Beating Stephenie Meyer at Her Own Game

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

First Look:

Charming and cute, yet spooky.  I love it!

Jacket Copy:

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?

Sequel?

Yep, it’s got a sequel coming in September (I feel like I’m saying that a lot lately).

Worth Reading?

Depends on how sick you are of love triangles and paranormal romance.  I will give it points for being different (unexplained specific telepathy), for leaving the reader in some suspense about who is the “right guy”, and for the heroine.

Notable Things:

Smart, active, wisecracking female lead!  Honestly, Kami is one of two things that save this book from being another boring paranormal.  The other is…

(Real) Gothic Romance!  So I totally went through a Victoria Holt phase in middle school.  She was the queen of the gothic romance–where the heroine is never quite sure (until the end) if the hero can be trusted–but she can’t help loving him!  Although it’s not my favorite anymore (often the heroines are sort of useless), Kami redeems that aspect here.  And it was nostalgic for me to read this kind of plot again.  Stephenie Meyer tried this, and failed miserably.

Well-done love triangle!  (If you want to get technical, I suppose Gone With the Wind contains a love quadrangle, because of Mellie, but no one cares about Mellie.)  Three-cornered romances are EVERYWHERE these days (another thing we can blame on Stephenie Meyer’s ham-handed efforts), but only rarely is there any doubt about who the heroine will pick.  Brennan creates some doubt.

Elaboration:

Basically, it was a fun, nostalgic read for me.  If you just can’t take another paranormal romance or love triangle, steer clear, but if you like those things, pick up Unspoken for a better-than-average iteration of them.  I’ve also heard really good things about her Demon’s Lexicon series, so I think I’ll be reading those later.

Disclosure:

Borrowed from work.

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