Unwanted by Amanda Holohan Review: Unique but slow dystopian

March 4, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 3 stars, Books, Reviews

Unwanted by Amanda Holohan Review: Unique but slow dystopianUnwanted by Amanda Holohan
Published by Penguin Australia on January 28, 2015
Source: Publisher
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Book Depository | Publisher
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All her life, eighteen-year-old Bea has wanted nothing more than to become a sniper on the wall and earn the coveted ink of a Dread warrior - a mark of distinction among her people.

She knows that one day the terrifying Erebii might break through the city's outer defences, and if her people aren't prepared and the wall is breached then the last human city will fall.

But everything Bea thinks she knows is about to be challenged...

What does the ink really do as it flows underneath their skin and who is the mysterious Unwanted boy that keeps appearing in her life?

I really wanted to like Unwanted, as a dystopian by an Australian author, and while it had some unique elements to it, I couldn’t quite get into it.

I’m always gunning for a unique dystopian that isn’t like The Hunger Games or Divergent, and Unwanted definitely delivered in that respect. From the sinister Erebii monsters with yellow eyes, to a crow’s eye embedded into Bea’s hand (it’s as gross as it sounds), to unique tattoos that move, I was intrigued with the world. People are divided into Dreads, who guard the walls of the city and train as warriors, and Storks, who are surrogate mothers for the city. The world building was definitely my favourite part of the book.

Unfortunately, I found it difficult to connect to Bea or the characters around her. While she’s a strong, purposeful warrior who wants to save her sisters and purge the crow’s eye from her hand, she lacked emotion and her point of view was quite bland. She’s a sniper for the city and everyone keeps on saying how she’ll earn full Dread warrior status, but I was disappointed from the lack of warrior training or action that happens in the book.

There’s supposed to be some sort of love triangle between Bea, the Unwanted Red who offers to help and her childhood friend and fellow Dread warrior, Gus. But with barely any romantic thought or development between either of these guys, I was incredibly surprised when she suddenly blurts out “I love you” with barely any setup. I did feel she developed more of a connection with the other guy too, so I was taken aback when it happened.

While the writing was solid, I struggled with the slow pacing throughout the book. It’s a rather descriptive book, focusing on Bea’s surroundings a lot which I had to skip through at times. There isn’t really a distinct plot, rather a story that unfolds as Bea learns more from Red about the city, which may have contributed to the slowness as well. It does speed up towards the last 50 pages or so where the city’s mysteries unfold.


Unwanted is an unique dystopian with it’s moving tattoos, Erebii and embedded eye in the hand, but it was difficult to stay interested throughout due to its slow pacing and execution. Although I liked the world and the setting, I found it lacked emotion and the character was difficult to connect to. It’s hard to come up with a dystopian that hasn’t been done before these days though, so kudos to the author for doing so!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thank you to Penguin Random House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! 

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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22 responses to “Unwanted by Amanda Holohan Review: Unique but slow dystopian

  1. Behind the Pages

    Oh, I've still got to read this one. But I'm still going to because I'm curious about all the Crow eye, weird things etc. I'm assuming that it is very descriptive because Bea wants to be a sniper (I'm assuming sniper means the same as it does now), and how she would need to take in her surroundings etc? Just a guess, but I'm going to have to read and find out. Great review x
    My recent post Review: Before the Fire by Sarah Butler

  2. Moving tattos an embedded eye in the hand?? Ohhhhhhhhh…​I kinda like the sound of that! But I can't love a story if I can't connect to the characters and I need emotion! And you are so right, it's hard to make a dystopian original b/c it's been done so many times, although some of the elements to the story seem really awesome! 😉
    My recent post Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

  3. karawrites15

    Ah, that's a bit of the shame. I think I will read this, though–I actually don't mind it when things are a little slow, so I think I will be okay with that, and the plot sounds fantastic. Hopefully I'll be able to connect with the characters–that's the sticking point. I think as readers if we don't like / connect with the characters then we're not going to enjoy the book as much.
    My recent post Book Review: Disruption / Corruption by Jessica Shirvington

  4. Liza @ Reading with ABC

    Sorry it didn't click with you. It does sound quite unique though 🙂

  5. Braine-Talk Supe

    How long did it take you to finish this? It would probably take me a week otherwise I woll DNF it. Slow paced fantasy just doesn't go well together

    • Yeah, I think some of these slower paced books are dragging me down recently. Need to pick up some me reads I think. Thanks Nick!

  6. Synopsis and your description of dystopian world in this book suggest that this novel would be an action-packed one. I am sorry to hear it was not the case.
    Also not enough of romantic development before " I love you"s is not very appealing to me.
    Great review, Jeann!
    My recent post BLURB LOVE #1