Review: 'Unspoken' by Sarah Rees Brennan

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sarah Rees Brennan

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?

Travel Companion:

If I traveled with the main character Kami Glass, she would be: 

The Reporter

She would be taking pictures of everything and noting down useless facts like if a guy's shirt was blue or not or whether the lady in red was eating a bagel or a doughnut. She would be interviewing everybody, even us. What's your favorite color? Where do you live? What books do you read? Where is that gorgeous purse from?
We would meet her by the newspaper stand, arguing about the validity of her facts with a big-wig reporter or some other cocky person. And she would come with us because of the allure of adventure, danger, and mystery.

If I traveled with the main character Jared Lynburn, he would be:

Sulking and Silent Companion

He would sulk the entire trip, but when he would talk, he would be very cocky and rude. He would probably offend all of us, but that would be okay! We would all just enjoy his snarky comments. (Only if they weren't directed at us.)
He would be sulking in the corner of a train station. We would pick him up and tell him Kami his imaginary friend will be there. And he'll join us right away.

Kami did have a great sarcastic personality. She was quick on her feet and very sarcastic. I liked her outlandish personality. She was convinced that all her delinquent actions could be supported by the 'fact' that she was pursuing justice and the truth. I'm not sure that would have convinced any cops, though.
Kami was reckless and sometimes decided to do things she shouldn't have done. I liked that she didn't hold back. She was open and let things spill from her lips. She did need a filter, though. Not everything she said was needed to be spoken. Not holding back, though, was part of her character. I enjoyed seeing her spout incoherent sentences. It amused me.
Jared was dark and brooding. He's the SSC for a reason! While I typically enjoy dark and brooding characters because they have a REASON to be dark and brooding, Jared was a bit lacking. He could have had more backstory, more depth. He had a dead father. And a mother who caused trouble. (Plus, she was creepy.) I wanted Jared to have more personality and more backstory. I'm perfectly fine with the story being mostly about Kami, but their awesome mind-reading power could have revealed more about Jared. It wasn't a one-way connection, you know.
What type of child was he? How did his mother treat him? Was she cold? Cruel? Did she hit him? Did she hate him or love him? I wanted to know about their relationship. This story is mostly about the Lynburns, so why can't we know their relationships and connections? Especially with Jared being the male main character.

The Adventure Begins (And Ends):

The plot was okay. Nothing too action-y or fast-paced. It was a bit dull at times.
The supernatural mystery was interesting, though. The murder. The dead animals. Why did these things happen? Did this person have magic? Were they out for revenge? Who could it be? Holly? Rusty?
Sadly, the mystery wasn't the front-runner the entire story. I wanted it to be the main plot. It could have captured my interest more.
It wasn't really a mystery story. It's hard to place what this story was. Urban fantasy? Romance?
Kami really was a roving reporter, though. She dug deep into Sorry-in-the-vale. She didn't stop. Her thirst for knowledge kept her going. I admire that tenacity.
The story also focused on Kami and Jared getting used to each other being real. They have to get used to seeing someone's face and connecting it with the voice in their head. They had a connection from long ago, but the person next to them doesn't act the same as the voice.

For example, it seemed like Jared had two personalities. The that was kind and joking that Kami knew from inside her head and the snarky one everyone else knew. Which one is the true Jared? One or the other? Both? Neither?
I liked reading about the struggle to find a place to find in the other's life. Where did Jared belong in Kami's life? Friend? Enemy? Lover? And Kami? Where did she belong? Their struggle was interesting, especially since they had niches already. They had to rethink everything.

I'll Wait For You At the Gate:

There was some chemistry between Kami and Jared. Those two had a connection, a mental link. That aided their romantic connection. They had a spark. They just needed to light it. They could have dated. (I mean...that third time they met. Man. Jared really took the initiative. Go, Jared!) I would have shipped it if they dated.
But the love triangle! I really didn't like the love triangle. There was no use for it. Why was it there? These two would have been great together. There was no use for the fighting over Kami. Why? Is Kami that amazing? I know she had a great personality, but she wasn't that cute. Or was she? Or did Guy B see something else in her I didn't see? (Yes. I'm referring to as the other person as Guy B.)

Perks and Upgrades:


You Have Arrived at Your Destination:

There was so much action in the ending. It seemed like everything happened all at once. Angela. Rob. Ash. All these people had important roles in the end. (Not that they didn't have important roles before the ending happened.)
Everything came at me in a tsunami of plot points. Action. Magic. Family. Betrayal. Fear. Worry. Agony. All these emotions swirled about in those last few pages. I was clutching my phone, worrying along with Kami and Jared. I was biting my lip, wondering if this would all work out.
The story ended on such a complex note. Now, Jared and Kami have to figure out how to live with each other in a world that has changed. They have to figure out how they fit in again. But in a different way. I think the two of them have a lot of problems to sort out now.

Overall? It wasn't a bad story. The female lead was interesting, and I liked her personality. The mystery lured me in. Who are the Lynburns? What are they doing? Who is the killer? The plot wasn't very interesting, and it could have been better. The romance could have happened; I definitely was okay with it. I felt like Kami and Jared could have gone beyond friendship if they wanted to, but they seemed afraid of the consequences. (It is understandable, though. Their relationship might end up harming BOTH of them. And their friends and family as well.)
This story did one thing right, though. It got me to connect with Kami, make me feel for her. And that was a great thing.
I would have given this story a four out of five if the plot wasn't so dull.
This wasn't a terrible story, but it wasn't the best I've read.




  1. Awk, sad that it was a bit boring there. That's always a disappointment. Although I AM curious about the mystery and murder aspect...*rubs hands together gleefully* I do like a bit of suspense. XD This one is kiiiind of on my wishlist? Meaning I'd like to read it but my library doesn't have it so it probably won't be for a long time. xD hehe.
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    1. Yeah... I wanted to like it more. I wish the murder was more of a front runner on the plot.
      It isn't the BEST I've read, but it's not too bad.