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Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
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Unspoken (2012)

by Sarah Rees Brennan

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5287619,108 (4.05)15
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  1. 10
    Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia (dizzyweasel)
    dizzyweasel: A more complex novel about magic and the mysterious family that rules a sleepy town.
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Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A deeply, imaginative gothic fantasy with hilariously snarky characters.

Opening Sentence: Every town in England has a story.

The Review:

I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up, Unspoken, the first book in the Lynburn trilogy. I was hooked right away by Kami Glass’ snarky and brutal humor. She has no problem letting people know what she thinks and she equally has no problem throwing herself into potentially dangerous situations.

Kami Glass is strangely inquisitive and wants to know all the secrets of her little England town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. She really wants to learn about the mysterious Lynburn family that has “protected” the town for hundreds of years. Coincidentally, the Lynburns have just returned back to town after many years away. Kami starts up a newspaper in her school and her first big breaking story will be to tell the Lynburn’s secrets. But Kami is hiding a huge secret of her own. She has an imaginary friend. She has been speaking to Jared her whole life and little does she know that she will soon find out that Jared isn’t so imaginary.

Kami doesn’t have to wait long before she starts to get the answers she seeks, both of the teenaged Lynburn cousins enroll in her school. Ash is the cute and charming Lynburn, he soon has Kami gushing over him and recruiting him to work on the newspaper. Jared (yes that Jared!) is not a good looking as his cousin Ash. He has a scar cutting across the side of his face. He is (of course) the bad boy and always getting into fights.

Sorry-the-the-Vale holds some really dark secrets and when Kami finds a mutilated fox in the woods she wants to discover the culprit. Not long afterwards, she is knocked down a well and almost drowns. Jared comes to her rescue and quickly decides that he will keep an eye on her in case someone is out to kill her.

Unspoken is the gothic tale of Kami who has always kind of been an outsider in her town. Kami’s Asian ancestry also has her not quite fitting in in her little England town. She really tries to not let that get her down so she is very snarky and often says what she thinks because she doesn’t care what other people think of her. Sometimes Kami gets a little too overboard with her snarkiness but I still enjoyed it. Kami’s best friend Angela had me chuckling a lot especially with her disdain for other people and her complete love of laziness and sleeping.

When Kami and Jared learn that they are in fact real people and not imaginary, they are both devastated. I really liked Jared but he was a bit frustrating about all the mixed signals that he kept giving Kami. Although Kami didn’t help with that much especially in the beginning but after she made her decision it was really hard to see him keep shying away from her.

I felt like the first half of Unspoken really focused on the fun, snarky Kami and her friends with a little bit of mystery before turning into the full blown mystery with a little bit of snark thrown in. The first half of the book really flew by for me while I felt the second half slowed down a bit. It wasn’t because the story really slowed down, I felt like more and more questions kept getting thrown onto the mystery before anything finally happened. The story did get much darker and this novel doesn’t have a happy ending, but that is why it is part of a trilogy, right? I am really happy that I have the next book in the series ready to pick up.

Notable Scene:

His hand shot out and slammed down on a button. The doors closed and he slammed another hand on the lift wall, close to her head. The clang reverberated in her ears. He was standing next to her suddenly, much too close, bowed down so she was looking directly into those cold eyes. “Kami.”

Kami wasn’t shaking. The world was shaking her, the world was shaking apart and about to fall to pieces. Nothing made sense anymore. “Jared?” she whispered. Her voice was changed like everything else, sounding as if it did not belong to her. She lifted a hand, seeing her fingers tremble in the dim lights of the lift, up to touch his face.

Jared grabbed her wrist.

They stood absolutely still for a moment, looking at each other. Kami didn’t dare move. She could feel her pulse pounding against his palm. He was real. He was here, and she was scared.

He let go of her and stepped back.

They were on opposite sides of the lift again, just like before, except now he was watching her. The cold lights had swallowed up his eyes: they were pale and awful, the kind of eyes you might fear watching you in the darkness when you walked home alone. His feelings hit her, not like having someone reaching out but like someone throwing something at her. She had never felt anything like this before in her life. It was like being enveloped by a storm with no calm center, with no calm anywhere to be found. Kami felt blinded by it, by Jared’s fury and panic, and above all his black terror.

The link between them had become an onslaught. Kami could not just tell what Jared was thinking, she could feel it. She could not escape, could not untangle the strands of herself from him. She tried to visualize walls in her head, shields that she could hide behind, feeling both exposed and lost.

“Stop it,” she said, her voice catching.

“You stop it!” he whispered back.

They sounded like terrified children, and strangers who hated each other. Kami could not tell who was the most afraid.

FTC Advisory: Random House Books for Young Readers provided me with a copy of Unspoken. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | Jul 22, 2014 |
I got about one hundred pages in when I realized I could no longer go on…and it makes me sad because I really did want to like this series. I was actually really looking forward to this book Unspoken got me interested right away, I liked the writing a lot. It was witty and smart. That isn't where it went wrong, though. It was mainly the characters. Kami is the main problem here. I liked her independent nature, but sometimes she just seemed full of herself. Constantly saying the office was perfect and saying she did SUCH a great job. Yes we get it, the office looks nice with it's lamps. And then there's the "cliche" stereotype of not being pretty enough. Her best friend, Angela is the "most gorgeous girl in school, with the most perfect body." And Holly, the "most second gorgeous girl in school." But I think what bothered me the most was that my fictional men weren't making me happy.

