I just finished Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. This is another first in novel in a series that is bent towards YA paranormal romance. At least I think the romance part is part of the series… But we will get to that.
Kami Glass is a smart high schooler in a small little place in England called Sorry-in-the-Vale. She’s just convinced the school to let her start a school newspaper and she wants to go to Cambridge to study journalism. This has happened just in time for the Lynburn’s return to the town. And with their return, comes all sorts of secrets, strange happenings and sorcery.
Ash and Jared are cousins, Lynburn’s and sorcerers. Yep, they deal with magic. And bad things happen when they are around. But the strange things didn’t really start with their return as there was something strange about Jared and Kami from the beginning. Kami has an imaginary friend named Jared. Jared has an imaginary friend named Kami. And when the Lynburn’s return, we discover that the imaginary friends weren’t so much imaginary as a psychic connection between Jared and Kami. She is never alone as he is always there in her thoughts and she is always in his. And of course the link is uber-important to the story in more ways than one.
Now, without spoiling everything in the review (it’s sort of a big enough spoiler to know that sorcery is the brand of magic we are dealing with here, since the reader is pretty far into the book before this is confirmed), Kami, Ash, Jared and some of Kami’s other girl friends are off to solve a mystery that has timed itself quite coincidentally with the Lynburn’s return. Dead animals, dead school girls, attempts on Kami’s life, and of course the mystery as to who or what the Lynburn’s are and why they are important and whether they are good or evil are all tied up in the mystery.
But, the biggest mystery is where is the love story. The blurb (and I know, I am so very often disappointed by the expectations the back cover, amazon blurb, etc. sets) says: “Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born.” But she doesn’t really seem to feel that way. She goes on a date with Ash and she has a few thoughts about severing the link with Jared so she could be a regular girl to him, but that is really it. And for readers of the two short stories about the summer before they meet… Well, they set up much more of a relationship than we see. There is just the mere morsel of romance, sort of, thrown in. Kami seems to like both Ash and Jared, Ash seems to like her, and Jared can’t live without their link but doesn’t really seem to want Kami like that.
As characters go, I like the cast we are given. Kami has great wit and they all seem to be written well enough that I can imagine the group of friends that they are. I also like the little morsels about the characters, even the peripheral characters like Kami’s brothers Ten and Tomo and the obsession by one of them for lemonade. I read a review or two complaining about how mature Kami is – but she’s 17… not exactly a young teenager. And she is smart and witty – I think she’s a perfect protagonist and a nice smart young lady – I am happy to read her point of view throughout the series.
The one other thing that seems to be missing are some of the details around the ending. If you blink you might miss it. What is there is heart breaking and happens fast enough that I read it three times and am still not quite sure what happened. Maybe it just means I need to wait for the next book. There is a nice basis for a different type of magic story, so I am looking forward to Lynburn Legacy #2, when ever it comes out.