Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Long ago on the blog I reviewed Sarah Rees Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon, The Demon's Covenant, and The Demon's Surrender with decidedly mixed feelings that left me unsure if I would ever read another book by her. But then the collaboration on Team Human surprised me with its funny quips and heart so I decided to pick this book up.
I can easily compare this book Unspoken, the first in the Lynburn Legacy series to my experiences with those other books. On the one hand, it has many hysterical lines a la Team Human. All of the characters are pretty snappy but especially main character Kami whose odd sense of humor has kept her somewhat separated from many of her classmates. Another element that has contributed to that isolation is the fact that she has a boy in her head. No, not an invisible friend but the ability to communicate mentally with Jared despite their very different lives, he in America, she in English town Sorry-in-the-Vale. Although this is an odd circumstance, it's been working for them. Until the day that Jared shows up in town along with his mother, his aunt, his uncle, and his cousin, the Lynburns who basically run the town. This unexpected arrival leads to all sorts of complications including mysterious murders in the woods, which Kami sets out to investigate along with her motley crew.
I did not have a problem with the beginning of the book. Right away I thought Kami was hilarious and I loved her best friend people-hating Angela as well as new friend Holly. Their families also had some great moments. But while I was laughing, I was wondering where the story was going. When the Lynburns show up, it adds a jolt and some direction but not enough and not quickly enough. A large portion of the book is Kami freaking out over meeting the boy in her head. Jared poses as your stereotypical bad boy although he would basically do anything for Kami and their relationship is mighty complicated.
That's where the book and I started to differ: first in the way the relationship between Kami and Jared is handled and then in the secret behind the Lynburns return. The adults actually play a large part in making this book paranormal and it was just not engaging me. I could not decipher why the plot was twisting the way it was. I managed to finish the book but it was halfhearted. This is the same way I ended up feeling about The Demon's Lexicon trilogy, just a complete inability to invest in the direction Brennan was taking the story.
Overall: I am very aware that my problems with the book are my unique problems and that it is very hard for me to pin down the exact reasons why. So I'll just say that this was a case of author/reader mismatch: I want x things and she gave me y things.
Cover: Very beautiful-relevant to the story while also eye-catching and enchanting. I think it stands apart from a lot of other colors and I bet it will look very nice on a shelf.