Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Unspoken: The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan

Review: Unspoken: The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan
Rating: ★★★★ 

 Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.

Disclaimer: I will read anything set in a tiny English town with sheep and manor houses, particularly ones with nefarious secrets in the Cotswolds. PARTICULARLY when they have such delightful names as Sorry-in-the-Vale.

But this book ended up being so much more than that. It both took me by surprise and took my breath away.

Kami is a delight. Funny and determined and totally eccentric. I loved all the characters, especially Angela. She’s the cranky yin to Kami’s yang and they have a great dynamic. The dialogue in this book has a wonderful, witty clip to it, and is very British and fun. It can turn heartfelt and intense at the drop of a hat. The switches in tone never feel off-putting, but right.

The relationship between Kami and Jared- aka the voice in her head- is very unusual. I couldn’t quite get a grasp on it in the beginning. And then, and then! Things happen I won’t spoil, but I squealed and gasped and said out loud, “NO.” Jared is complicated and moody, and you really get to know him more than the usual male in a female-centric YA. I loved their reading-minds dynamic. It vacillates from funny to dark to agonizing to desperate.

The mystery is so wonderfully creepy. The Gothic feel of an old, dangerous house, a family filled with dark secrets and danger. Old town legends and horrifically scary mythology. It’s all done so well. I wouldn’t dare ruin a bit of it, because the slow journey of discovering the truth is the best part of Unspoken. I spent the whole middle part of this book thinking WHAT IS GOING ON?!

And then the twists happen. One hit me so hard in the gut I felt sick. The mystery just gets thicker and thicker. The relationships get more profound, the villains more arcane. And things get so flipping creepy. This was a perfect pre-Halloween read.

Answers come at just the right time. In a book with a complex central mystery like this, the balance of suspense is difficult. You want to string the reader along, but not without little morsels along the way. In Unspoken, Brennan takes you to the very edge of where you can go with little to no actual facts. And in this case, the truth is far more exciting than what you imagined. It actually elicited a loud, audible gasp from me. And the end is devastating in a way that is truly earned.

The way this book transforms is wonderful. It starts out funny and intriguing. Then it slowly turns mysterious, with threats of danger and moments of unease. And then it falls off a cliff and you’re left with terror, agony, and so much feeling. I loved every second of it.

My quibbles are so minor they’re not really worth articulating, but I will articulate them nonetheless. The American dialogue of Ash and Jared feels about as British as everybody else’s. That’s pretty much about it. Seriously, I just wrote that so I’d have something negative to say, and to pretend I’m actually a discerning reviewer who did not just gobble this book up in one sitting.

When does the next one come out??


  1. OMG! I got this book as a gift and didnt know if i wanted to read this or not. Because I don't know how interesting I find English villages, lol different opinion! BUT your review made it sound so awesome that I will read it. It love funny books wtih good love interests!

  2. I'm really excited to read this one. Sarah Rees Brennan is great!

  3. I really want to read this. It just sounds so wonderful.


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