ARC Review: Unbind
Author: Via Won
Date Published: Published December 21st 2020
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Not every monster lurks in the night. Sometimes they are hiding deep within us. Levi Ambrosia is hopelessly in love with his childhood friend, Maya, and is almost ready to start a journey through his unrequited love when a plague breaks out in Ivywood, turning people into flesh-eating mutants, but that’s not the worst of it. In a town gone mad, Levi is pushed to the edge, and the inexplicable event has triggered something in him—something purely evil—trapping him between light and unending darkness. Lost between his inner demons and love, Levi must figure out what truly matters in a world standing on the brink of disaster.
This book is a dark fantasy involving some mad scientists, an anti-hero with some unfortunate history, and an unrequited love romance.
The story follows Levi, a boy who can’t remember much of his past who is in love with his foster sister, Maya. Levi struggles with his love for her, as they are a family and he doesn’t want to ruin anything, so he tried to keep his feeling in check by avoiding her. Suffice to say, this doesn’t work out well. One day a terrible outbreak occurs and suddenly people (seemingly at random) are turning into mutant monsters.
Levi is one of these unfortunate souls who turns, however, he is different from the rest of them are can turn back to mostly human. The story follows him as he struggles with his mutant self, having to lose parts of his humanity to survive. All the while his love for Maya remains strong. Watching their budding romance and unsure feelings were reminiscent of teenage years and were very sweet to read. The pair were so unsure of each other they were always being careful, but they really showed their feeling by how kind and sweet they were to one another.
Throughout the story, Levi grappled with how imperfect he was, and he how felt inadequate and not worthy. This was shown very well and hits on an important point, that no one is perfect and no matter what, this line of thinking is always wrong and that you are worthy. This was a great aspect of the story and a great theme to focus on.
I loved the snippets of history that we were given. Firstly, the start showed us how this all started years ago and the scene had me hooked immediately. I was very curious as to what happened and what the consequences would be. It gave us context for the rest of the story whilst also enticing me to find out more. Then the ending snippet of history was wonderful. I loved seeing how everything started and learning more about our main character and what events led him to this point. It was the point where everything finally made sense and I always love that moment.
I also loved that there were chapter headings, I love having that little hint to what the chapter will be about. There was also a little note at each chapter with some details or feelings about the main characters, - which were clearly very well thought through and linked with the chapters. It was a great addition to the book, and I looked forward to seeing what would be in the next chapter!
I had wanted more action but what was there was interesting and kept me reading, and this could be a more personal preference as I wanted more detail when it got to the science/ madness that has started it all. I also felt that the ending confrontation didn’t last very long and was a bit too easy to fix - after all this time it took minutes of conversation. It wasn’t too abrupt but a bit quicker than I would have liked, especially for a finale.
The epilogue was great, as I always like seeing where the characters are after some time. This was a great contribution to the story and felt like a good ending.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, it was an easy read with easy to follow writing. The main character certainly wasn’t a classic hero - which was nice for a change - but rather he had a lot of darkness. His relationship with maya was interesting but at times a bit repetitive but it did flow in a way that made sense. The book was concise but obviously well thought out and had a timeline that was easy to follow. The story had some interesting twists and thankfully the book didn’t waste much time getting to the heart of the dark fantasy part. It wasn’t what a had expected, as it has a distinct dystopian/ apocalypse feel but it was an enjoyable read.
Rating: 3 Stars