Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review: Unbreathable by Hafsah Laziaf

Title: Unbreathable (Unbreathable #1)
Author: Hafsah Laziaf
Release date: October 29th 2013
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 238
Source: Author

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.

Unbreathable is a breathtaking debut from Hafsah Laziaf. The writing is so beautiful, so captivating. I was enthralled right from the start. No wonder I devoured it within a few hours! I was totally sucked into this riveting plot, and I didn't want to let go.

Earth is supposedly destroyed, and the remaining human population lives on Jutaire, alongside the native Jute. But they can't breathe the toxic air of Jutaire, and have to rely on permanent oxygen masks. The same goes for Lissa, until she discovers that she can, in fact, breathe the Jute air without being intoxicated. That same day, she discovers that Earth still exists, and her life changes forever, for better or worse. Lissa is different, and she's coveted for it. But though she's lost her father, she's not alone anymore. She meets Julian, an immediate ally. She knows she can trust him, and that she can find answers with him. But what she finds is nothing like what she expects, and once again her life is turned upside down.

I really loved the fact that pretty much every character in this book has more than one side to them. Nothing's simply black and white; there are a lot of gray areas. There is conflict within most of them, and it's fascinating to see their battling sides. And those sides aren't just good and evil - it's not that simple. I see so much complexity in these characters, and I loved getting to really know them.

Lissa is a key example of this. She discovers so much about herself within the span of a few days, and what would normally overwhelm most people just made her more determined. She grows a lot over the course of the novel, and she's definitely stronger - both physically and mentally - by the end. Lissa's compassion for humans and Jute alike is admirable, and so is her love for Julian and Slate.

Julian is perfect! He's kind-hearted, strong, protective, and downright swoon-worthy. I loved every scene with him in it. He's the kind of guy you want to be with forever, you know? He loves Lissa unconditionally, and understands her like no one else. That keen understanding between them surpasses any chemistry they could have with someone else. Lissa and Julian's relationship is truly one of a kind.

There's one more character that really got to me - Rowan. He reminds me of the Warner we see in Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - there's darkness there, but flickers of good, too. I don't want to say Rowan's the antagonist, but he kind of is. Even though there are times where I can empathize with him, and Lissa does too. I really felt for him then, and I know there's potential for the light in him to grow. By the end, I was convinced that he does have a truly good heart, no matter how much its buried in hate and vengeance.

The plot is intense from the beginning, and there's suspense everywhere. Plus, so many twists! Though I found several aspects quite predictable, they didn't hinder my progressing fascination of the book. Action-packed and compelling, Unbreathable is definitely a must-read for all sci-fi fans out there! And even if you're not really into sci-fi, I still think you should definitely try this one, because it's fantastic.

*Thank you to Hafsah Laziaf for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4.5/5


  1. I've been eyeing this book ever since I saw it on the author's blog. You definitely made it sounds like a fantastic read. Great review!

  2. I am so happy for Hafsah and I can't wait to read this one. I am so glad that you enjoyed it and I can't wait to check it out for myself.

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

  3. This sounds like a great premise for a novel and I really like the cover. Awesome review!

  4. I can't wait to read this one, and I'm so excited for Hafsah, who's just the sweetest!! This book sounds amazing, and Julian is definitely a male character I want to know more about. Swoon-worthy, kind-hearted, and protective -- yep, definitely can't wait. Great review!


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