Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Series: The Lynburn Legacy #1
Publication Date: Septemebr 11, 2012
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 370 (Hardcover)
Source: Gifted from Alexa
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?
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Before I begin this review, I have to take a moment to thank Alexa for forcing this series on me. Despite the beautiful cover, I had myself convinced that this simply was not a Lili book, and I was so very very wrong. I would not have read this without you, and the best kind of friends are the best book pushers ever. Thanks!

I don't know what I was expecting when I picked up this book, but the hilarity, sass, complex mystery, and interesting twists and turns blew me away. The creep-factor scared me and while there is a lot of creepiness, it's deliciously dark in a way that will entice readers instead of unsettle their lunches which is really awesome for a squeamish girl like myself.

Kami Glass is one of my favorite main characters ever. She is sassy and focused in following her investigative journalist dreams. She does not scare easy and she holds her head high, embracing her weirdness, and not allowing her past to haunt her. Sure, she has an imaginary friend named Jared that makes people thinks she's kind of crazy, but she learned to keep him to herself, too, as she grew older. Watching her grow throughout the length of this book was an honor because, through it all, she is easy to identify with and relate to, as well as root on and hope for. I also like the tiny bits of exploration about her Japanese heritage and how she was slightly different from the other residents of Sorry-in-the-Vale because of it.

But what really drives this novel is the entire character cast, really. Even the secondary characters were so interesting and three-dimensional, leaping off the page. My favorite would probably be Angela, Kami's best friend who is constantly exhausted that literally hates the world. She voices all of our personal anti-people sentiments and lives a joyous life of beauty, hilarious friends, and lots of sleep. There's also Holly who seems really simply characterized as a pretty girl that likes male attention, but she is so much more than that and I can't wait to learn more about her. Even Angela's older brother, Rusty, is great comic-relief with his mad karate skills leading to sneak attacks on both Angela and Kami throughout the book. Kami's family deserves a special award for being happy (something that is seemingly rare in YA) as well as diverse and down-right hilarious. Almost every scene her Dad was in constantly had me giggling.

And of course there are the of which I am slightly obsessed with, many of which I hate, and all of which are incredibly creepy for different reasons. But I leave you the joy of discovering them for yourselves.

I don't know how to describe the dialogue in this novel, but it is utterly realistic and also entertaining. I found myself reading aloud at one point because the conversations were so real, and the jokes were just so dang funny. The dialogue and sass alone are reasons to pick up this book, but the world-building and murder mystery is pretty great, too. Sorry-in-the-Vale is a quiet town in England that is mostly owned by the elusive Lynburn family. Today, the Lynburn's are moving back to this quaint old town to wreak some havoc. Throughout this time, Kami realizes the voice inside her head belongs to a real human being, but as they both come to terms with this, murders begin occurring in town and all leads point to Jared. Read it, fall in love with it, beg for me. Trust me, you'll love it.

But with all of this in mind, this book was just short of perfect in my eyes. While the mystery itself was great, there were a few times where I felt like the story lulled. For the most part the pacing was spot-on, but I suppose that's why the lulls seemed so prominent to me. Also, the ending is among the most killer cliff-hangers I have ever encountered. Sure, it shows that Brennan knows how to leave the readers literally begging for more and it also expresses her evil delight in torturing us--something she embraces and is most definitely known for--but it also isn't entirely necessary. The suspense is high and it'll definitely hook you to book two, but the way that Jared acted towards Kami was very out of character and false to me, almost like a show put on to drive the readers crazy. I'm just not a fan of the choice of ending because of this, though I anxiously await the moment I can sit down to read book two.

In sumnation, I have no idea if this review makes sense because I am so blown away. I encourage every reader out there to give this series a chance because not only is it dark, but it's got a level of hilarity that lightens the darkness of a gothic romance and a ship that is so worth shipping it's not even funny. All of the characters stand apart whether it's sleep loving Angela, hilarious Kami, creepy Rosalind Lynburn, or enticing Jared. And the world is I can't even wait to see what trouble Brennan stirs up in it next in books two and three. 

Don't be like me and hesitate, you'll regret it. This is not a series that can be ignored.

4.5 stars



  1. I rarely say "I told you so" but if there's a book that deserves that comment, it would be this one! Isn't Unspoken PHENOMENAL? I just fell hard for Kami, her friends and her family and needed more of Sorry-in-the-Vale after reading this one. GET TO READING THE NEXT ONE WOMAN!

  2. I LOVE this series, I think the witty banter is on point. Kami is fantastic! The cliff hanger though in this one, killer! haha Great review :)

    Ashley @ The Quiet Concert