Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Review: Unbreathable by Hafsah Lazaif (ARC)

Unbreathable by Hafsah Lazaif
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 29th, 2013
One hundred and fifty years ago, Earth was destroyed, and the remaining humans fled to the dusty red planet of Jutaire, where the only oxygen is manufactured, food is scarce, and death strikes often.

When Lissa's father discovers Earth still exists, she accidentally inhales the toxic air of Jutaire, and in one breath, discovers she isn't quite human.

Her father hangs for his discovery, and Lissa knows the Chancellors will come for her, for she saw the Earth that night too. With nothing to lose, she sets out to expose the truth. It isn't long before she meets Julian, a beautiful boy who can breathe the toxic air like she can - and shows her that the Jute, the original inhabitants of the planet, are more tangled in their lives than she knows.

But the Chancellors are only pawns in a greater game - one where the Jute control everything. Worse, the Jute plan to leave Jutaire for Earth, but to get there, they need her. And they'll stop at nothing until Lissa is in their clutches, even if they kill every human in the process.

The race for Earth has begun.

Unbreathable is a tale of love, redemption, and sacrifice, and one girl's struggle to find her place in a world where she doesn't belong.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. This did not affect my thoughts in any way, nor was I compensated for the review. Thank you, Hafsah!

I really wanted to love this book, and I had very high expectations. I kept hearing bloggers gush about how great it is. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the book before the release. I fully intended (and had time to) read and review this around the time of release. Then the release date passed, and I just wanted to get a review of it out around mid-November. That clearly didn't happen for multiple reasons. And then I started reading other books, completely forgetting to finish the book. And I didn't really feel guilty about it, to be honest.

There was so much potential for a great story here. I still love the concept of the story, but I just think it was poorly executed. Before I go any further, I want to clarify that I DNF'd it, but I was 75% through and mostly just DNF'd it because so much time had passed, and I didn't have a huge pull to finish reading the book. But I'm still going to rate it because I think I read enough to get a good sense of the book.

Firstly, I found the world building to be pretty lacking. It was hard for me to picture a lot, and I felt like when there was some, it didn't make up for the rest of it. I know for some people, there was enough of world building, but with such a cool premise and setting, I was expecting more. (I know there was an updated version of the ARC, and I believe this was something that was changed, so this may not be true anymore!)

Secondly, the characters felt pretty flat to me, at least for the most part. Sure, there were times when they came out a bit, but. I didn't feel any connection to Lissa, nor did I particularly care for Julian and Rowen. Actually, I did sort of care about Julian but not much, just more than the others. I felt that for the most part, the plot motivated and moved the characters and not the other way around. It felt like the characters were shaped around the action, which made me feel a major disconnect.

On a similar front, the romance didn't appeal to me at all. I think it was trying to be a good love triangle, but it fell so flat. I think Lissa and Julian could have been fine if their relationship had the time and room to develop more. But there's still the insta-love thing going on with the two of them. I didn't feel their attraction at all. It seemed more like a "well I'm stuck here with you now, and this is the obvious romance" type of romance. And Lissa with Rowen was even weirder. *shudder* It was just...weird. It felt so awkward and so one sided, and Rowen's advances would have me waving red flags and calling 911.

Then there was the problem with pacing. It felt so slow and dragged out in the beginning, and I began to feel bogged down by everything. I didn't feel the need or urge to continue reading, which is part of the reason why I ultimately, after probably at least a month and a half, decided to leave it at 75%. Maybe one day I'll go back and read the revised version all the way to the end.

All in all, this book sadly disappointed me more than I would have liked, especially since the author is a blogger that I look up to. I think that perhaps if I had read the revised version it may have been slightly better. But don't let my review reflect the book too much. Many others have posted their reviews of the book, and they've loved it. The premise still interests me, but I just think it wasn't correctly written. I'd love to read more of the author's work in the future.

Unbreathable: Amazon | Goodreads
Hafsah Lazaif (Icey Books): Goodreads | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest


  1. oh, this is sad. I haven't read this book and to be honest I'm scared to. I don't know if I could go into it without preconceived notions. I've seen hit or miss reviews for it and from what I've read I'm not sure it would be for me. I need to connect to the characters. Sorry this didn't work for you :-(

    1. Yeah, I know a lot of people loved it, but as much as I wanted to, I just couldn't. If you ever decide to read it, I hope you'll like it more than I did. But yes, characters are a huge aspect of books, and it prevented me from enjoying the book more. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. Yikes! This book looks so fantastic especially the cover which is one of the prettiest covers I've seen. Sorry to hear you didn't like it. :(

    1. I was hoping it'd be amazing, especially after hearing great things about it. Yeah :/ But many loved it so I guess it depends on who you are. :)

  3. Aw, that's sad. I actually liked this one, but I totally understand (and kind of agree with) your points. I felt the characters were a bit one-dimensional. I wanted to love them, but I struggled to connect on ANY level with Lissie (plus I can remember if her name is Lissa or Lissie...which I feel terrible about. >.<) I did like Julius, though. My StS!

    1. OMG, I'm mortified. I just accidentally added my stacking the shelves link to that. >.< Totally ignore it, okay! I've been reading waaay too many sts posts tonight and my brain is fried. It's not some weirdo promo from me. *slinks away embarrassed*

    2. I think that if I had pushed through the last 25%, I might have felt a bit better about the book, but yeah, I'm sad it just didn't work for me. Exactly. All the characters felt flat and a bit dull. Yeah! Julian was one of the characters I could have rooted for.

      Hehe. No worries! I know you weren't just trying to get me to read your STS post. (But I'll check it out anyway.)


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