Monday, September 10, 2012

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan


Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met - a boy the rest of the world is convinced is imaginary. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she doesn't complain. She runs the school newspaper and keeps to herself for the most part - until disturbing events begin to happen. There has been screaming in the woods and the dark, abandoned manor on the hill 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. As Kami starts to investigate for the paper, she finds out that the town she has loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets- and a murderer- and the key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy who everyone thought was imaginary may be real...and he may be dangerous.

It's no secret that I love the Demon's Lexicon series and that it's ending was a bittersweet moment for me last year. I was incredibly excited to hear about the new Lynburn Legacy series that begins with Unspoken. The thing which defines Kami is her link to Jared - the boy who lives in her head. He's been there as long as she can remember and his constant presence has cost her friends and got her the reputation for being a little odd. However, she's got her life sorted, has a great friend in the shape of Angela and is creating a school magazine so she's a more than a little mortified when he turns up in her life. Cousin of the angelic Ash and his bad-boy credentials cemented in stone when he beats up some of the school cricket team, Jared is a magnetic character. Seriously, I don't know how SRB does it. Whereas with Nick from the Demon's Lexicon series we never really knew what he was thinking, thanks to the psychic link with Kami we know where his emotions are going. But this doesn't make him any less confusing or gloriously exasperating. Seriously, one minute I wanted to hide him from the cruel world and the next I wanted to have him trampled by elephants.

The reappearance of the Lynburn family in Sorry-in-the-Vale isn't greeted with much joy by the inhabitants. For reasons that Kami is determined to unearth the Lynburns are treated with a mixture of suspicion and awe. When they return strange things start to happen and Jared's arrival just seems to accelerate the oddness. Kami has to try and sort out her feelings for him and his cousin Ash alongside her ongoing investigations for the school paper. Soon Kami and her friends are out of their depth and in terrible danger. Unspoken has tonnes of wonderful Gothic elements: door knockers like hands, forgotten houses, family secrets, spooky woods - the list is endless. The atmosphere is both unsettling and a little bit claustrophobic. I defy anyone to read the scene where Kami discovers a Hyakume in the woods without shivering - there's plenty of horror within these pages.

There are plenty of other reasons why I loved this book. The author's dialogue is as snarky and sparkling as ever. While reading Unspoken I was laughing one minute and terrified the next! There's also a wonderful cast of characters. Kami and Jared are awesome, that goes without saying. My other favourite character was Angela who hates everyone (except Kami), likes a nap and is also both devastatingly beautiful and loyal. Then there's Holly who is one of those girls who boys gravitate to but other girls cold-shoulder. As Holly's character is developed it makes you question the fairness of this. There's also the fabulousness of having a mixed-heritage main character. She stands out in Sorry-in-the-Vale for this reason and also because of her habit of conversing with someone who no one else can see.

After having looked forward to it for so long, I'm so pleased to say that I loved this book. Oh, also, just a warning about the ending. My heart broke.


Liz said...

Gaaah! Damn you Sarah - now I cannot wait to read this EVEN MORE.

L xx

iffath said...

Great review, Sarah!

I hadn't read anything by Sarah Rees Brennan before Unspoken, but I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I totally agree about the dialogue being sparkling! Such a magical book! :)

Essjay said...

Thanks guys :-D

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I think this book will be a really good read for those who have loved The Demon's Lexicon trilogy; unfortunately I was not one of those and I had the same sort of problems with this book. Glad to hear you liked it though!