group. However, there is that thing that is the elephant in the room that comes up so often in the pages – and we don’t find out what it is for quite a while in the reading.
About the romance in this book – you know, I felt like it was kind of complicated and also not. I was fortunate enough to meet this author at a signing for this book and she did mention that there is a love triangle, so I was waiting for it, waiting for it, waiting for it – and I could see the potential. AND as the book progressed, the further into the pages I got, the more I could sense that it was coming. AND…toward the end, I finally felt it flesh out into an active triangle. Sort of. The thing is this: while these two brothers are brothers, and they both are interested in Kennedy, it felt more to me like they were mostly interested in Kennedy like she was the new kid on the block for a long time. It was only at a certain point in the book that an actual romantic thing happened and I could see OH OKAY, THERE IS GOING TO BE AN ACTUAL ROMANCE HERE SOMEWHERE! But even then, it was still a very small portion of the story, in my opinion.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: I felt like the romance in this installment of this book took a backseat to the action of the story, and I think that is pretty great. This is not a kissing book. Love triangle or not, sometimes that’s pretty darn cool. I’m not against love triangles – you guys know that I love them especially with brothers as I’ve made it known here – so it would not have bothered me to see more of a love triangle, but the truth is that I just never felt like the love triangle was really as big a part of the story as it was buzzed to be. That’s not to say it won’t be more of a plot element in the next book because of the way the book ended – but the way things are now, it just didn’t feel very triangle-y to me. Also, like I said, I felt like the romance was second to the action and main story-line of the book. I have yet to see very many other opinions on this book yet so I have no idea if other people feel the same way that I do yet or not – I may be alone in this opinion.
Ultimately, I think Unbreakable was a pretty pleasant surprise. After not knowing what to expect, I found that my heart sped up a few times and I was turning the pages quite fast. I have no idea where the book will go from the ending it has (hello, unexpected!) but I’m anxious to see what happens next for this rag-tag group of young supernatural hunters.
I recommend Unbreakable to fans of young adult paranormal and supernatural stories. I’m not usually a huge fans of books with demon-ish threads in them, but I did find that I liked this one and will be continuing the series when Unmarked comes out!
Unbreakable will appeal to fans of:
Romance: Love triangle, but it didn’t feel very strong
as a plot line vs the other plot lines.
(This may change in future installments!)
Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
is currently available for purchase.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher to read and share my thoughts on this blog. All of the above thoughts and opinions are mine, mine, mine! Thank you so much Little, Brown BYR!
Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, LA Times, Wall Street Journal,Indiebound & international bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures Series (BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS, BEAUTIFUL CHAOS & BEAUTIFUL REDEMPTION) — and the author of UNBREAKABLE, the first book in The Legion Series, releasing on October 1, 2013 (from Little, Brown).
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