Book Review: Unwanted by Amanda Holohan

Book Review: Unwanted by Amanda HolohanUnwanted by Amanda Holohan
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Published on January 28th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Dystopian, Girls & Women, New Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Penguin Random House Australia
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2 Stars

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 received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Once upon a time there was a badass warrior who had been trained her whole life to protect her walled city from outside invaders.


She passed her test and was about to graduate when she did something really really stupid that caught the attention of the rebels. Or course, this made her super special, and now she was the rebels’ only hope to spy on the bad guys.

star wars only hope

Despite being a badass warrior, we never really get to see her in action.


Instead, she spends the entire novel running around after her pregnant sister, and trying to cover up her crimes against humanity.


She is captured by the rebels who blackmail her into helping them. They need her to spy on the evil overlords so they can blow up a communications tower, because that’ll free everyone, somehow.



Unfortunately, there are a few plot holes in the book.

Imagine if, in Star Wars, the rebel alliance was led by Princess Leia who knew she was Darth Vader’s daughter, and was already a Sith Lord.

star wars no ideaSure, you don’t.

What the hell would the rebellion be for? Why would there even be a rebellion? The world works as it is, and if Leia fought against it, she’d be worse off.

I have no idea why the rebels are fighting for human freedom. It doesn’t make any sense.

tumblr_mt6jqzDviG1qhd8sao3_500tumblr_mt6jqzDviG1qhd8sao2_500I don’t know, anime dude. I just don’t know.

For some reason, when Bea is finally exposed, the bad guys bring her to their most vulnerable location for no fucking reason:

star wars goes to rebel base

But instead of realising like any normal person that it was a trap, or instead of the bad guy realising he’s just brought a bomb into the most vulnerable position, he monologues at her, giving her the perfect moment to complete her task.

star wars its a trap

A few more inconsistencies/logical fails:

  • What the hell is ‘dead ink’? Is the erebii inside dead, too?
  • If ink dies when the evil overlord no longer trusts that person, why not simply murder that person rather than let them walk around with dead ink?
  • Why wait until the humans are fully trained warriors? Why not fully ink them as babies?
  • Why are mothers so casually discarded? Healthy mothers can produce more babies. Babies take time to grow up and produce their own babies. You can produce ten+ babies in the time it takes one to grow up and produce their own.

Plot holes and inconsistencies litter this book. I feel like it’s such a great, original story, but all the wrinkles haven’t been ironed out. It’s a big concept and I feel like the author doesn’t quite have a grasp on everything.

Also, there was no romance. Don’t be fooled by other reviewers saying there is, or that there’s even a love triangle. The truth is that Bea and Red have the beginning of something, and Bea loves Gus like a brother, even if he maybe wants more from her but sleeps with some other girl instead. When Bea says “I love you” she clearly means it platonically. That’s why a lot of reviewers think it’s strange. She doesn’t mean it romantically.

giphyNo need dude, no need.

The reason for this is that we are stuck outside Bea’s head and absolutely never get how she feels about any situation. She’s an emotionless robot. Sure,s he cares for her sisters, and she has a bright, loyal, brave personality, but she doesn’t have any emotions. She feels nothing.

Also, we never see her being a badass warrior. We’re told she’s wonderful, other characters tell her she’s the best of the lot, and we never see what we’re told.


10+ points for originality. And extra 5 points for clear writing. Negative 5 for clumsy worldbuilding, another negative 5 for massive plot holes and inconsistencies, and another 5 for writing a heroine we can’t connect to because her emotions are never explored.

I enjoyed reading most of the book until the plot holes reared their head. Ultimately I was disappointed.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Unwanted by Amanda Holohan

    1. Nemo

      It was really promising to begin with, and it’s a really original world and concept, but it just didn’t work in the end. I feel like the concept was too big for the author to satisfactorily wrap up all the loose ends.

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