Review: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

Untold

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
Series: The Lynburn Legacy #2
Published: 24 September 2013
by Random House Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 370 pages
Source: Library

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WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR UNSPOKEN.

It’s time to choose sides…. 

On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

A darkly humorous take on Gothic romance, Sarah Rees Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy weaves together the tale of a heroine desperate to protect those she loves, two boys hoping to be saved, and the magical forces that will shape their destiny.

Rating: ★★★

After Untold, my feelings, both positive and negative are all left in a tangled mess. I liked it yet I did not. Its high and low points are all on opposing ends of a spectrum and I’m going to apologize in advance if this review ends up all jumbled and disorganized.

Firstly, as we know from the end of Unspoken, Rob Lynburn turned out to be evil & is building a malevolent mini sorcerer army to overthrow his wife and official leader of the Lynburns, Lillian Lynburn.  Also, the link between Kami and Jared was cut so she is no longer his source. After all that, one would really expect an exciting and action-packed sequel, right? Unfortunately, Untold was disappointingly downright boring.

The problem was not the plot because the general gist of it does show that Kami was doing everything in her ability to be of help (despite unwanted) to Lillian and save Sorry-in-the-Vale from Rob’s wrath. However, the execution was all weird and it gave the story a similar vibe to that of idling. The whole town is on the verge of chaos and instead of focusing on the tension of the dire situation, it felt like Brennan put too much emphasis on the mundane and unimportant bits of the story that leave you wondering how in the world said bits even contribute to the plot.

The romance, on the other hand, was insanely spectacular and worlds away from the monotonous story-telling. Kami and Jared’s relationship is the Paragon of all complicated relationships. Although I’m usually not a fan of volatile guys who seem like bad news, I really loved Jared. He was such an intricate character and throughout the entire book, all I wanted to do was crawl into his mind and figure out everything about him. While Jared was a complete enigma, Kami was like an open book. She’s definitely a unique character what with all her sassiness and her determination and hardworking attitude actually seemed genuine. Because in some books I’ve come across, when a protagonist tries to be diligent, it comes off a little like a forced & lousy attempt to make him/her seem more human.

Regardless of being so different, Jared and Kami fit together like puzzle pieces. Moreover, Brennan beautifully portrayed their relationship, both the ups and downs, through simple yet poignant scenes that never ever felt even the tiniest bit cliché or cheesy. One of my favorites was this particular segment where they were cleaning each others’ wounds due to another particular event that caused them to be slightly wounded in the first place. It was such a normal yet intimate activity and an utterly lovely scene. If the carrying out of the plot had been as incredible of the implementation of Jared and Kami’s link, Untold would’ve been a seriously good book.

Around the middle of Untold, I did consider not continuing with The Lynburn Legacy after this sequel but unsurprisingly, the events surrounding Jared and Kami changed my mind at the very end, just like back when I had finished Unspoken. Had it not been for Jared’s actions in the very last chapter, I honestly would not have considered reading the final novel, Unmade, unless I had a lot of time on my hands. Now, however, I’m really looking forward to finding out how Kami will handle the situation and what, exactly, are Rob Lynburn’s plans for Sorry-in-the-Vale. Should you read this? That of course, is up to you alone but do prepare to be slightly let down. Yet, if you live for the Kami-Jared moments like I do, then that is one aspect of Untold that will definitely leave you satisfied.

Adelena

Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken UK

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Series: The Lynburn Legacy #1
Published: 11 September 2012
Simon & Schuster Children’s Books
Paperback, 373 pages
Source: Library

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Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met… a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. Having an imaginary friend has made fitting in hard – but that’s never bothered Kami. She has her best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is just the way she likes it.

But all that changes when the mysterious Lynburn family return to Kami’s village, along with teenagers, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami…

As life as she knows it begins to unravel, Kami is determined to get to the bottom of every mystery. 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?

And can she trust him?

