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The Unspoken Name

(The Serpent Gates #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  7,017 ratings  ·  1,537 reviews
What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does. She will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice. On the day of her foretold death, however, a powerful mage offers her a new fate.

Csorwe leaves her home, her destiny, and her god to become the wizard's loyal sword-hand -- stealing, spying, and killing to help h
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Tor Books
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Chiffchaff 'He' is a 'she' - so she can probably relate to legions of misgendered female writers. …more'He' is a 'she' - so she can probably relate to legions of misgendered female writers. (less)

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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  7,017 ratings  ·  1,537 reviews

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Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs-read
It is done. ((body floods with relief))

I feel beyond accomplished having completed A.K. Larkwood's debut Adult Fantasy novel, The Unspoken Name.

Honestly, this was quite a challenging read for me.

Csorwe, sounds like doorway, is a teenage girl who has been raised to become the sacrificial wife of the Unspoken One, an ancient god living within the earth.

Entombed on what is to be her death day, a mysterious mage appears and offers to rescue her and provide her with a new life.

She decides to accept
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
UPDATE: $2.99 Kindle US today 5/10/21

4.5 stars

I’m definitely getting the audio to go with my hardback! This book took me by surprise! I had no idea it was going to be like this and I quite enjoyed it. I love Csorwe!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Kai Spellmeier
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, queer
me, screaming: I will go down with this friend ship

Where has this queer high fantasy book been all my life? Kai is shooketh.

I wish I knew where to start. There are so many aspects of this book that filled me with pure joy: frenemies, world building, characters, twists, diversity. No hard feelings!!! Ugh.

I'm going to start with the one thing that could have been improved: the pacing. Overall, this is a finely plotted story. It spans over 8 to 9 years and I think it wouldn't have hurt to stretch t
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC provided by the publisher—Tor UK—in exchange for an honest review.

The Unspoken Name is a terrifically-written debut that merged science fiction, space-opera, and high fantasy into one inventive book that’s incredibly suitable for SFF enthusiast.

One look into the striking cover art by Billelis, and I already wanted to speak about this book. My urge to read this book increased when both Nicholas Eames—the author behind The Band series— and Dyrk Ashton—the author behind Paternus trilogy—recomme
Chelsea Humphrey
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it

"Unspoken and Unspeakable One, Knight of Abyss, Overseer of the Eaten Worlds, praise and reverence unto your Chosen Bride. May she intercede for us."

What an exceptional debut! The Unspoken Name is difficult to summarize; the story is an ambitious blend of epic high fantasy and space opera/science fiction, which will tickle the fancy of fans of both tremendously. From the very beginning, I got the vibe that this book would be the lovechild of the writing styles and world building of Bran
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Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

“You frightened of ghosts? Whatever it is you’re scared of in the dark, that’s what you become.”

The cover, the synopsis and early reviews all made me believe that I was going to read something very special! Unfortunately, I am not impressed by this debut. I wish I did but It was just acceptable for me!

I had 2 problems with the book, the writing which was too dense for me and affected all other things in the story and
Feb 29, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
dnf @ 50%

this had all the elements that I love but something about it just wasn't working for me and it felt like a chore to read
TS Chan
ARC received from the publisher, Tor UK, in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars.

The Unspoken Name is a commendable fantasy debut with fascinating worldbuilding ideas.

With so many fantasy debuts cropping up every year, it is not an easy task to differentiate oneself from the rest. In this respect, Larkwood has created an interesting setting that blended old-world god worship that bestows magic, and science fiction or technological elements such as skyships and a dimensional plane called the
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.75ish stars.

It doesn't revolutionize the genre, but I must say that I like reading traditional fantasy epics written by women when the genre has historically been saturated by male authors (whose works are often indistinguishable). And Larkwood infuses enough urban sensibilities and sci-fi elements to keep it from being too traditional.

As far as being epic, the book tries very hard to assure us of the gigantic scope, more to its detriment than anything. A lot of world-building elements were i
Spencer Orey
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A good fantasy debut with a lot of cool magic and fascinating set pieces.

