Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Hardcover, 370 pages
Expected publication: September 11th, 2012 by Random House
Source: Amazon Vine
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 was drawn into this book the very second I started reading because Kami Glass was such a fun character!  She’s witty and fabulously sarcastic.  She has a personality that jumps off the page and you just want to stick her in your pocket and take her home with you.

Someone mentioned this is a Sassy Gothic Mystery, and that is absolutely exactly what it is!  There is a lot of sass and it’s not just from Kami.  All the characters in this book were pretty fabulous and their witty dialogue (and inner dialogue) had me cracking up more then once.

Now the characters are my favorite part of the book, but the plot was pretty terrific as well.  I was never bored reading the book, but the plot itself takes a bit to take off.  I think I didn’t notice because I was so enraptured with Kami and everything she has going on.  But those that are wishing for a more plot driven book may not be as satisfied as I was.  I never really guessed everything that was going on, I think I didn’t even know what sort of thing to guess.  At one point I started to figure everything out, but then was proven wrong.  So I think maybe it could have been predictable if I had known what the book was about in the first place, but since I went in knowing nothing I didn’t know which direction things might go.

Now I absolutely loved the book but there were some things I didn’t love.  First of all there’s nearly a love triangle (I’ve been told this is not a love triangle, but what I mean is that she has feelings for two different characters though she denies feelings for one of them) and I didn’t care for that.  And I was annoyed with some of Jared and Kami’s issues.  They were very back and forth and I feel like Kami is pretty stupid in denying her feelings and sometimes she just didn’t make sense to me when it came to her emotions toward Jared.  She says he’s the most important person to her but then she goes and says or does something stupid.  Another issue I had was that the book sometimes switches from us being with Kami to suddenly being with Jared.  Some of those times it had me saying ‘huh?’.  But maybe that’s something that will change in the final copy of the book.  And now my biggest issue was the very, very end.  The book has a pretty big cliffhanger, but the plot side of the cliffhanger fit, I was okay with it.  But the character side of the cliffhanger had me screaming in frustration.  I waited through the whole book for something and never got it.  Only to be left with… with… THIS.  No.  I’m NOT satisfied with that end.  But I guess it’ll have me dying until the next book comes out!  Now, I know that feeling intense emotions is good.  But there’s good frustration and bad.  I did feel the bad kind of frustration.  It was a different kind of ending, and I do appreciate the author doing something different, but I’m sorry, I needed a semi better wrap up.  But that’s just me.

However, aside from those minor issues I found Unspoken to be a wonderfully entertaining read. One that fans of Sarah Rees Brennan and her fabulously witty characters must read.

Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.
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  1. Looks like a fun book! I agree with you about sorta love triangles though, I hate it when the female protagonist acts so stupid about them…. Sounds like a pretty fresh idea over all though! I wish my imaginary boyfriends would become real too >.> <.< 😉

  2. Definitely full of sass! I agree with your issues especially the POV change-do you think it had something to do with the fact that they can communicate with each other? Or is it just bad formatting in the ARC? Because it was not well-done here. And the back and forth on their issues drove me crazy-it was the same stuff over and over again. Super frustrating!

    • I think it was the formatting in the ARC or just a weird way of doing things. I mean usually we get a new chapter or at least a line break before we end up in someone elses head. I’ll have to try to look at a finished copy and see if it’s different.
      Yeah, the back and forth and over and over again was annoying. I still couldn’t help but love Kami though. Lots of mixed feelings I guess.

  3. I actually never finished read this one. I received an e-galley through Netgalley, and I was so excited to read it. But I found it a bit confusing at times (like you said, all of a sudden we are following Jared and not Kami). I also had a problem with the interactions between Kami and Jared. But I really dislike cliffhanger endings, so it is probably a good thing that I didn’t make it that far.

    Thanks for the review :)

    • It’s too bad you didn’t care for it. I actually think I liked the first half better. At least as far as the characters go, so maybe it’s a good thing you quit. I might not be your thing.

  4. I agree with you on all the points mentioned (both good and bad). I really did enjoy this book and I look forward to reading the second one. With the way this one ended, it begs to be read. :)

  5. This book sounds awesome (yay for a sassy, sarcastic heroine) but I’m not excited about this ending you mention. Not one little bit. I think I’ll be waiting until the next book is out before I pick it up, I can tell already the end is going to give me a stress-induced ulcer and I want no part of that:) Thanks for the heads up Candace!

