Unspoken (Book 1 in The Lynburn Legacy) by Sarah Rees Brennan

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Synopsis: Kami Glass has been friends with Jared her whole life. The catch is that he’s in her head. What if he turned out to be real? And what if he was a Lynburn?

Kami’s life becomes interesting as the mysterious Lynburns return to the sleepy town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Owners of the dark Manor on the hill, the Lynburns seem to be hiding their own secrets; secrets Kami is determined to find out. 

The return of the Lynburns have also marked the occurrence of some deeply disturbing events in the town. Who is disturbing the peace of the woods? What secrets are the residents of  Sorry-in-the-Vale, including Kami’s own mother hiding?

As an investigative reporter and editor of the school Newspaper, Kami is not one to back down in the face of danger. Yet what is she going to do now that Jared is real? How will the two of them cope with this new reality ? Can they trust each other? Most of all can their friendship survive in the real world?

Cover Gushing Worthiness: The cover of Unspoken is beautiful. I really like the colour combination of pink and black. Interestingly it also reflects the personality of Kami really well. Also the image on the cover reflects Kami’s inquisitive nature too.  The gold writing is also a nice addition since it reflects power and symbolizes the Lynburns in the story. My verdict: an awesome cover :).

Review: I heard about Unspoken after reading Keertana from Ivy Book Binding’s wonderful review of it. I admit the cover appealed to me, but most of all the plot with the imaginary friend-turning real concept was what caught my attention. This was my first experience reading one of Sarah Rees Brennan’s works and I’m still unsure if I’m going to read any of her previous works.

The plot of Unspoken really is one of a kind; I’ve never read anything like it before, but it failed to amaze me like I thought it would. I think my main problem with the plot was it tried to cover too many story lines in one book. While as a reader you knew the story was supposed to be about the Lynburns, I felt like I was  suffering from information overload because of all the subplots.  While the Lynburns are present throughout the book, I felt like they truly only appeared in the last 100 pages or so. Until then it was as if they existed in the shadows while Kami and Jared were trying to figure out their relationship.  What I really did like about Brennan’s writing were her descriptions. I thought the descriptions in Unspoken were beautiful. While I was reading some of the descriptions I could feel my spine tense and shivers going down my body, especially during the descriptions of the woods and Aurimere House. I also have to give credit to Ms.Brennan for creating a great atmosphere in Unspoken. It was dark, eerie and suspenseful.

As for the characters I can honestly say this book was a book where the secondary characters outshone the main protagonists and I actually had no problem with it. I know a lot of fans of this book loved Kami and I understand why, but she failed to captivate me. I know Rees Brennan was trying to create a female protagonist who wouldn’t stand any nonsense or succumb to the feelings of the guy who is interested in her, but in the end Kami became everything her character wasn’t supposed to be. Personally I found Kami to be shallow, judgmental and bossy. To be fair, I liked her in the beginning of the book and then less than half way through the book she started to annoy me.  Don’t get me wrong I know characters have flaws and I like that, but with Kami I found her need to point out flaws of others annoying without considering how flawed she was as a person.

I know I’m going to get death glares for saying this, but I’m afraid like Kami Jared failed to woo me. I found him to be whiny, obsessive and possessive. It felt like he had no life other than talking to Kami in his head and failing to separate “mind conversations” from reality. He definitely did not come across as a bad boy, more like a lost puppy. I found it really hard to sympathize with Jared and therefore found myself not particularly caring or being interested in him.

Sadly Ash too met the same fate as Jared. I felt like he was such an underdeveloped love interest. However I did pity him towards the end. I’m somewhat looking forward to seeing how the relationship between Jared and Ash is going to be developed in Untold. 

Moving on to secondary characters I adored Angela and Holly. A part of me feels like the reason I continued to read Unspoken was because of the two of them. Angela’s cynical attitude towards the world and her love for sleeping made me laugh. What I liked most about Angela’s character were the layers of her personality. I liked how fiery and passionate she was and her love and concern for Kami and Holly really shone through. I liked how she wasn’t afraid to admit her dislike for Jared upfront instead of hiding it. At the same time I liked how she kept secrets from Kami. I thought that was fair since Kami seemed a lot more concerned about Jared than her own friends most of the time.  Angela’s brother Rusty was a good outlet for humour and I thought his laid back behaviour and personality complimented Angela’s fiery one well.

I liked how Holly came across as a tomboy yet vulnerable all at the same time. Even though she was quite underdeveloped in comparison to Angela I found some of her brief interactions with Jared entertaining. It’s going to be interesting to see how Jared and Holly’s relationship is developed, especially after reading that spoiler snippet.

Getting to the Lynburns themselves I do wonder if they are truly meant to be the antagonists of the entire series. As far as dark characters go I really liked them. I liked how all of them had their own demons and kept their own secrets. While they are mysterious beings I felt like they showed that some humanity was left in them. I wonder where Brennan is going to take their story because there’s so much potential to make it awesome.

As for the Cliffhanger at the end, I know a lot of fans were heartbroken by it and again I wasn’t. Maybe because I’m not emotionally invested in the main protagonists.

Overall Unspoken was an enjoyable read. It wasn’t amazing by any means, but the concept of the story was original and I appreciate that. I also appreciate the descriptions , the atmosphere and the secondary characters of the book. However I didn’t appreciate feeling pulled in all directions nor did I like the main protagonists. I hope that in Untold Rees Brennan will have a plot which is clear-cut and focused. I’m not sure if I’m going to purchase Untold because I was a bit disappointed with Unspoken, but I’ve got a few months to decide on it.

My Rating: 3/5

Would I recommend it? Maybe.


  1. Pingback: Book Review: Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan « The Streetlight Reader
  2. Kelley

    Great review! You put a lot of my same thoughts into words, in a way that I wasn’t able to. I agree with you about most of the characters. Jared was pretty obnoxious and boring for me, but like you, I loved Angela! She’s probably the one I related to the most.

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