There are evil scheming gods and dying worlds in between thriving cities. There are also a lot of great allusions to fantasy classics here. The opening chapter has a nice Tombs of Atuan but-they're-all-orcs vibe. Later, there's a part with more of a Robin Hobb setting, full of assassins in training who get brutally heartbrokenly antagonized.

Through the interplay of magic, cultures, and drama, I got a sense of how alive and
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Thank you NetGalley and Tor Books for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

What a fascinating premise to this new fantasy novel. How can anyone who's a fan of the genre resist? Unfortunately, the reality fell short of the premise, which is always a disappointment.

The first part of the book dragged more than it needed to, and then I noticed a pattern throughout the rest of it until I arrived at the fourth and final section of The Unspoken Name. Ch

I haven't read a new fantasy this exciting in a long time. Mostly, I think I fell in love because it was so different. I had no fkn clue what was going to happen.

Blurb keywords:
Death cult. Old magic. Sacrifice. Powerful mage. Spy. Assassin. Reclaim. All debts become due.

Honestly, how could you not be sold after that???

Csorwe is our protagonist and she's a total badass. She's also loyal AF to Sethennai, the mage who saved her life. (And if the names are scaring you, don't str
Charlotte Kersten
"She told him the plan. It was loud and dumb and very likely to hurt, so, of course, he agreed."

So What's It About?

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard's loyal sword. Topple an empire
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtiq, fantasy
What an unexpectedly wonderful book.

This is a multiverse-based fantasy book with multiple cross-universe sentient species, magic, technology, gods and monsters. Csorwe is a young female Oshaaru, grey-skinned with gold eyes and tusks, and is a Chosen Bride of the Unspoken, which leaves her revered and with the gift of prophecy, but doomed to be sacrificed to her god at fourteen. Sethennai, a mage from a different world and a different species intervenes in her sacrifice, giving her a different pa
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A. K. Larkwood’s The Unspoken Name is among the most creative, exciting, and brilliantly-told epic fantasy novels I’ve read. It is an immersive experience that grabbed my attention early on, then grew at a staggering rate until I found myself being launched through fantastic worlds, meeting wonderful characters, and caught in a magnetic prose that left me spellbound. Larkwood has a tremendous talent for building upon the best parts of what makes fantasy great and elevates it all with her own das ...more
Feb 02, 2020 marked it as to-read
yo this sounds crazy, where do I sign up?
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved very many things about this. The worldbuilding is impeccable and wonderfully integrated into the main storyline, giving just enough details to make the world(s) believable without overwhelming the narrative. I loved the prose which I found lyrical enough to work for me while being somehow quintessentially “fantasy”. I nearly always love fantasy books dealing with deities and this one was no exception. Set in a multi-world multiverse governed by many different deities, some of these half ...more
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tor must have heard me begging the gods for a high fantasy novel written by a woman because my prayers have been answered. Not only is this book so unlike anything I’ve ever read, it’s incredibly well done (I speak as someone who hasn’t read a ton of high fantasy though). Csorwe’s story is one that will stay with me for a while and I highly recommend you all preorder this one 👀

*special thanks to Tor for sending me an arc of this in exchange for an honest review
Deborah Obida
The Unspoken Name has one of the best synopsis I've read in a while, I was so ready to fall head over heels, then I read it and I was disappointed. The worst part is that this book has so much potential, the content in this book is enough for two books but somehow the author did a terrible job at plot execution.
I liked the fight scenes, there were well depicted. This book is also diverse, both racially and sexually, Csorwe the protagonist is even queer. There are also different creatures in this
Library of a Viking
Enjoyable but hard to recommend

