Sarah Rees Brennan, |
The Lynburn Legacy, No. 1: Unspoken
(Random House, 2012)
Kami Glass has come to terms with the fact that she may be crazy. After all, when the voice you're constantly connected to in your brain is the friend who makes you feel sane, even craziness seems safer than losing them. Particularly when Kami's zest for investigation begins exposing her quiet English town as a disturbing place. Unfortunately, the new discoveries are happening everywhere and they are not abiding by the rules. The founding family has returned to the town, animals are being ritually sacrificed in the woods and supernatural things seem to be happening. But for Kami, the most unnerving thing of all is meeting her imaginary friend ... in the flesh.
Sarah Rees Brennan writes with charm and creates voices that are distinctly fun. For all of the strangeness of Kami's private world with Jared, Unspoken is cheering and easy to read. The mystery element folds in nicely, turning up new information at a good pace without losing suspense from any of aspect of the story. The world of Sorry-in-the-Vale fills the novel with a sense of place, with a fully-functioning society to support the important characters, and with an atmosphere that feels natural, no matter what eccentricities came to light.
Most importantly, Unspoken plays with the notion of individuality and what it really means. In order to care about this overall theme, Brennan really had to bring it with her characters. She succeeded. Kami heads a cast of three-dimensional people with histories and secrets. Specific stereotypes are deliberately smashed and issues of class and race are included as they really would be, integral underlying matters that don't need a lot of focus to touch on everything. The discussion of physical beauty and attraction mirrors and complements Brennan's discussion of personality and perception in such simple ways it was almost painfully wonderful.
Unspoken meddles with so many things: romance, mystery, magic, meaningful questions. This novel works through as many layers as Kami and Jared do in their relationship with each other. The ending clarity felt nearly wrong, with so many layers of suspense and wonder lost in the final revelations. On the other hand, this is only book one, and I see several reasons why Brennan may have wanted the ending to feel that way. If nothing else, it felt fitting. This is the first Sarah Rees Brennan book I have read, and already I trust her to ultimately provide satisfaction. Like Kami, I feel "strongly that Fridays should not be full of disappointments." Luckily, Unspoken offered me none.
book review by
5 October 2013
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