    • Some people seem to love the ending, but I didn’t. I guess waiting until next year to read it might not be a bad idea. Then you can pick up the next one without dying of an ulcer. 😉

  6. Well we ceetainly saw this differently. I found tnis one incredibly slow and I agree about Kami’s feeling for Jared. The ending was horrible and I just can’t give a book a high rating when it ends with a ridiculous cliffhanger like this one!

    • I guess some people love that ending! I was kind of shocked. That was really my biggest issue with the book. I was annoyed with Kami at times but yet I just adored her too.

  7. I’m looking forward to this even more now! I love sarcastic, witty characters :] hmm not sure if I’m going to be a big fan of the romance though, the things you described are the things that irk me about romances. Especially love triangles. *face palm*

    • Different people seem to see things differently for this one. Some actually really like the things that I complained about. So give it a try and you may love it! I gotta say, the romance irked me, but some aspects of it I loved. Maybe I should have pointed out more of that, it’s just hard to explain without spoilers.

  8. I really do want to check this one out. I’m a big character person and I LOVE humor, so I feel like it would be a good fit for me even with some slowness plot wise. We’ll see when I get a shot to fit it in though. LOL Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. I’m glad you liked it but I have to disagree with the love triangle lol. There’s something there and I guess I’m being technical because since there was never actually anything happening in that department, I personally wouldn’t classify it as such and your review is the first I’ve seen that mentioned. And if you didn’t like that, then why were you upset at the character part of the ending? I was frustrated but in a good way because it was refreshing to have things work out differently than they usually do in books. I guess you might not be able to say here though, in case it’s spoilery. Still love that you loved it overall and are looking forward to more. Have you read the two short stories?

    • Yeah, I suppose it’s not really a love triangle technically. Maybe I should restate that bit. I have read reviews that did call it a love triangle, and it felt like one to me. Just emotionally even if that’s all it was, emotions. And I’m confused about what you mean about why I’m upset about the end. It’s hard to say what I mean since I don’t want to get spoilery but basically they needed to communicate because he didn’t understand why she did what she did but wouldn’t give her a chance to explain. It was a different ending to me and I guess my frustration wasn’t in a good way. But since I pretty much loved the book I can just deal.
      Nope, I didn’t even know there were short stories. I guess I’ll have to look them up…

    • Ah okay, I get what you mean now about being frustrated at the end. Yes, that was a not-so-good frustration lol. The more “good” one I’m talking about is the…how can I put it? Maybe unfulfillment of what I hoped would happen. This is so hard! LOL!
      The one you can find on Amazon on Unspoken’s page by scrolling down. The other is on Sarah’s blog post from September 5. Both are free PDFs and only about 15 pages each but insightful.

    • I guess that’s an ending that people have different feelings about. All reviews I’d read said they HATED it but today I’ve heard from a few that they actually loved the ending. I loved part of the ending, but the other part just frustrated me.

  10. I’m a tad confused by what you are upset about as far as the ending goes, but otherwise, this sounds like a great novel. Love snappy dialogue and characters. It’s really about the characters for me. I’ve read another good review of this novel. Hope I get a chance to read it.


  11. I got excited for this novel ever since I finished Team Human. I love that sassy heroine though I’m a bit surprised that the gothic/dark aspect of the story didn’t come through as that was how it was marketed. Not too thrilled about the cliffhanger but I’m curious to see why you split it in terms of plot and character. Hope to read this one soon!

  12. Lovely review!! I agree about Kami being VERY funny, and all the characters being witty as well! Really loved the characters here.. but as for the love story, im currently reading the book and im still confused about her feelings.. :/ anyways thanks for sharing!
    – Farah @ MajiBookshelf

  13. “Sassy gothic mystery???” If nothing else, that phrase alone is enough to intrigue me. But this book does sound really great. Team Human wasn’t really my type of book, but I don’t want to give up on Sarah Rees Brennan’s stories. I love gothic mysteries and sass, so perhaps this book will be more my style. I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers myself, but I’ll tolerate them for good writing and a solid story overall.

  14. Candance, I have to agree with you – that ending left a LOT to be desired. I’m still thrilled though that you enjoyed this one! It was such a phenomenal tale and the character relationships really were so complex. Kami and Jared have become two of my favorite characters EVER and I can’t WAIT to see in which direction the sequel goes! :) Wonderful review, dear! 😀

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