Before we start let me state the obvious- this has got to be one of the most beautiful book covers I have seen this year! and we are talking about Fantasy where gorgeous covers have almost become a necessary requirement.
This is one of those books I never wanted to end. The story was riveting, the world was fully-developed without stifling your ability to see it in your own unique way, and the characters...well. they just jumped off the page and took on a life of their own.
16-year-old Beatrix Alba lost her mother when she was seven. She is devoted to her wonderful grandfather who is teaching her how to control the magic that lives inside her. When he passes away, Beatrix is devastated. All that is left of him is a mysterious box with a few objects and an enigmatic letter from her Mum. Beatrix doesn't get on with her father and is also severely bullied at school. Her only solace is her books that whisper to her, give her advice and comfort her. Her grandfather's spell that kept Beatrix's magic hidden from everybody starts going wrong and she finds herself discovered by three very unusual characters who encourage her step into a different world. Zweeshen is the universe of stories and characters that live their immortal lives there, governed by their genre guilds and their rather strict laws and regulations. While Beatrix is hunting for clues that would help her solve the riddle of her mother's letter and enable her to find her far-away land, Zweeshen is under a mortal threat and (you guessed it) has to be saved by our young and selfless heroine who is still figuring out who she is and what her real powers are.
The beginning of the book reminded me a bit of the black-and-white part of The Wizard of Oz. It was so clear that Beatrix didn't belong there. Everything was somehow subdued. Then the magic broke in and from that moment on I just couldn't put the book down. Zweeshen was such a fascinating place to discover, and I was really grateful to the author who let me gradually build up my knowledge of this biblio-multiverse. I felt as if I was discovering it together with Beatrix.
One of Beatrix's comments that made me smile was how main characters as a rules seemed too pretty, too perfect, impossible to measure up. Well, they aren't in this book. They have their unique personalitites and their own flaws and weaknesses that make them well-rounded and even more fascinating. It is difficult not to empathise or even fall in love with some of them, and be suspicious of others. They also grow and change as the story progresses and some of the developments will take you aback.
Imaginative, enchanting, beautifully written, Unwritten will take you on a unique adventure, and, once you've turned the last page, you'll join me in waiting impatiently for the second book in the Zweeshen Chronicles.
Thank you to Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours, the publisher and the author for the review copy, provided in exchange for an honest opinion.