Let me start by saying that, overall, I did enjoy this book. However, there are some significant flaws with the story that makes it very hard to recommend. However, let’s start with what I loved. Firstly, The Unspoken Name is an incredibly imaginative and creative story. The world-building is crazy with multiple worlds, dead gods, spaceships and magic, making this feel like an epic fantasy set in a futuristic sci-fi world. Reading a fantasy book with such a unique
Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany)
****2022 Reread****
I'm glad I read this again before diving into the sequel! I had forgotten a lot of the details. And the fact that this book feels so fast paced! A lot happens and I love it. One thing I noticed this time is the parallels between Csorwe and Shuthmili- two women who grow up in religions that try to curtail their choices and determine their life paths. At it's core, this book is about breaking free from those constraints and living the life that you choose. And it's a book that i
Mel (Epic Reading)
The Unspoken Name is a lesson in why beautiful prose just isn’t enough. This is a gorgeous story. It’s written in a vivid (albeit sometimes confusing language) with lots of world building and depth. A. K. Larkwood takes us on an elaborate, lengthy journey where years pass by allowing our characters to grow and change. There is a tension held just below the surface of the story that keeps you flipping pages and wanting to scream at characters to just do things (like kiss, even though the romance ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: qf, qm, fantasy, q, arc, best-mcs, adult, yff, db, loved-it
The Unspoken Name is a book that understands that the way to my heart is to add as many unhinged immortal beings as you can possibly fit into a book. It has so many and I'm in love with each and every one of them

[4.5 stars.]

This is a difficult book to review, because I often didn't want to pick it up when I was in the middle of it, but now that I've finished it, I like it more the more I think about it. What I struggled with the most was the pacing, which is... strange. To make an example, there
I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

Coming up with a way to first introduce The Unspoken Name in a review is, at the very least, complicated. This is a novel with many layers and many aspects that cohabit peacefully with one another, and to put focus on one before the others would be to build wrongful expectations for what is the end result.

...and there I tricked you by giving you what I feel like should b
Nils | nilsreviewsit
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

“Nothing in this world has earned the power to frighten you, Csorwe”
The Unspoken Name is the first book in The Serpent Gates series by A.K. Larkwood, and bloody hell folks, what a debut this is! Fast paced, sophisticatedly written, genre blending - I’m absolutely certain this is set to be well loved amongst many SFF readers alike.

Wait, that’s all you need to know, right? That’s enough to make you add the book to your to-be-read list immediately, right? Well it should be! But for those
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
For I have felt nothing and nothing has been felt!
Dyrk Ashton
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First, I want to thank Tor for giving me a super-early sneak peek at this. I'm totally honored (and baffled) to be thought of as cool enough to be afforded such a privileged.

And even better, The Unspoken Name is a truly wonderful book. It grabbed my attention on the first page and wouldn’t let go. To me, it’s got the classic feel of the best of Le Guin, while also being progressively fresh, exciting and new, with story and sensibilities akin to something like R.J. Barker's Age of Assassins-meets
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Larkwood has filled The Unspoken Name with some absolutely amazing stuff and the star of the show is Csorwe, a teenage Orc girl raised from birth to be a sacrificial virgin for a god who dwells in a deep cave among revenants (the undead). On almost a lark at the moment she alone enters the dark cave as the "chosen bride" of the Unspoken one, she runs off with a visiting wizard and becomes his apprentice for years on end.

But the mountain where the monastery is happens to be but a small corner of
Jan 08, 2020 marked it as to-read

That cover. That synopsis. I am SO EXCITED to start reading this.

Thanks so much to Tor for approving our ARC of this on NetGalley

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A wonderful, unique, dark epic fantasy that kept me guessing throughout with its unexpected twists and turns in plot. Csorwe starts out a somewhat meek orc priestess destined to die at age 14 as a sacrifice to her people's god. A mage politician in exile, Sethennai, dares her to run from her fate and work for him.

For years she does his bidding of espionage and murder but without ever feeling like she is valued or cared for. When on assignment (with her frenemy Tal, also obsessed with winning Se
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A K Larkwood is a science fiction and fantasy writer and enthusiast. She studied English at St John's College, Cambridge. She has worked in higher education & media relations, and is now studying law. She lives in Oxford, England, with her wife and a cat. ...more

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The Serpent Gates (2 books)
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For those of us on the nerdier end of the book-person spectrum, nothing satisfies quite like epic fantasy. There’s something about the grand...
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“She told him the plan. It was loud and dumb and very likely to hurt, so, of course, he agreed.” 14 likes
“No hard feelings, you piece of shit.” 12 likes
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