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The Unspoken Name

(The Serpent Gates #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  213 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.

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
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Tor Books
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Chaima ✨ شيماء
A heroine rejects honorable martyrdom for a life of debauchery and lawlessness and joins the villain's side? SAY NO MORE AND TAKE MY MONEY
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Petrik by: Nicholas Eames
ARC provided by the publisher—Tor UK—in exchange for an honest review.

4.5/5 stars

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
Chelsea Humphrey
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Chelsea by: Petrik

"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
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

Thank you so much, Tor, for my ARC!!!
This story sounds incredible.


Tor, continuing to bring heavy fantasy game in 2020
This sounds EPIC!!
This reminded me of the series my grandma watch where things keep going back and forth and I am bored a bit!
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
Feb 02, 2020 marked it as to-read
yo this sounds crazy, where do I sign up?
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 ...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
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
Blog | Instagram | Twitter

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. Chapters in
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
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 be
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
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
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

Blog | FB | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube
Mel (Epic Reading)
Nov 12, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: arc-netgalley
Sooo excited!! This one sounds great! I’m a sucker for sacrificial folks becoming badasses. This is my main hope for this book.
Advance thanks to TOR and NetGalley for my ARC.
Reading and review post closer to release date.
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Unspoken Name is a rich and compelling fantasy debut by a new name in the literary game and is the opening instalment in a proposed duology (some places say trilogy) entitled The Serpent Gates series. It's an epic coming-of-age fantasy with a modern sensibility, featuring ruthless mages, hungry gods, ancient tombs, and rival sorcerers. 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 honoured title: ...more
K.S. Marsden
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Csorwe never doubts her duty as a sacrificial lamb, until a mysterious stranger offers the chance at life. Csorwe will become a loyal warrior and spy, until an encounter with an unusual woman makes her question what she really wants.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Csorwe (pronounced like 'doorway') is a young orc priestess, and she has been chosen to serve as the Unspoken One's vessel and will be sacrificed when she turns fourteen. She is content with her
Holly (The Grimdragon)
"Glancing back she saw the dead, a shambling train flowing down the hillside toward them, like water settling into a groove. One or two of the nearest broke away from the line and started following Csorwe instead. Once they were properly drawn off, she doubled back and started running in the other direction. A little way ahead, Shuthmili stumbled on, taking great gulps of air."

The Unspoken Name is the first book in A.K. Larkwood's debut series, The Serpent Gates.

This one is getting a ton of love
Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

I want to thank NetGalley & Tor Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

I feel really surprised that this is a debut book and I feel very happy to have read it before its release date. This is a very ambitious but very well executed fantasy that I think takes the genre to a new place and gives it a lot of originality, especially due to its subtle mix with sci-fi. That's why I highly recommend it if you're like me, a fan of fantasy, and feel that you have already
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of The Unspoken Name from the publisher (Tor UK) in exchange for an honest review.

4.5 stars

An extraordinary debut from a fresh and exciting new voice in fantasy!

It has been a while since I added a book by an unknown author to my tbr that fast. It was unavoidable though, as the blurb of the Unspoken Name spoke to me! On the day of her inevitable death as a sacrificial bride to the god of desolation, Csorwe is gifted a choice. She can ignore her fate and walk away from this
Ash | Wild Heart Reads
16/01/19 - temporarily on hold. I know this is the type of book I could love but for whatever reason I'm not feeling it at the moment so rather than push through and end up disliking it, I'm gonna wait till I am in the mood so I can enjoy it
Jessie Sedai of the Black Ajah🥀🐍
An orc-inspired, wizard infested fantasy novel, you say?

Hold on, let me:

1.) Pause my World of Warcraft raid.

2.) Put away my Magic the Gathering deck.

3.) Tell my Dungeon Master to GTFO.

Because I know what I'm doing for the foreseeable future and it involves devouring this book from start to finish.

And what a wild ride it was. What a completely innovative, unique, entertaining roller coaster. I will admit the first 30% had me nervous - it was a little unstructured, a little meandering. And then
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Definitely unique, rich in detail and absolutely something that will stand out, The Unspoken Name is a great debut for author Larkwood.

With an original blend of genres and a setting with a time span of years, this is definitely a story that took it's time evolving, growing and being created. From the full character development to the world building, this story was heavy on the details and little was left to the imagination.

All in all a great start to a series and something fresh and fun for
c, (½ of readsrainbow)
You have looked your foretold death in the face and turned from it in defiance. Nothing in this world or any other deserves your fear.

On my blog.

Rep: lesbian mcs, gay mc, bi side character

Galley provided by publisher

You know when you finish a book and you have a lot of feelings and not a whole lot of words and so you think, I’ll just leave this review til I find the words, but then you never find them and you end up having to write a rambling review that’s basically just READ THIS BOOK a
Jul 22, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: arc, etbr
I hear f/f fantasy, I want to read the book
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was kindly gifted to me by the publisher Tor in exchange for a honest review.


The Unspoken Name is a story that begins with Csorwe, a young orc priestess who is destined to be sacrificed to her God when she comes of age. She has known this for a long time and yet when she is given the opportunity to flee with mage Belthandros Sethennai she dives at the chance and finds herself journeying and completing tasks to acheive Sethennai's goal of obtaining the Reliquary. A object which
Well, I have found a new favorite fantasy novel! The Unspoken Name is a juggernaut of a debut and one I would commend to fans of high fantasy. In it, we follow an orc priestess named Csorwe who is to be the sacrificial bride of the god that she serves. Instead, she flees her destiny to become the assassin of a sorcerer. I don't want to say too much more about the plot because much of the fun is in its discovery, but there are twists and turns, expansive world-building, complex characters with ...more
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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.
“No hard feelings, you piece of shit.” 2 likes
“Sethennai had put on some kind of rosewater scent and worn his collar unbuttoned. Tal hadn’t retained much information.” 0 likes
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