Review: Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Release date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Random House
Series: Yes, #3 in The Lynburn Legacy
Length: 384 pages
A modern, magical twist on the Gothic romance and girl detective genres, the Lynburn Legacy books will appeal to fans of both Beautiful Creatures and the Mortal Instruments series.
Powerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice?
Kami has lost the boy she loves, is tied to a boy she does not, and faces an enemy more powerful than ever before. With Jared missing for months and presumed dead, Kami must rely on her new magical link with Ash for the strength to face the evil spreading through her town.
Rob Lynburn is now the master of Sorry-in-the-Vale, and he demands a death. Kami will use every tool at her disposal to stop him. Together with Rusty, Angela, and Holly, she uncovers a secret that might be the key to saving the town. But with knowledge comes responsibility—and a painful choice. A choice that will risk not only Kami’s life, but also the lives of those she loves most.
As coauthor with Cassandra Clare of the bestselling Bane Chronicles, Sarah Rees Brennan has mastered the art of the page-turner. This final book in the Lynburn Legacy is a wild, entertaining ride from beginning to shocking end.
Sometimes when I read and LOVE a series ender, I like to do a Reasons to Read instead of a full review so as to remain as unspoilery as possible and lure new readers into a series. My goal, of course, is to force you all to know and love and suffer the pain of The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan, because it is all of the things. What are the things? Humor and heartbreak, pain and hope, kissing and killing, light and dark. It's gothic mystery laced with twenty-first century pluck and banter. It's supernatural romance with absolutely gorgeous friendships and parent-kid relationships that wring every ounce of feelswater from those eyeballs. You'll laugh so hard you'll cry, and then you'll cry so hard you'll laugh, and then you'll throw the book because you love it but it hurts you and why.
In case you hadn't noticed... I love this series. Love, love, love, and Unmade made me cry like a little boy and eat an indecent amount of Milano cookies to recover (okay, so most things in life make me eat indecent amounts of Milano cookies).
The linchpin--the main reason why I'll forever be flinging The Lynburn Legacy across rooms and at friends and into peoples' shopping baskets--is our heroine, Kami Glass. KAMI FREAKIN' GLASS, Y'ALL. Brennan is the trope-twisting master. She takes all the elements you'd expect from gothic mystery and paranormal romance and then gleefully flips them upside down. Kami is not a waifish, passive heroine of yore. Kami is driven to be the greatest journalist there ever was. She's both fully confident and utterly unaware of her full awesomeness. She's a quarter Japanese and four quarters amazing.
Related: Untold: A Reading Experience
She's determinedly cheerful, hilariously strange, and always in charge of her own destiny. She's a sparkly unicorn of light and joy and she breaks my heart like no other. Because Kami laughs in the face of danger. She jokes and puns her way out of the very, EVILLY dark situations Brennan tosses her into. But tehre are moments in Unmade that are so dark, so cruel, so UTTERLY VICIOUSLY HORRIBLY HEARTBREAKING, that not even the unsinkable Kami Glass can smile her way out of them. And a sad Kami Glass is the saddest thing in the world.
This series is set in the small Cotswolds town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. There are evil sorcerors and ancient family secrets. It's a gorgeously rendered picturesque town where the more beautiful a thing is, the deadlier it probably is. The Lynburns are the family of note. For hundreds of years, they have lived on high in Aurimere house. They're also, casually, sorcerers. Some of them are nice (ish. Nice ish. Lillian's working on it). Some of them are... less nice. They have this thing about blood and sacrifice and not-valuing-non-Lynburn-lives.
Then there's Jared Lynburn. My baby. He and Kami have a... complex relationship, shall we say? And by complex, I mean they were each other's imaginary friends growing up. They were in each other's heads and could hear each other's voices and their emotions were/are/? linked, and Brennan deals with all the complexities of that gorgeously.
Then there's Angela, Kami's best friend, grouchy, lazy, gorgeous, and my soul sister. Her relationship with Kami is of central importance to the series. There's Angela's equally lazy, fully lovable brother Rusty. There's sunny, lovely Holly, a mess of girl struggling with heaps of insecurity. There's Jon Glass, Kami's father and the greatest human in literature, I'm pretty sure. That is zero percent exaggeration. Jon Glass for Prime Minister. Also President. Possibly God.
|Don't know what this says about me that Jon is my ideal Lynburn dude|
Then there's the feels. Evil dark mistress, Sarah Rees Brennan, grows her garden from our tears. I've never seen an author take such wonderful pleasure in making us care and then punishing us for it. My friend Christina, who recently read and lurved and suffered through this series, kept me updated as she read Unmade, and at one point she gchatted me something along the lines of, "OH NO EVERYTHING IS HAPPY THAT MEANS DOOM APPROACHETH OH GOD I MIGHT VOMIT" (possibly she spoke a bit less capsily and Gilliany, but this was the gist). SRB has high stakes, she pays them off. People die. Awful things happen. Sorry-in-the-Vale becomes very sorry indeed. But there's also love, and friendship, and family, and hot blond boys, and lesbian ships, and ladies doing awesome things, and quips and banter to numb the pain, and excellent make out scenes, and magic, and feels.
Because this series is all of the things.
"Can you believe that we screwed up everything about twice as much in the space of a couple hours?"
"I can. But only because I truly believe in us, the utter depths of our incompetence, and that it must inevitably lead us to our ultimate epic failure."
"Don't waste time blaming yourself when you can spend time planning how to destroy our enemies."
"Can we get that last thing embroidered on a cushion, Aunt Lillian?"
"When they bury me in that crypt, I want "Jared, very inbred, deeply uncomfortable about it' on my tombstone."
It wouldn't cost her anything to be nice.
Holly didn't know about that. She'd felt like being nice cost her something, even if it was just feeling a little bit lesser, every time she smiled without meaning to. Angie was smart and rude, no second thoughts tripping her tongue, able to make anyone be sorry they ever crossed her path and refusing to feel sorry about it.
"I'd make a joke about falling for you," she said. "But that's cheesy and terrible, and I've decided I don't believe in falling. I believe in something else...The opposite of falling. I did not fall. I climbed, to a place high enough that I could see clearly. once I saw, I was certain."
"I am so sad about my underwear," Kami announced, and Ash looked as if he regretted all his life decisions.