Rating: ★★★½

Based on reading experience alone, I would probably give Unspoken a lower rating but the theory of it just fascinated me too much. Telepathy? Mystery? A seemingly sleepy English town? What’s not to like about that? However, before getting on to the actual reviewing, I regrettably have a strong urge to drop a few comments on the cover of the UK paperback edition. I definitely feel the original hardcover cover was a hundred times more gorgeous but the true issue I had with it was that Jared’s scar was on the wrong side of his face. I’m not sure if that bugged anyone else but it was pretty annoying to me.

Alright, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, on to the genuine review!

Although I loved the concept of Unspoken, I unfortunately felt sleepy throughout the duration of reading it. I can’t exactly ascertain why that was so but the vibe and atmosphere I felt from the book was simply hazy and soporific. Or maybe that was just Angela, Kami’s best friend who was incredibly lazy and loved to nap, rubbing off on me?

Moving on to the characters, they were all so quirky! However, sometimes Kami and her friends seemed overly so, making their actions and personalities hard to understand. In quite a few of Kami, Angela & Holly’s conversations, I could only stare blankly in confusion because they sounded completely random. That, could also be due to the fact that I’m not frequently exposed to girls from tranquil English towns hence my lack of comprehension.

Despite that, I was utterly engrossed with the Lynburns, mostly because they all appeared to be hiding mountainous piles of ominous secrets. On my preference between Ash and Jared, I would pick Jared although I’m usually adversed to bad boys in books. It’s just that Jared, regardless of being volatile, was such a deep character. His loyalty to Kami was downright admirable and his concern for her so sweet when he usually acted blasé about everything else in life.

Honestly, I wished Kami treated Jared a little better because some of her choices regarding him were understandable yet selfish. I have yet to decide whether Kami’s tendency to hurt Jared with her decisions is a reasonable flaw because a perfect protagonist would just be unrealistic but it was heartbreaking to witness his pain. Basically, I’m feeling conflicted about a lot of things between Kami and Jared.

The plot of Unspoken was quite slow at first but gradually progressed towards the end. The mystery factor could have been upped as I barely felt any excitement during the investigations Kami organized and a pinch of more creepiness would not hurt either. With respect to the truth behind the Lynburns, I won’t reveal it but I’m definitely thankful they were not vampires nor werewolves. That would have ruined the whole book. Brennan successfully painted a detailed and vibrant history for the Lynburn family and their kind. I really loved the references she made to some well known historical myths!

In the end, Unspoken was a fairly interesting gothic novel though I don’t feel like I’ve fully connected to the story. Nevertheless, the insane ending definitely has me hooked for the next installment, Untold, and I’ve got to admit that whatever is going on between Kami and Jared, I desperately want to follow it to the very end.

Adelena

Stacking the Shelves (#3)

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Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews where all the books we got recently would be featured – no matter physical or digital; bought, borrowed, won or gifted.

Hey lovelies! I usually post my Stacking the Shelves posts on Sundays but I was too busy baking yesterday, hence the delay. Anyway, this post would be a condensed one of all the books I’ve gotten for the past few weeks since the last time I posted a Stacking the Shelves post was about a month ago (the holiday season sure was busy!).

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For Review:

  • Three (Article 5 #3) by Kristen Simmons [via NetGalley]

Bought:

Borrowed:

Thank you Macmillan for providing my an eARC of Three by Kristin Simmons! As many of you know, it was listed in the Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR and I simply can’t wait to start on it! These Broken Stars was actually more of a pre-order that finally arrived (YAY!) but I decided to include it anyway. As for the borrowed books, all are titles I’ve been pretty excited about although I’ve already read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and loved it. However, that was all the way back in 2011 so I decided it was time for a reread before moving on to the sequel, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, and finally awaiting the last installment, The Retribution of Mara Dyer.

Overall, I’m very ecstatic to dive right into these reads! What books have you been stacking you shelves with this week?

Adelena