Sunday, 22 June 2014

Review || Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by 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 didn't spend her childhood silent about her imaginary friend, and is thus a bit of an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, she has a best friend, runs the popular 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?

There's a lot to like about this book. And to be honest, the premise alone sold me on this book. Telepathy as a trope is something that I am just 100% down for.

So why the average rating? Unfortunately, this was another book that just didn't deliver in the ways I wanted it to.

From a writing perspective, I had a hard time with it sometimes. The pacing and scene transitions were occasionally really jarring or just poorly executed. At times, the sentence structure had me shaking my head and rereading lines because I had no clue what I'd just read. On top of all of that, I never really felt immersed in the world. The writing was lacking the atmosphere necessary to really suck me in.

I suppose it says something if I admit that the only time I actually wanted to sit down and read this book was when I picked it up to start it. Granted, the days I was reading it were busy ones, but even with free time I wasn't super keen to sit back down with it. It just never captivated me.

That said, there were definitely enjoyable parts. Some of the lines were literally laugh out loud funny. Kami's voice as a narrator took some getting used to, but I enjoyed her reckless perseverance. There was a lot of great girl friendship in this book too, which is something I think is all too rare in YA. In general, the supporting characters added a nice touch to the story.

The mystery and mythology that are at the centre of Sorry-in-the-Vale were interesting. Though, I think the revelations surrounding both were lacklustre, that more has to do with my issues with the pacing rather than anything else. Still, I found some of the "twists" poorly set up.

A word to the wise: this book does not even pretend to stand on its own. The ending is wide open and more than a little cliffhanger-y. So I'd have the sequel Untold on hand if you're really enjoying it.

For me, I'm not that fussed about the whole thing. I'm mildly interested to see where things go, but I'm by no means interested in rushing out to acquire the next one. I haven't even added Untold to my TBR on Goodreads at the time of writing. So. Maybe that speaks for itself.