Thursday, 9 August 2012
Review: 'Unspoken' by Sarah Rees Brennan
I got this novel from Netgalley and I mainly chose it because I quite liked the cover and the synopsis sounded alright. I wasn't expecting a lot, just a nice read on the train to a prospective university. God was I wrong. In the UK it came out on August 30th, in the USA on the 11th of September.
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.
But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?
I love Kami Glass. A lot of female protagonists in recent YA novels are quite dependent and seem to want and need protection all the time. Kami is a breath of fresh air. She wants to be a journalist and has the matching curiosity. She wants to go discover what is happening and has no problem doing it on her own. Of course she is never really alone, she has a voice in her head. This could have gone terribly wrong, but Brennan somehow achieves to not make it weird for the reader. Although perhaps slightly improbable, it is very interesting and works great for the story.
I really enjoyed how Brennan set up Sorry-in-the-Vale as this old-fashioned, very normal village with its own ancestry and myths. From descriptions of the country side to the interaction between villagers, everything fits. The transformation that the village goes through as the Lynburns returns is just as scary for the reader as for Kami, who has lived there all her life. The plot twist at the end, quickly followed by another twist, had me in shock. Without wanting to give anything away, I was happy the book ended the way it did because it was refreshing. On the other hand I was heartbroken and shocked.
I was happy about how Brennan didn't really set up Kami, Ash and Jared as a love-triangle. Although there are romantic feelings/tensions here and there, they are not more important than the plot. Where these contrived love-triangles sometimes overpower an already weak plot, the romance here comes second to what is almost a detective or thriller novel. But it is also very funny. Do you know that moment where you are sitting in a full train and suddenly you laugh out loud because you had completely forgotten where you were and the book is really funny? That is what this book will do to you! And you'll love it.
I give this book...
I really enjoyed this book and it was a lot of fun to read. Brennan incorporates both YA and fantasy elements into a truly enjoyable novel that is carried by an inspiring female protagonist. There are no pages wasted on useless romanticizing but there is enough in there for those with a romantic inclination, like me. I cannot wait for the sequel.
So, what do you think?