Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (The Lynburn Legacy #1)
Released: September 11, 2012
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “If I wasn’t going to be a world-famous journalist and if I didn’t have such respect for truth and justice, I could be an amazing master criminal.”
Kami Glass has always had an imaginary friend. He’s always been’ constant in her life, and she has never known a time he hasn’t been in her mind. She was never silent about this friend so she is considered a bit of an oddity in her town of Sorry-In-The Vale, but that doesn’t concern her.
When the town’s most infamous first family, the Lynburn’s, suddenly move back home and take up residence again, Kami is shocked to find her imaginary friend isn’t so imaginary anymore. Jared Lynburn is real and just as shocked as Kami to find that she is real.
As Jared and Kami struggle with their relationship and the reality of it, the town begins to experience a rash of deaths that leaves Kami trying to make sense of what’s happening in her once peaceful town. With the Lynburn’s strange behavior, a town drowning in secrets, and an imaginary friend turned flesh and blood, Kami isn’t sure who can she trust anymore.
Unspoken was a huge, enjoyable surprise for me. While the premise and cover hint at gothic elements, the storyline itself is fun and quirky. Not to say there isn’t any gothic elements because there are. This has all the makings of a dark and suspenseful mystery, set against the forbidding mansion on the hill, housing the mysterious family, that looks down as in judgment of the town and it’s residents. Brennan creates an oppressive atmosphere, conveying the need for caution, without overwhelming the reader. There is plenty of tongue in cheek humor in here where you get the feeling that Ms. Brennan was writing a particular scene or verse and giggling madly to herself.
"A green girl in the woods just kissed me," he announced furiously. "What is wrong with the world?"
She helps balances it all out with her characters. The characters in here are so well developed and full of vitality that you can’t help but be swept up in their abundant enthusiasm. I can’t say I normally laugh during books of this particular setup, but in here I did. Often. Smooth writing and a steady pace made this extremely easy to engage with. I found myself at the end before I knew it
Kami Glass is an average seventeen year old. Well, except for the fact she has had an imaginary friend she speaks to in her mind since she was first able to form words. Other then that, she is well liked, a budding journalist, and has all the makings of a master criminal. She searches for interesting stories to print for her school paper, the more sordid, the better. A delightful character whose infectious personality is ripe with snark and enthusiasm. Strong, intelligent, and normal, she is naturally curious and doesn’t hesitate to question what she feels isn’t right or doesn’t understand. I really enjoyed the interactions between her and her family. I loved how real she is written. No overblown emo dramatics here. No shy, retiring, economically POOR, pretty girl whom everyone treats badly. Kami is a wonderful YA heroine and a person we all should be so lucky to have in our lives.
Jared is both delightful and frustrating. In a nutshell…he’s a boy. Good looking, intelligent, and insecure, he finds himself in a strange town with the one person he has always relied on but never, ever thought he would meet in person. In fact, he was never sure she was actually real. His banter with Kami is uncomfortable when they meet. The easiness they shared when only connecting through their minds doesn’t translate well when they are face to face. I enjoyed watching the differences in their interactions when they mind speak and when they physically talk. From the moment they meet you get the feeling they belong together, even though Ms. Brennan doesn’t place them into a soulmate/destiny type of relationship. They are essentially meeting each other for the first time and neither Kami and Jared are instantly smitten with one another. We learn later exactly why they have this connection in the first place and it places even more strain on them.
“Hark," he said, his tone very dry. "What stone through yonder window breaks?”
Kami yelled up at him, “It is the east, and Juliet is a jerk!”
Our secondary characters are just as alive and personable as our protagonists. The dialogue between them all is humorous and invigorating. The one liners fly through here at a rapid pace but it’s not overdone. Brennan has found the perfect blend between the serious and the comical. It draws you in and makes you a part of their lives. Angela, Kami’s best friend, is hilarious as she follows Kami from adventure to adventure, all the while complaining the entire time.
Kami was accustomed to people thinking she was crazy.
"You’re crazy," said her best friend, Angela, as the bell rang…
"They said that about all the great visionaries," Kami informed her, hurrying down the hall to match Angela’s long-legged stride.
"You know who else they said it about?" Angela demanded. "All the actual crazy people."
Angela’s brother is like an adopted older brother who teaches self defense and watches out for Kami.. Kami’s father and brothers are just as exuberant as Kami and her Dad’s reaction to Kami and dating had me giggling.
“Is this true, Kami? Are you going out on a date?” Dad asked tragically. “Wearing that? Wouldn’t you fancy a shapeless cardigan instead? You rock a shapeless cardigan, honey.”
The main conflict is intriguing, once it gets rolling along. The revealing is slow as Brennan spends time setting the stage, introducing our characters and putting them in their proper places. Once the “scooby gang” begins investigating, the pace picks up considerably and I found myself as deeply committed to solving the mystery as they were. The climatic ending is further heightened by a super hanging cliffhanger. Ms. Brennan leaves us with a lot of questions including a major one *gasp* that pains me when I realize the next installment has over a year before release.
Overall rating: B