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The Unspoken Name

(The Serpent Gates #1)

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  139 ratings  ·  111 reviews

Does she owe her life to those planning her death . . .

Csorwe was raised by a death cult steeped in old magic. And on her fourteenth birthday, she’ll be sacrificed to their god. But as she waits for the end, she’s offered a chance to escape her fate. A sorcerer wants her as his assistant, sword-hand and assassin. As this involves her not dying that day, she accepts.

Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Expected publication: February 20th 2020 by Tor (first published February 11th 2020)
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Average rating 4.39  · 
Rating details
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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
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 and I will definitely be picking it up super soon!


Tor, continuing to bring heavy fantasy game in 2020
This sounds EPIC!!
Chelsea Humphrey
Nov 12, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Petrik
Hi, me here, just dying over this cover and the general amount of strong female vibes I'm picking up from the synopsis.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
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
Dyrk Ashton
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition

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)
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.
K.S. Marsden
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ashleigh | 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
Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
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
Anyway, I just want to say that I love living in a world where Tor gives sapphic fantasy books faster than I can read them. This is the only redeeming thing about this timeline.
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
Brenda Waworga
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you so much Torbooks for the ARC of this book in exchange for review

This is the first book of The Serpent Gates” series and I must said I didn’t disappointed!

The main character is freaking female ORC and a queer , Csorwe felt relateable with all her thoughts and decision… the worldbuilding is unique and amazing.. we traveled to so many different world through the story.. world with ice, world with monsters and world with ships and gods, it’s between fantasy and sci-fic! I also love the

Also Laura and I are officially starting the Talasseres Charossa Protection Squad

Thank you to Tor for providing a review copy! RTC

Buddy read with Laura!
Amy Imogene Reads
An orc priestess? Color me intrigued...

Thank you to TOR for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Aly (In Wonderland)
I'm not going to pretend to have understood this book in any way, shape, or form. But my goodness, it's addicting. Just the characters themselves are multi-faceted and incredibly relatable. I love the magic system, the intricate world-building and all the political strife that I didn't really get.

I highly recommend preordering this book. It's a High Fantasy ready to sweep you off your feet -- especially if you're looking for something new and unique and never written before.

Full review to come!
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*ARC received*

I’m not sure where to start with The Unspoken Name, a fantastic fantasy novel from A.K. Larkwood. It has so many facets, it’s difficult to decide which one to speak about first.

So, lets start here: This is a bloody good book. It has artfully crafted, believable characters. It has relationships which feel real. Fraught, sweet, complicated, unpleasant, all of the above – but real. It has a vividly imagined world which blends the strange and the familiar in order to make something
Nilufer Ozmekik
I felt like I'm at the worst retelling version of one of my favorite books as "Nily in Wonderland"!
I saw this book's cover whispers me : "Read me! Read me Crazy Redhead! Read me!"
Then I turn my head to see E.L.James' "Mister's" cover whispering: " Avoid me like a plague and get back to the rabbit hole!" Then I started to scream! Okay, I woke up from my daytime siesta a.k.a nightmare!!!
I still want to read this book so bad.!!!
anna grace 🌈
i wanna read ALL the dark sapphic fantasy and no one can stop me
May 27, 2019 marked it as to-read-so-bad-it-hurts  ·  review of another edition
'The Unspoken Name grew out of my long-standing curiosity about villains’ sidekicks: what might it take to stay loyal to a boss who is clearly bad news? What do you owe to someone who saves your life, and what do they owe to you? That, and I wanted to write a sweeping adventure with all the wizard’s towers, giant snakes and awful undead things I’ve always loved.'


Freya Marske
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This was a DAMN ROMP and I enjoyed the hell out of it; the kind of fantasy book I could never write, but thoroughly enjoy hurling myself into. The worldbuilding is awesome, the stakes and twists and shifting allegiances kept giving me whiplash, the protagonist is a disaster lesbian with a sword, and every character is vivid and complex and selfish in their own way. Heartily recommend.
Jul 22, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, etbr
I hear f/f fantasy, I want to read the book
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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.