Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Unspoken - Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Series: The Lynburn Legacy #1
Genre: YA, fantasy, mystery, romance
Published on September 11, 2012
Published by Random House
Pages: 370
Read From: 10.24.12 - 10.27.12

Kami Glass loves someone she's never met. . . .a boy she's talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn't silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn't suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head. 

But all that changes when the Lynburns return. 
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown - in fact, she's determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? Yes. For some reason, cameo-style silhouettes catch my attention, so needless to say this cover, done all in silhouette (including shiny gold silhouettes!), caught my interest. I don’t even mind the pink color. ;)

Characters: Kami, the protagonist, was a classy girl, which I liked, because classy girl protagonists are so rare. We have protagonists with attitudes, with messed-up backgrounds, and protagonists who are the cliché teen. But rarely do we get girls who have real style. Kami’s sense of humor is also great, and I loved her inquisitiveness. Angela and Holly were both good tag-along characters. Their personalities contrasted nicely with Kami’s and each other’s, though to be honest, after a while they felt more and more like tag-alongs, and less like useful members of the crew. They didn’t do much; Kami did most of the work. They just offered comic relief at times, which we got enough from Kami’s dad, who seriously got old. He didn’t say one shred of dialogue that wasn’t cheesily funny. Ash and Jared were both surprising likable. Ash because he was just a nice guy, and Jared because he had a lot of depth, and even though other people tagged him as a bad boy, Jared just never felt like one. It mostly felt like a persona he adopted to protect his real feelings from other people.

The Romance: Not surprisingly, a love triangle springs up between Ash, Kami, and Jared. I wasn’t rooting for anyone in particular, mostly because I knew that Kami wouldn’t end up with Ash. She doesn’t technically end up with anyone by the end of this book, but I think we can be guaranteed that by the end of the series, Kami and Jared will have made up and become a happy couple. The romance itself could have been worse than it was. It was nice that Kami was the voice of reason between her and Jared, when Jared let his emotions go crazy, but I did roll my eyes excessively when Kami got mad at Jared because she thought he was only in love with her mind. Seriously! She was mad at Jared for actually loving something important about her?! But no; she wanted him to love her for her looks. That’s just . . . Ridiculous.

Plot: There’s a great deal of mystery pervading the story. Everyone is terrified of the Lynburns, but no one will tell Kami anything. Then there’s some weird animal sacrifices going on in the woods, and Kami keeps getting attacked. Exciting, right? A lot does happen, but the story also felt like it dragged, because it spends so much time on Kami and Jared’s relationship, Jared’s emotional swings, and Kami’s wishing that she could get him out of her head, while at the same time loving their connection, and then of course the love triangle with Ash. I wanted to scream several times, Move on already! The revelation of the Lynburn secret actually disappointed me. While it came as a surprise, I thought it was kind of lame; I expected a lot more. I did like the explanation behind Kami and Jared’s telepathic link, though; it worked.

Believability: There were a couple of instances in the story where characters behaved in a way that left me thinking, Seriously? That would not happen. The most notable is with Kami’s mom. Here her mom spends the majority of the book going on and on about how dangerous Jared is, and how Kami must, under no circumstances, involve herself with a Lynburn, and then she leaves Kami alone with Jared in Kami’s room! Yeah, sorry; not buying it.

Writing Style: It was pretty good; lots of nice descriptions and the like. The Author has a gift for witty dialogue; I agree, though, with other Readers who say that she tried too hard with the humor in this one. There were several times that I did laugh - Angela had some really funny dialogue, and I enjoyed Kami’s humor. But with Kami’s dad and Kami’s brothers, the Author just tried way too hard.

Content: 1 g--damn.

Conclusion: I suspect that the sequel is going to spend even more time on character emotions, which I must admit I am not looking forward to. But the climax of this story was properly dramatic and exciting, and almost made up for a lot of the drag in the plot. I liked that several characters were forced to make difficult sacrifices; it either redeemed or destroyed them, depending on the character. As a paranormal-fantasy-mystery-romance, Unspoken isn’t the worst choice you could make for reading material. It has its good moments, but it also has a lot of groan-inducing ones. But it didn’t leave me feeling irritated, so that’s a plus in its favor.

Recommended Audience: Definitely a girl-read, age fifteen and up. Romance Readers who like a dash of mystery and paranormal aspects will enjoy it well enough.

Others in The Lynburn Legacy Series:

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