Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

I know I’ve said this before but I love how hilarious Sarah Rees Brennan is. I follow her on her blog and Twitter and I think she’s really funny. I also know she has excellent taste in books, as proven by her Queen’s Thief Week guest post and by the number of recommendations that I’ve gotten from her. I’ve also enjoyed reading the first two Demon’s Lexicon novels (I know, I know, really need to pick up the third). So I was mighty curious when I first heard about Unspoken’s premise. I read this before leaving Manila a few weeks ago but because I’ve been having a reviewing slump, I haven’t gotten the chance to talk about it. Since it’s being released soon, I thought it’s high time I write a post about it.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

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?

Kami lives in a quiet little town called Sorry-in-the-Vale. She has a pretty unusual life for a teenage girl – she has a quirky family and a best friend who’s beautiful but anti-social. Add the fact that she keeps talking to someone in her mind and it’s not surprising that her classmates find her a bit weird. Here’s a nice little snippet early on that illustrates this:

“Kami had been hearing a voice in her head all her life. When she was eight, people had thought it was cute that she had an imaginary friend. It was very different now that she was seventeen. Kami was accustomed to people thinking she was crazy.”

I liked Kami right from the start – she’s smart, petite, partly Asian, dreams of becoming an investigative reporter and has a unique fashion sense that I envy. I feel like we’d get along if we ever met in person. She’s like a modern-day Nancy Drew or a Mary Stewart heroine. The connection between Kami and Jared just added to my curiosity – I wanted to know what was behind their ability to silently communicate with each other even if they’ve never met in person.

“If I wasn’t going to be a world-famous journalist and if I didn’t have such respect for truth and justice, I could be an amazing master criminal.”

Kami, as illustrated by Jasmin Darnell

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Kami and her interactions with Jared, as well as the rest of the characters in the books. I liked that we get to know the secondary characters really well even though the focus of the story is Kami and Jared’s relationship. There was a lot of banter in the novel, which I expected since it’s written by Sarah Rees Brennan. I’m usually not a fan of love triangles but I didn’t mind that Unspoken sort of had something like that. Just a heads up though, there’s a cliffhanger ending so if you’re the type of reader who doesn’t like that, it might be better if you wait for the sequel. Can’t wait to find out what happens next to both Kami and Jared! Unspoken is a really good read, I liked it even better than the two Demon’s Lexicon novels that I’ve read. Highly recommended so go and grab a copy when it comes out on September 11. As an added bonus, Sarah Rees Brennan released this prequel short story called The Summer Before I Met You.

Other reviews:
Book Harbinger
Random Musings of a Bibliophile
Cuddlebuggery Book Blog

Queen’s Thief Week: Guest Post by Sarah Rees Brennan

Sarah Rees Brennan is the author of the Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, which is an urban fantasy series about demons, magic and two brothers – Nick and Alan. She has two books due to be released this year – Team Human (co-authored with Justine Larbalestier) and Unspoken – and I’m really looking forward to reading both. I follow Sarah on her blog, Twitter and Tumblr and she’s hilarious in all of those venues. She’s been very vocal about her love of the Queen’s Thief series and I was delighted when she graciously agreed to do a guest post, in spite of her busy schedule.

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THE QUEEN’S THIEF, SARAH AND BOOKPUSHING

I found the Queen’s Thief series the same way I know a lot of us find the best books: a friend recommended them to me. Specifically, my friend Holly Black.

I was twenty-three and an Irish chickadee living in England, doing a Master’s and working as a library assistant. The year before that, I’d been living in New York and working as a publishing intern, and Holly was one of many kind Americans who snatched me out of traffic and explained things like ‘We call spaghetti hoops spaghetti-Os here.’

Naturally my faith in her is implicit! So she said to me ‘You love a twisty book. You love The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. You will love Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief.’

Well, it was easy to get it! It was in the library where I worked. I picked it up off the shelf, put it in my bag, walked home and sat down on my little blue sofa, where I opened it.

A couple of hours later, I looked up from the last page of the book.

My tea was very cold. Outside the windows it was dark. Neither of those things seemed to matter very much. I gave some deep thought to what I wanted from life.

What I wanted from life was immediately to read the book again, checking from the start and at every turn that Megan Whalen Turner really had laid it out there carefully and cleverly, that I had not been cheated but had been wonderfully surprised.

So I switched on the light, and did not move from the sofa until I had read the whole thing again. It was a lovely evening. I promptly asked my loving parents for Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia for Christmas.

My love has been true ever since that day: it has only grown, since my favourite of the series (so far) is The King of Attolia. (Love, baby! And tricks with narrators. AND LOVE, ONE OF THE GREATEST FICTIONAL ROMANCES OF OUR TIME.)

I was actually on tour with Holly Black for her White Cat and my Demon’s Covenant where at a school appearance we were doing, we met a lovely girl who was a huge Megan Whalen Turner fan… we’d both acquired an advance copy of Conspiracy of Kings via nefarious means. (Okay, maybe Holly’s means weren’t nefarious, I don’t know. MINE WERE.)

LOVELY LADY: And of course the end of Conspiracy of Kings is different than in the advance copy…
HOLLY & SARAH: What! Where! WHAT! IS IT? WHERE’S THE NEAREST BOOKSHOP?

My roommate in Ireland has read chiefly what I gave her since we met in college, and one day she unwisely mentioned she wished there were more books like Harry Potter. I listened to her with a blank expression that I was later informed was slightly terrifying, and the next day brought in a pile of books by Diana Wynne Jones and murmured ‘These are better.’ ‘What, what are you doing?’ she asked. ‘Read them,’ I said, my voice still low and fervent and scary. ‘Read them…’

She resisted the Queen’s Thief series. ‘These look like high fantasy,’ she said, rebelliously. ‘Oh, they are,’ I said. ‘Gods and so forth. Greek mythology rather than English folklore stuff. Read them…’

It took me a few years to bring her around. Then she read The Thief. I was away for the weekend.

When I came back, she owned her own copies of Queen of Attolia and King of Attolia. ‘You weren’t here,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t find them! I had to do something! They’re SO GOOD!’

So we have two sets of Megan Whalen Turner books at our house. I feel this is for the best.

The moral of my story? Friends don’t let friends not read Megan Whalen Turner books.
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Thank you, Sarah! Love the moral of your story. I’m sure you’ve managed to convince more readers to read the books. Queen’s Thief Week’s Thursday is all about spreading the word about the series – first with Angie’s bibliovangelizing and now Sarah with this post. Feel free to share your own book pushing stories related to Megan Whalen Turner’s books.