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The Unspoken Name

(The Serpent Gates #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,099 ratings  ·  435 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 assassinthe wizard's loyal sword. Topple
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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chai ♡
The premise of queer orc assassins and magical intrigue had me clamoring to read the Unspoken Name, but the novels offerings left me unmoved, and about a quarter through the story, that initial cheeriness fell from my face, like a person slipping into sleep. Once my mind started to meander and the boredom glazed my eyes and I had to squint the words into focus, every page feeling like a heavy stone lifted with terrible effort and dropped again and again to the ground, I knew I had to call it a ...more
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Petrik by: Nicholas Eames
ARC provided by the publisherTor UKin 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 thats 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 Eamesthe author behind The Band series and Dyrk Ashtonthe author behind Paternus trilogy
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
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
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs-read

Phew. I feel so accomplished having completed this. Honestly, this is a fairly challenging read.

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

Locked into a tomb on what is to be the day of her death, a mage appears and offers to rescue her and provide her with a new life.

She decides to accept his offer and flees with him. Over time she lives with him and trains to be his assassin.

She feels she owes
This ReviewBlog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

You frightened of ghosts? Whatever it is youre scared of in the dark, thats 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 the
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 29, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: 2020
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

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
Feb 02, 2020 marked it as to-read
yo this sounds crazy, where do I sign up?
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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
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A. K. Larkwoods The Unspoken Name is among the most creative, exciting, and brilliantly-told epic fantasy novels Ive 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 dash ...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 Ive ever read, its incredibly well done (I speak as someone who hasnt read a ton of high fantasy though). Csorwes 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
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 - Im absolutely certain this is set to be well loved amongst many SFF readers alike.

Wait, thats all you need to know, right? Thats enough to make you add the book to your to-be-read list immediately, right? Well it should be! But for those 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
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
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 wouldnt let go. To me, its 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
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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Mel (Epic Reading)
Nov 12, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: arc-netgalley
Sooo excited!! This one sounds great! Im 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.
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
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
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 doesshe 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
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
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt
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
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
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
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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.

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