Review: Unbreathable by Hafsah Laziaf

Unbreathable - Hafsah Laziaf

A copy of this novel was provided by the author as part of a giveaway.


I have some conflicting feelings towards Unbreathable. So I am kind of going to break this review into two parts, which I have never done before.


On the one hand, I did really enjoy it. I like Laziaf’s writing style; the way it is understated, and smooth. It engaged me from the moment I started reading. I loved Lissa’s character voice, and the way she saw and thought about things.


I adored the descriptions and explanations of Jutaire, the Jute, and the human settlement. The world building was excellent in regards to these aspects. I can see the White Plains so clearly in my head, as well as the rows of houses amongst the red dust of the human settlement. This scene setting was amazing.


The surprises were ample, and placed evenly throughout the book. We weren’t bombarded with surprises in one chapter, but they were quite heavy throughout the book. But they were interesting and captivating, and personally, I enjoyed every single one of them.


The boys. I liked them enough. Of course, I preferred Rowan. I felt like his character had more depth, and that he was more driven and motivated in regards to what he wanted. The description of Rowan’s clothing was one of my favourite aspects of Unbreathable. I loved knowing what he was wearing at every moment – midnight blue, sky blue. The outfits sounded very pretty, and extremely handsome.


The plot itself was good. I liked the focus on Jutaire, and Earth as habitable planets; Earth more so. I cannot tell too much regarding the plot, because then I would be ruining heaps of things. But I liked it.


And now, the things I didn’t like so much.


Character development. In regards to Lissa, there was SO much room for character development. She discovers all these new and crazy things about herself, but I think she accepts them too easily. I would have preferred for the plot to move more slowly, and for Lissa to take her time adjusting to this new information about who and what she really is. The development of her character was a little lackluster.


The love triangle. This part of Unbreathable kind of pained me. Like I said previously, Rowan was my preferred love interest. Julian is the other one. I didn’t understand Julian’s character all that well. I think he was also missing some character development, and some explanation of the kind of guy he is, and why he does the things he does. The love between Julian and Lissa progresses far too quickly for my liking. Again, if had been slowed down a little, it would have been better.


In regards to the love triangle, I really disliked Lissa’s attitude. Yes, the whole point of a love triangle is that the girl loves both of the boys. But with this one, it was so extraordinarily obvious who Lissa was going to choose. And yes. I know Rowan does a lot of bad things, but I couldn’t stand the way Lissa treated him. It made me dislike her as a character, which always impedes upon the enjoyment of a novel; disliking the main character.


It was these things that reduced my four star love of Unbreathable to the three star rating at the beginning of the review. For me, when I am able to talk about things I liked, and things I wish could have been improved, it means that I invested myself emotionally in the story. I was highly invested in the story of Unbreathable, which is why I wanted the things that I wasn’t fond of to be a little better.


That being said, I did enjoy Unbreathable, and I can’t wait to read the next instalment in the series.


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