by Sarah Rees Brennan
Series: The Lynburn Legacy #1
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?
Unspoken offers a gothic mystery filled with magic, romance, and suspense. The first in Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy series I was drawn into the world she created. With hints of Nancy Drew and a fairy tale feel this novel is sure to appeal to a large audience. Set in a remote English countryside in the tiny cottage town of Sorry-in-the-Vale you will find secrets, powers, and mystical creatures.
In a home near the woods lives a strange, inquisitive and outspoken seventeen-year-old girl named Kami Glass. Ever since Kami can remember she has had an imaginary friend. This has made her a bit of a loner and worries her mother. Especially when at the age of six, she mailed a penny to an address in the States that she seemed to pull from the air. Kami is very careful to only speak to Jared in her head, but this makes her appear like a freak to outsiders. Two things have her very excited, one she got permission to run a school paper and two, the Lynburn’s are returning. For years their monster of a mansion has sat empty. Kami plans to investigate and her first article surrounds the families return. The family is surrounded in legend and mystery, something Kami cannot resist. When a girl at school tells Kami about a mutilated animal, Kami decides to investigate and the tale that unfolds is suspenseful, creepy, and magical.
The characters in this novel are unique and fairly fleshed out but they seemed very young for their age and thus I did not fully connect with them. Kami reminded me of a young Nancy Drew. She has an investigative, I’ve got a plan, follow me attitude. The author chose to make Kami an average looking run of the mill girl and I appreciate this. Her friend Angela was a snarky hoot. Angela joined the paper because the office has a sofa where she can nap; one of her favorite pass times. Holly was cute and desperate for friends. The Lynburn cousins are complete opposites. Ash has prince charming looks and is outgoing. Jared is the dark bad boy. While he doesn’t have Ash’s good looks, he is quite dashing with his scared cheek and rugged dress. Jared is troubled, unsure and lonely. Ash appears confident and purposeful. Both of the boys show an interest in Kami and sought to protect her. I adored Kami’s family. Her Dad was hilarious and her brothers were cute. I love that the parents were involved it was so refreshing! The rest of the Lynburn’s were creepy and mysterious adding to the legends surrounding their family.
The world-building was fascinating and I loved the authentic feel of being in a small English town. Where sidewalks are called pavements and the speech is just a wee bit different. The Lynburn home is exactly how I would picture a creepy old mansion, steeped in mystery and lore. I loved the woods and got chills while reading parts of this novel. The mystical creatures, the dark shadows, the sacrifices; Oh my! I enjoyed the author’s writing style and her talent is truly evident as she brought aspects of this tale to life for me. However, parts of this tale dragged and other parts were brushed over. Where I craved detail there wasn’t enough and I felt like some major climatic scenes were skimmed over. Way too much time was spent with Kami analyzing her feelings and this slowed down the flow. The brewing love triangle was in my opinion, ridiculous, and an unnecessary angle to the plot. I did like the humor laced throughout the tale, and it helped break up the tension. I love being stumped by a good mystery, especially when the author is able to create twists or give me an OMG why didn’t I see that coming moment. While this tale offered twists and turns, I knew who and why way too soon. The ending picked up speed but foreshadowing made it too predictable for me. Despite issues, I did enjoy the tale and many reviewers are raving about it.
Unspoken is geared towards young readers who love a good gothic mystery, laced in magic with a smidgeon of romance. While I didn’t flip over this one, I will give book two of this series a go to see how the story develops.
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