The Unwanted by Z.T. Soyoye (Review)
Rating: 4/5 Link: Amazon
One of the most popular fantasy novels on Wattpad turned into a riveting debut novel for author Z.T. Soyoye. A solid entry into the young adult genre, featuring interesting power sets, complex characters and a break-neck plot that brings you to one set piece to another with no time to breathe in between. It is clear, however, that the novel is intended for a younger audience (think tweens to eighteen year olds), as the speedy pace of the novel leaves a reader with insufficient time to really savour the wonderful world that Z.T. built in the process.
1. A Maturing Protagonist
Alexander Charon is clearly a work in progress, and I love that. He’s not the most confident of protagonists, an air of unease, insecurity and fear drifts about his person and envelops the reader in a sense of pity for him. However, this just means that his character arc is all the more riveting, leaving the reader feeling the same sense of accomplishment once he reaches the peak of his powers at the climax of the novel. Along with a supporting cast of side characters which readers will get attached to throughout the course of the novel, as well as learning about their own distinct powers, Alexander is the perfect young adult protagonist, driving the readers on to support him every step of the way as he unravels not just the mystery of his powers but also the mystique surrounding the main plot of the novel.
2. Deep and Unique Power-Sets
Z.T. has obviously put great thought into the power-sets that should be used in this novel, and it shows. Flavourful descriptions, succinct explanations and written-visual queues really helps place the reader in the shoes of those casting said powers. I’ve always said that a deep magic system is the most difficult concept to explain to the reader but Z.T. nailed it on the head with ‘The Unwanted’. It was easy for me to understand which characters have particular power-sets, the manner in which they work and their associated limitations, all without spoiling the mystery as to how they came about their powers in the first place. It was enjoyable to learn what each character is capable of, from Alexander’s Zero Tempo abilities to Emma’s powerful, yet drastically limited, Reset skills as well as going on the adventure with them as they learn how to not only harness their powers but to also, in the end, have complete mastery over it.
3. Lightspeed pacing
Alas, no novel is perfect and, for all the good in ‘The Unwanted’, there are aspects of it which can be improved upon in future novels. I found the pacing to be lightning quick, so quick in fact that my head was jumping from one set-piece to another, with wildly different descriptions, tones and outcomes that I’ve barely had time to sit down and consider before the next action jammed piece in the sequence began to play before my very eyes. For some readers, this type of pacing will be familiar, particularly with young adult novels that are light on description and heavy on action. It, however, was too fast for me to truly get to know and connect with the characters, their mission, their emotions and the goals they wish to attain.
However, I want to note that this is merely a slight bump in an otherwise smoothly paved road that is ‘The Unwanted’. Overall, I still found the novel riveting, Alexander Charon as the perfect young adult protagonist and a plot that kept me turning pages each and every day I devoted to reading this novel. A perfect fit, with some blemishes, for those looking for a thrilling young adult adventure.