Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (review copy) - 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. From Amazon UK
Unspoken sounds awesome, which is one of the reasons I picked it up, however, as I wasn't the biggest fan of The Demon's Lexicon, I was slightly wary. Was I not going to like Unspoken either? Now I've read it, and I'm not sure if I am a fan or not.
Unspoken is addictive reading. The mystery aspect of the book definitely keeps you turning the pages. Why has Kami had this telepathic link with Jared since birth? Why have the Lynburns suddenly returned, and why is everyone so scared of them? What does it mean? What are the strange things that are going on in the woods, and who's behind it all? Who is keeping secrets and who can be trusted? What the hell is up with Sorry-in-the-Vale? So many things to think about, and you're dying to find out! All questions we find our answers to eventually, but it takes a while to get there.
Unspoken is not a fast paced novel, but I have found mysteries tend not to be, they're just questions followed by more questions until the answers are revealed. In my experience, that's the genre. But I would have thought more would have happened. It seemed to me that the questions sprang from conversations, thinking, and mis-trust, rather from a huge number of weird things going on. Sure, some of those things are quite big - can you get worse than murder? - but there seemed to be a lot of time going by between those things. I think I just expected a bit more.
The Lynburns were a strange family, but, apart from Jared, I didn't find them all that interesting until the climatic chapters at the end - even after a certain revelation. There was arrogance, there was weird and cold, and there was nice and normal. There was just nothing about their personalities I found all that interesting. Jared was the one who held my interest the most because of his behaviour. We get to see inside his head through the link, but his thoughts and his actions just seemed slightly at odds. Though he is quite an emotional guy, and so I think I can understand certain things he does. Jared was the highlight of the book for me, because he had this kind of bad boy thing going on, but there was more to him in this kind of completely lost way. He's a very complicated character, and I really enjoyed getting to know him.
Kami, however, I wasn't the biggest fan of. She is very witty, has a ton of smart comebacks, and is exceptionally cheery. This all sounds great, but... she made jokes far too often for me, and most of the time, I didn't find them funny. There was the odd smile, giggle or snigger, but most of the time, I wished there was like a volume switch on her personality, and I could turn her down a bit. Or switch of her sense of humour for a while. I found her a little annoying, really. I just don't think it's my kind of humour, unfortunately. Though I do think some of the time it was a coping mechanism, it just niggled at me a bit.
There were other times when I just wished she was more communicative. Ok, sure, she and Jared share this link and can read each other's minds, but they don't know every single thought that passes through each other's head, nor do they always understand what's behind the thoughts they are allowed access to. Seriously, the girl needs to talk to the guy! Tell him how you feel, all of it! Properly! Make the guy understand, because in my opinion, Kami, I don't think the guy knew whether he was coming or going, even though I knew exactly what you were thinking. You would have thought having a telepathic link would have made all the talking and understanding a lot easier, right? No! Much more complicated!
The mystery was resolved at the end, and I felt a little disappointed. I didn't expect it, but I can't tell you why, because that would spoil the story, but my reason for not expecting it was why I was disappointed with it. Saying that, I am intrigued to see how the story will continue. Two cliff hangers, kind of. I want to know how Kami and Jared's relationship will continue, and what the resolved mystery will mean for the future of everyone. I'm looking forward to picking up book two, despite my few issues with Unspoken.
I do think this is a book a lot of readers will really enjoy, though. The mystery, the possible romance, the strangeness of the imaginary-friend-turned-real-person relationship, the quiet little country town with it's secrets and it's fears, and the atmospheric backdrop of the woods and the gothic manor on the hill, looking down on everything - Unspoken has all the ingredients that make for a great page-turner! There are lots of good points, just a few niggles for me. Through the course of writing this review, I have decided I did, actually, enjoy it, I just didn't fall head over heels. Hopefully you'll enjoy Unspoken more than I did; read a few other reviews before deciding, don't decide not to read it based on my review alone. As I said, I do think many will love it.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Children's Books for the review copy.
Published: 13th September 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
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Sarah Rees Brennan's Website