Saturday, November 2, 2013

YA Book Review: Uniquely Unwelcome by Brandy Nacole


Uniquely Unwelcome (The Shadow World, #1)This year I'm playing along with an A-Z Book Title challenge on Goodreads.  Today's review is for my U book, Uniquely Unwelcome. Unlike many of the books I review, I actually bought this one.  I've been following the author, Brandy Nacole, on Facebook for some time, and finally picked up a copy of one of her books.

As for the A-Z challenge, I'm getting close.  I plan to post my final A-Z reading list with links to my reviews when I finish the challenge.

Uniquely Unwelcome by Brandy Nacole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Uniquely Unwelcome takes the werewolf, vampire, shifter, witch thing to a new level. The story opens with Racquel returning to her hometown, and dreading it. From her earliest memories, she has faced ridicule and fear, a side effect of her mixed heritage. Mixing of the shadow world races is discouraged, and in some cases dangerous or impossible, but her family found a way. With years of trauma to deal with, the last thing she wants is to be noticed when she arrives in town, but she is.

This is ya at its finest. The various shadow world races are interesting and well-defined, especially with how they shouldn't be able to be mixed. Besides the four main races, there is also mention of leprechauns and fairies, and we actually get to meet the fairy queen.

It's fantastic seeing how the four main races mingle in Racquel's veins. As part vampire, she occasionally needs blood, especially after an injury or strenuous fight. As part shifter, she can turn into an eagle. As part werewolf, she's stronger than she should be and heals quickly. As part witch, she can use magic. But, and here is where it's interesting, she has had almost no guidance on how to deal with any of this. Instead of accepting her, each of these races has not only snubbed her, but also in some cases attacked, humiliated or harrassed her. She's one against them all, which makes it awkward when people from the different races start going missing and they need to call on her to help track them down. She agrees to help, but only because her sister, Addie, is one of those missing. She and a growing team of young people recruited from the various races take up a world tour to visit the main colonies of each race.

Also, as is common in ya, there is a bit of romance, but it is affected by racial stigmas and incompatibilities. We see the love blooming, but we know that the couple(s) will be shunned and any children of theirs would face the same kind of painful existance as Racquel. Makes it hard to know whether to hope they make it or to hope they don't. Of course, I'm always voting for love. I enjoy the way the romance is developed in this story.

Another thing I liked was that Racquel begins to gain acceptance and learn more about herself. This personal growth makes her relatable and gives hope for her future. She's a strong person, too. I love reading about strong female characters, so this was a plus for me.

The only thing I thought was a bit off was how easily and how quickly Racquel was convinced to help the four races. Sure, her sister was taken, but that was really the only explanation. It takes a single conversation to convince her to drop everything and instantly pack her bags to go face the main camps for each of the races who despise her. I don't know if I'd be so easily convinced, especially if I had no previous positive reinforcement and little confidence in my own self-worth, as Racquel seems to have. But, after that odd start, the story picks up and everthing flows well.

Overall, I really liked this story. It's a bit of a ya cliche at times with all the various magical races, but the way they are used and presented in the story is believable and interesting. The romanctic themes are well developed and seem doomed to failure, but I felt a connection and hoped along with them that things would turn out alright.

I would highly recommend this story to fans of YA literature, especially those who like the werewolf, vampire, shifter, or witch type stories; you get all four in Uniquely Unwelcome. I look forward to the next story in the series.


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