Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

I received this book for free from Random Buzzers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees BrennanUnspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Series: The Lynburn Legacy #1
Published by Random House BFYR on September 11, 2012
Genres: Gothic, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 370
Format: ARC
Source: Random Buzzers
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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?

Meg (Cuddlebuggery) and Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) have been after me to read Unspoken for months now. I just wasn’t sure though. I mean, I trust them, but for some reason I was highly skeptical of this book. However, I decided to go ahead and read it during my vacation, because why not? Plus, I had the ancient ARC on my shelves from back when it first came out and better late than never, right? Thankfully, Unspoken wasn’t what I expected at all. Unfortunately, I don’t have book two with me and I can’t find out what happens next for at least two weeks and probably more. Curses.

Paranormal romance novels, more than some other genres, seem to follow a particular formula really strongly and that, I think, was what I expected. Sarah Rees Brennan is clearly well-acquainted with that formula, but she’s playing with it rather than repeating it by rote. For example, on the surface, there’s a love triangle with the good guy and the bad boy, but it’s not really that cut and dried when you get into it. The relationship dynamics aren’t simple and there’s no instalove anywhere.

Then there’s Kami, who I have to describe as plucky, determined and reckless. Kami’s highly intelligent and driven. She wants to be an investigative journalist and is starting the school paper. There’s no mystery she doesn’t want to research and solve. As such, she’s highly curious about the Lynburns, who have returned to Sorry-on-the-Vale after many years away. No one will tell her anything, though, so she’s going to have to interrogate the Lynburn boys, Ash and Jared, both incredibly hot. Poor girl. In pursuit of truth, however, Kami can be really reckless. She considers danger worth the price of a good story and sometimes I’m like:

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Still, I think Kami’s great. She’s very much herself, even when she’s making some terrible decisions. In fact, the cast is pretty great all around, though I’m not a hundred percent certain how I feel yet about Ash or Jared. I have a feeling that will come. From that, you can probably surmise that I’m not completely set on a ship for Kami yet, and you would be right. Obviously I know what the ship will be and I think it’s probably the right ship, but my heart has yet to fully buy into it.

On the other hand, I do love Kami’s connection to Jared, who heretofore was her imaginary friend. Suddenly he’s there in the flesh. This is where I mean the book is much more complex than anticipated. I think this would be used by most authors as a way to jumpstart a really cheesy romantic love. Not so Sarah Rees Brennan. Actually, both Kami and Jared are a little bit disappointed to learn that their imaginary friends are real. It complicates things, because it’s a lot easier to trust in someone who cannot tell your secrets. Sorting out what they are to one another isn’t a simple task

My favorite character by far is Angela, Kami’s best friend. Again, she seems like a cliché for about three seconds until you get to know her. I mean, she is the most beautiful girl in town, a fact which Kami does envy a bit. However, Angela’s not the typical best friend stereotype by a long shot. She’s lazy and violent, in that order. Angela hates people and is my spirit animal. She spends as much of her time napping as possible. When roused however, she will kick whatever asses need it most. Also, my ship for her didn’t seem like it would come true and then it DID, so YAY.

The plot itself was, at times, a bit predictable or meandering. It wasn’t my favorite element of the book. The reveal of who the evil doers were wasn’t the shock that it could have been. However, the ending itself was surprisingly dark and I think the scariness could be ratcheted up in later installments. Brennan does seem like she might be willing to do some truly nasty things to her characters, which excites me, for I am a cruel reader. That ending gives me much hope for what is to come, even if I think it’s a paranormal trope. Whatever, I must know.

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Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan has all of the banter. It’s a case study on banter. At times it’s pretty close to laugh out loud funny. That alone will keep me coming back for more. Expect to immediately need book two when you finish this one. I feel such pain not having it.

Favorite Quote:

“You forget one small detail,” she said. “I kind of hate people.”

A real laugh was surprised out of Kami and Holly both—a laugh that started out a little wild, but ended up making Kami think that only having each other might work out.

“No, you don’t,” Holly said.

“I really do,” said Angela, and Kami laughed again as Angela continued. “Have you met people? They’re really annoying.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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9 responses to “Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan”

  1. Lesley says:

    Hm, your review actually reminded me why I liked this book! I recently got my hands on books two and three at an event, but I was put off because I genuinely couldn’t remember the first one very well! Have to give them a read now!
    Lesley recently posted…Summer SnapshotsMy Profile

  2. I own this book, a Christmas gift a couple years back. I’ve not read it yet. It never seems like I have enough time to read the books I own, just the books I request. Maybe I will read it later on this year. I had no idea it was part of a trilogy. Great review.
    Gina@My Precious recently posted…Book Reviews: Percy Jackson’s Greek GodsMy Profile

  3. I’ve heard great things about Unspoken, but I’ve always been hesitant to read it as well. I’ve heard the ending is sort of sad, which is also making me hesitant. I should look into it though. I love the cover!
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Review: How to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa DareMy Profile

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I’m so relieved that you liked this! I mean, I thought this book was HILARIOUS, and I super love Kami and Angela’s friendship and the way the supernatural connection between Jared and Kami was dealt with. I didn’t love Unspoken quite as much, but I think that’s simply because I was so excited for it. It’s definitely darker, and I still can’t wait for the next one!
    Elizabeth recently posted…A Day in the Life (22)My Profile

  5. Nori says:

    It was my favorite book of 2012. I just fell in love with the banter. And I adore Kami and her best friend.

    But if you thought this ending was harsh….Brennan is a master of cliffhangers.

    I’m glad you didn’t hate it!
    Nori recently posted…Afterworlds by Scott WesterfeldMy Profile

  6. Meg says:

    YESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYESYES

    SO GLAD YOU ENJOYED IT

  7. I have the whole series and I’ve yet to pick up the first one. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Read Play Blog (1) – Preferred Gaming PlatformMy Profile

  8. I keep thinking about giving this a try, mostly because I read a few short stories by this author recently and loved them. I really want to try one of her novels, this might be a good place to start.
    The Avid Reader recently posted…Book Review: How To Be a Good Wife by Emma ChapmanMy Profile

  9. I’m so glad you liked this!!! I found it at the library last year and was entranced by the cover. Plus it sounded dark and magical. I didn’t expect the banter and humor, and that was the best part! Kami is so funny. I love all the characters and I hope you finally got your hands on book 2!! I’m in the middle of book 3 right now.
    Morgan @ Gone with the Words recently posted…Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowanMy Profile

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