Book Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
I knew there was a very good chance I was going to adore Unspoken based on 1) my love for Sarah Rees Brennan’s Demon’s Lexicon series and 2) my love for Sarah Rees Brennan as a hilarious madwoman about the internet, so perhaps that’s why I put off reading it for so long. The way you put off eating the last Cadbury egg in your secret candy stash, because you know it’s going to be months and months before they’ll be on shelves again.
Turns out waiting until just before Halloween was the perfect time to read Unspoken. The story has a general creeptastic, gothic feel to it, but of course, as with anything written by SRB, it’s littered with hilarious dialogue and fabulous characters you want to tacklehug. There is a fair amount of danger and dread, and it feels incredibly potent in the story, but there is also a sense that everything will be ok, life will go on, and laughter will continue to be had, even if tragedy strikes. Like J.K. Rowling, SRB seems to effortlessly build a rich, vibrant tableau with plucky characters and a setting with serious personality—aka Sorry-in-the-Vale, the quirky English small town with a paranormal twist. You feel like you know the characters personally, you feel protective over them, and you can’t wait to find out what will happen next in their lives.
The book never dragged and was SO much fun to read. I think I like this even better than her Demon’s Lexicon series (*gasp* I know!). Yes, there was the most monstrous of monster cliffies at the end (well, just major unfinished business, really), but the story wraps up fairly nicely, satisfying us and setting us up for a severe new series addiction.
There are so many reasons I love Unspoken, but a few things really stood out in the book and deserve their own special solo cheerleading:
I could not love Kami more! She is a dauntless investigative reporter, and despite the fact that she’s in high school, she conducts herself like a professional truth-seeking missile. She’s loyal, hilarious, and believably impressed, but not overly swayed by the gorgeous looks of her friends. In short, she is the opposite of everything I hate about so many paranormal story heroines. She is a keeper, and I want more books starring her!
Holly and Angela
I love that Kami’s closest friends are ridiculously hot girls who are not super annoying. They kick ass, are tough, and stick up for each other, never abandoning their friends in their times of need (of which there are many in this book).
The Lynburns run Sorry-in-the-Vale and always have. Now that they’ve returned, the town is aflutter. What are they up to? Should they be feared? Reviled? Worshipped? It seems everyone treats them differently, and Kami doesn’t know what the truth about the Lynburns is, but she’s going to get to the bottom of it. That means she has to cozy up to the gorgeous Lynburn cousins, Jared and Ash….sigh, life is so hard!
Realistic paranormal connection
Normally when a guy and a girl are linked by some paranormal twist of fate, it is the source of some seriously angsty and hot sexy-times. Which is fine….don’t get me wrong. But usually a bit unbelievable. For Kami and Jared, the psychic connection they share is as complicated as it would be in real life. Kami questions it, and wonders whether it’s actually healthy for them. And it is not hot, but rather terrifying to find out the person who has been your constant companion, your closest confidant, in your HEAD, imaginary friend style, is actually real in the flesh. Are the feelings they feel for each other, the closeness they share, all a product of this connection? Or is it something more? There are no easy answers. And I LOVE that.
Saying he was part of her or that they were more than friends sounded like love, but it seemed like a loss as well. All the words she knew to describe what he was to her were from love stories and love songs, but those were not words anyone truly meant. They were like Jared, in a way. If they were real, they would be terrifying.