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RIP VIII - Unspoken, by Sarah Rees Brennan

Unspoken, Original Cover

I've been a huge fan of Sarah Rees Brennan (sarahtales) for several years, having followed her LJ and blog before her first book came out. When she mentioned that she was going to be taking on the gothic genre, I was all over it. The fact that she spent many weeks leading up to the release of the book discussing the gothic romances/mysteries that she read as research, and pointing out just how ridiculous and awesome they are, certainly didn't hurt. I approached Unspoken eagerly.

Kami Glass, girl reporter, has lived in the village of Sorry-in-the-Vale her entire life, and has always had a boy named Jared speaking to her in her head. Naturally, this has worried her family and friends, but Kami is generally well-adjusted, and has learned to hide her discussions with Jared. Until the day that the remaining members of the Lynburn family, the family that rules the village, comes back to their home, and Kami discovers that Jared is real.

The reveal is done gloriously - there's no looking deep into each other's eyes, knowing each other as their soul mate. No. There is panicking and freaking out and reacting basically the way anyone would if a figment of their imagination turned out to be real. I absolutely adore this about the book; it's nice to see characters react realistically to unrealistic circumstances.

In the midst of all of this, Kami is determined to find out what is causing violent changes to happen to her town. The additional fantastic elements are woven into the story very well, and by the time the big reveal happens, it makes sense.

There are a few instances where there are awkward jumps in scene or location, that are a little hard to follow, but that's my only nit to pick. The combination of the shift in gender roles (compared to what is generally seen in gothic romances) and well-developed characters makes for a wonderful, heartbreaking read. Overall, I enjoyed it as much as I cursed the author's name, and I'm approaching the sequel with equal parts trepidation and excitement.

4 stars

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