Monday, 28 April 2014
Author: Sarah Rees Brennan
Genre: Supernatural, Young Adult, Mystery
Type: ebook from local library
Series: #1 in the Lynburn Legacy series
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
First Published: September 2012
First Line: "Every town in England has a story."
Book Description from GoodReads: Kami Glass is in love with someone she’s never met – a boy the rest of the world is convinced is imaginary. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she doesn’t complain. She runs the school newspaper and keeps to herself for the most part – until disturbing events begin to happen. There has been screaming in the woods and the dark, abandoned manor on the hill overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. As Kami starts to investigate for the paper, she finds out that the town she has loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets- and a murderer- and the key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy who everyone thought was imaginary may be real…and he may be dangerous.
My Review: I waited a loooong time to get this ebook from my local library. With such a high in demand book I figured it had to be an 'edge-of-your-seat/not getting anything else done until I'm finished this book' kind of good. Sadly, it just wasn't. My overall my feelings towards this book can be described as lackluster (and disappointed, if truth be told). Unspoken also received awesome review and high ratings on GoodReads and Amazon but I guess I just don't see why. The premise was great but the execution? Not so much.
The book started out strong. From the beginning the reader is faced with the unique connection that Kami has with a mysterious person. I was eager to find out who Kami had the connection with but once that was divulged (about one-third of the way through) the momentum petered off and I started to lose interest.
Unfortunately by that time not enough had happened in the book to propel the storyline. Sure the humour was refreshing and the banter (especially between Kami's family) was great but the author has to give me a reason to stick with the mystery and I just didn't get that with this book. Don't get me wrong, the dry humour/banter between Kami and other characters was quite funny and was the highlight of the book for me but even the one-liners and zingers they'd throw at each other became too much after awhile. I do love me some dry humour but no one really talks that way all the time and it started to feel contrived and the situations set up just so that a good joke could be included.
I think the issue is that the book focused much more on the teenage angst and trying to sound cool by overusing teen slang. In the end I feel the reader is left with secondary characters that were just okay - if not a little clichéd. Like the brooding and ultra cynical Angela (I'm still trying to figure out why Angela loves to nap so much. Part of me wonders if there's a supernatural reason but the other part of me thinks it's just Angela's defining 'thing' which would just be odd). I think better use of the secondary characters (and giving them more depth) would have saved this book for me.
Initially Kami came off as an interesting character but her decisions and her inability to stop thinking about her relationship with her mystery man made her (dare I say it) start to resemble Bella Swan. Kami, you don't need a boy to feel complete! Where is the girl power? I think the author was going for romantic angst but instead I was left with a love starved wussy main character. Instead of focusing on the dangerous issues at hand she's more concerned that her man is angry with her. Wha?
Kami also didn't make the smartest choices and paid the price every time. I don't like it when the protagonist has no issues to deal with but, on the other hand, it quickly got frustrating seeing Kami take risks that I don't think a normal person would take. Stupidly dangerous give-your-head-a-shake type risks. Kami also has a lot of dialogue in the book. She talks a lot to her friends and love interest and she talks a lot in her own head. Put a cork in it, girl! Shut yer mouth, stop having the same argument with your man (and yourself) over and over again and get on with finding out 'whodunnit' already! Less chatter more action would have kept this book's pace high.
This book had a very interesting premise but, for me anyway, just didn't deliver the suspenseful read that I was hoping for. I know I'm in the minority on this book and after reading this review you may see me as a persnickety old biddy who just doesn't 'get' the YA genre at times. But I do love this genre and therefore expect it to be good. Teens need and should expect great writing, characters and plot too. Throwing in some 'Will they? Won't they?' romantic angst with weak characters and a lackluster plot isn't showcasing what is truly awesome about this genre.
My Rating: 2/5 stars