Let's begin with Jared, the guy inside Kami's head and her best friend since childhood. Their relationship in their heads was so adorable and familiar. And then they meet in reality and everything goes South. First off, Kami is terrified of him even though he regularly talks in her head. Constantly saying "he's so big and I'm so small." Basically every time they interact she changes from being scared of him, to then wanting to touch him. It's really confusing. One scene that REALLY irked me was when she started unbuttoning her blouse, and Jared was like "What are you doing?" As any boy with some semblance of manners would say. But she obviously doesn't like that because he doesn't seem like he "wants her" am I right? *cue eye roll* So then later, she says to Ash, "If I were to take my shirt off, what would you do?" And he says "Clear the hallway" and she says "good answer." Like really? What the heck.

Going back to Jared, he was really terrible and stand-offish. He said at the beginning "My mom wants me to stop talking to you, then they talk about it, and he says "I just want you." Cue the awwing, right? But when they finally meet, he wants nothing to do with her really, at first. He says "Stay away from me." They both kind of go their separate ways, but then he decides suddenly, they should date. I was like..okay. And, if she really "loved" Jared, she wouldn't be falling for Ash. I get it, he's good looking. And sweet. So tell Jared you just want to be friends. Instead she leads him on, which makes me really confirm she has a big ego. And the story-line..why did everyone seem to know about the Lynburns except her? Her dad knew all about them. But she didn't, this person who should because she's an investigative journalist? It just didn't add up. I liked the humor and writing, but the story-line and romance was just too much for me to like this. ( )
  alexis909 | Feb 28, 2014 |
I'd consider this book on the high end of the "teen gothic romance" spectrum, as well as a modern take on Nancy Drew-style girl detective stories. The protagonist, Kami, is clever and driven, her friends have fun personalities and play important roles in the plot, and although her love interests are broody and mysterious, they still become part of the group and act like regular teen guys. Relationships evolve in a realistic way, and even at times when I thought a big overemotional moment was called for, the characters remained grounded and angsted with thoughtfulness.

The level of quippy banter flying around in this book is sheer madness. How are you supposed to achieve a gothic tone when you know the characters are just going to make sarcastic jabs at the next mysterious thing they encounter? There was a lot of potential for an uneasy spooky atmosphere that never quite came together. I did enjoy watching the central mystery of the town unfold, and it raises some interesting possibilities for future stories.

This book seems well-loved among the YA crowd, and unlike your average Twilight, I think it deserves praise. But for me the romance was just okay, and the mystery concluded at a point that didn't exactly whet my appetite for a sequel. I'd still check out the next book in the series if I was in the mood for a light paranormal mystery, and I'd definitely pick up this book for a young reader instead of letting them take their chances with the sea of generic YA books currently available.
( )
  thatpirategirl | Jan 16, 2014 |
So I finally, finally finished this book. I'm not sure what I can say about this story, I was expecting so much more. The book started off at a good pace, but for me, it started to falter right around the time Kami (our intrepid investigative journalist)encounters Jared for the first time, in the flesh, at the library. After that initial meeting when they realized who each of them was, the story seemed to sort of slow down to painful crawl. I know the story was supposed to be about finding out about the mysterious Lynburns and their return to the town, but a good chunk of the book was dedicated to Kami's and Jared's feelings toward one another. What was with Jared not wanting to touch Kami anyway?

The story really seemed to pick up speed after the pub incident with Holly, and even more so with Nicola. It was interesting learning about the connection with Kami's mother and Rosalind and how that formed the connection between Kami and Jared. I wasn't surprised to learn who the sorcerer was, nor was I surprised when Holly told Kami what happened with Angela. I was, however, shocked with Jared's behavior toward Kami after all was said and done.

All I can say is that I'm glad MY teenage years weren't quite so angsty and drama-filled! ( )
  scottnl | Dec 14, 2013 |
The characters in Unspoken were phenomenal. The author did an excellent job really fleshing them out - I fell in love with so many of them. Despite being a blood-filled mystery, there is actually a lot of humor and moments that made me laugh out loud. The dialogue was downright witty - I absolutely loved it. Kami is an excellent protagonist. I love that she's confident in her kookiness and doesn't lose her mind over beautiful boys. We need more female characters like her in YA.

This book was well on its way to earning five stars but something fell apart for me towards the end concerning the mystery. I like mysteries where clues are planted early on so the reader can at least go back and realize that things were pointing toward the ending, but I felt like the mystery was just pushed on us without us having any insight into what was happening. I'm sure more will be cleared up in the next installment in the series but the lack of details made it difficult to enjoy the plot of this one. ( )
1 vote ad_astra | Dec 4, 2013 |
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"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"--… (more)

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