Giselle's Reviews > Unspoken

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
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Mar 26, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: arc, ebook

A tale filled with magic, thrill, romance, and charm, Unspoken is a unique Gothic mystery that, if only I could have clicked with its characters, I might have greatly enjoyed. And as I seem to be in the minority on this one, I think fans of Gothic novels should definitely give it a try as it does have good writing and a very creative concept.

While most of the Gothic novels I have come to love have been fairly slow paced - ie. The Book of Blood and Shadow and Long Lankin - I found that Unspoken did not convey quite enough atmosphere or creepy factor to make up for the slower development. It does start out with a very decent pace, but I found the first three quarters of the book is spent with Kami while she goes around gathering clues to find a killer, yet she's too occupied with her complicated feelings towards Jared, sometimes Ash, to focus on finding answers. I'm sure if I would have been completely immersed in these characters and their unusual connection I would have found this a lot more compelling. Sadly none of these people really spoke to me, making the book feel very long winded. The off-putting dialogue, or maybe their bland personalities, halted me from developing any sort of connection with them.

With a British setting, we get interactions that are a little different than what you would expect in North America - or at least I was told lots of it were a part of the British culture. I could deal with the humor and wit - I actually quite enjoyed that aspect - but I could not get used to the flow of their conversations or the way they sometimes interacted with each other. Kami has an awkward personality, she talks very formally at times, making bizarre comments with strange conversational shifts that comes off as unnatural. For example, during a casual conversation she asks her date: "So… tell me about the difficulties in your family". Who talks like this? I was hoping it would grow on me, but unfortunately it never did and I kept cringing whenever these people started conversing.

Even though the characters failed to entice me, the plot did give me a few chills and saved it from being a complete loss. We have a freaky manor, a strange family who everyone seems to be terrified of, and a town full of secrets. Plus, Kami has been talking to a voice in her head her whole life. Is he real? Or is she crazy? Being right up my alley, this setting easily grabbed me from the first page. If it wasn't for the slow, romantically inclined telling, it could have easily become a 5-star favorite. When we do get some answers there are a lot of unexpected turns that I would not have predicted. However, when it came to the big climactic ending - the reveal of the killer - I had already been suspecting this person for a while so it came as no surprise for me, thus negatively affecting the intended impact. The events following this up to the ending were at least a little more unforeseeable, closing on a surprising note that makes me curious for book 2 regardless of my qualms.

Unspoken is a creepy and quirky read that has a lot of potential to garner fans who will absolutely fall for it. Unfortunately I wasn't quite as impressed as many others; when I don't care about the characters, it's hard to care for the rest, but I still found it to be an OK read.

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An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
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Reading Progress

March 26, 2012 – Shelved
March 26, 2012 – Shelved as: arc
March 26, 2012 – Shelved as: ebook
August 29, 2012 –
65.0% "I love the creepy elements but the characters have strange dialogue. Teenagers don't talk like this O_O Maybe it's a British thing."
Started Reading
August 30, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-17 of 17) (17 new)

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Jessi (Novel Heartbeat) Can't wait to see what you think of it!


Helen Keeble Ooh, so jealous you've got this one already! Look forward to reading your review (not that you can make me change my mind about buying it, even if you reveal that it's 350 blank pages *grin*)


Lori Bummer! I'm sad about all the mixed reviews coming out on this one. I'm still going to read it, I'm just not as excited about it anymore. But I am glad that I've been prepared!


Giselle I seem to be in the minority from what I saw, though, so hopefully you can enjoy it more than I did.


Giselle It seems like everyone else loved it, Sam, so there's a good chance it's just me haha. I just never got used to the weird dialogue and the pacing was a tad too slow for my taste - even though I usually enjoy slower paced gothic novels like Long Lankin. I'll be looking forward to your review!!


Jessi (Novel Heartbeat) Oh noes! I'm usually in the minority, too, and slow books lose my already infinitesimal attention span! I'll still read it but it definitely won't be anytime soon...


Donna {Book Passion for Life} I wasn't overly keen on this one either hun. The romance really annoyed me and still can't decide on a 2 star rating or 3. =(


♥Rachel♥ I hope I like this more than you and Donna, as I'm to be reading this soon. Eeeek. This might be a good thing though, because sometimes when I lower my expectations I actually enjoy the story more. Thanks for the honest and informative review, Giselle. :)


Crystal OMG Giselle! WTH happened?!! (view spoiler) great review btw lol, I can't even think straight to write one =/


message 10: by Giselle (last edited Aug 31, 2012 04:41PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Giselle @Crystal: I know right? I totally saw most of it coming, and even what was unexpected wasn't very shocking. I'm guessing you didn't love it either? haha. The worst part for me were the character interactions. Some of it was just bizarre (view spoiler). Yah...

@Rachel: Lowering expectations works really often for me. And the fact that so many reviews so far have ben glowing on this one I was def. expecting too much.

@Donna: Sorry you didn't like it either. It would have been a 3 for me if it wasn't so drawn out. Even though the book is not physically long, I felt it was like 600 pages.

@Jessi: I hope you like it, Jessi. A lot of people do. And I see some people say it's fast paced so it may just be because I didn't like the characters that I found it slow moving, too.


Crystal No I did not care for it lol. I was actually okay with the dialogue by the end because it started to remind me of Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging and I love that series, but the story never went anywhere. I totally agree about the interactions (view spoiler)


Giselle @Crystal: Ha! All the same stuff bothered me too! The town name was just so annoying to read. For the first couple of pages I even wondered wtf they were talking about. I thought it was a formatting issue. I kid you not! (view spoiler) It's an even bigger mess than I remembered once I was done. I think I was forgetting as I was reading I just wanted it to be done with.


Crystal LOL! I didn't think about it, but you are right it did look like a formatting issue! I am so glad this one is over. I am going to start Crewel today woohoo!


Giselle Oooh I looved Crewel! I can't wait to see what you think! The world building in it blew my mind!


Crystal So far I am really liking it! I am only about 50 pages in but this whole thread weaver thing is really intriguing me.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I wasn't overly fond of this one either, and I'm relieved to see I wasn't the only one. The biggest problem for me was the characters. They all sounded exactly alike! This happens a lot when the author uses a quirky voice. And the over use of (view spoiler) drove me up a wall.


Brooke I feel the same way! So many good reviews and the plot sounded so good I just couldn't wait to read it, but I didn't connect to any of the characters and rather disliked the main character. I wouldn't call it a romance but more of an annoying mess.


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