Paranormal romance novels, more than some other genres, seem to follow a particular formula really strongly and that, I think, was what I expected. Sarah Rees Brennan is clearly well-acquainted with that formula, but she’s playing with it rather than repeating it by rote. For example, on the surface, there’s a love triangle with the good guy and the bad boy, but it’s not really that cut and dried when you get into it. The relationship dynamics aren’t simple and there’s no instalove anywhere.
Then there’s Kami, who I have to describe as plucky, determined and reckless. Kami’s highly intelligent and driven. She wants to be an investigative journalist and is starting the school paper. There’s no mystery she doesn’t want to research and solve. As such, she’s highly curious about the Lynburns, who have returned to Sorry-on-the-Vale after many years away. No one will tell her anything, though, so she’s going to have to interrogate the Lynburn boys, Ash and Jared, both incredibly hot. Poor girl. In pursuit of truth, however, Kami can be really reckless. She considers danger worth the price of a good story and sometimes I’m like GURRRRRL.
Still, I think Kami’s great. She’s very much herself, even when she’s making some terrible decisions. In fact, the cast is pretty great all around, though I’m not a hundred percent certain how I feel yet about Ash or Jared. I have a feeling that will come. From that, you can probably surmise that I’m not completely set on a ship for Kami yet, and you would be right. Obviously I know what the ship will be and I think it’s probably the right ship, but my heart has yet to fully buy into it.
On the other hand, I do love Kami’s connection to Jared, who heretofore was her imaginary friend. Suddenly he’s there in the flesh. This is where I mean the book is much more complex than anticipated. I think this would be used by most authors as a way to jumpstart a really cheesy romantic love. Not so Sarah Rees Brennan. Actually, both Kami and Jared are a little bit disappointed to learn that their imaginary friends are real. It complicates things, because it’s a lot easier to trust in someone who cannot tell your secrets. Sorting out what they are to one another isn’t a simple task
My favorite character by far is Angela, Kami’s best friend. Again, she seems like a cliché for about three seconds until you get to know her. I mean, she is the most beautiful girl in town, a fact which Kami does envy a bit. However, Angela’s not the typical best friend stereotype by a long shot. She’s lazy and violent, in that order. Angela hates people and is my spirit animal. She spends as much of her time napping as possible. When roused however, she will kick whatever asses need it most. Also, my ship for her didn’t seem like it would come true and then it DID, so YAY.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The plot itself was, at times, a bit predictable or meandering. It wasn’t my favorite element of the book. The reveal of who the evil doers were wasn’t the shock that it could have been. However, the ending itself was surprisingly dark and I think the scariness could be ratcheted up in later installments. Brennan does seem like she might be willing to do some truly nasty things to her characters, which excites me, for I am a cruel reader. That ending gives me much hope for what is to come, even if I think it’s a paranormal trope. Whatever, I must know.
The Final Verdict:
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan has all of the banter. It’s a case study on banter. At times it’s pretty close to laugh out loud funny. That alone will keep me coming back for more. Expect to immediately need book two when you finish this one. I feel such pain not having it.