24 February 2015

Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan

UNMADE concludes Sarah Rees Brennan's The Lynburn Legacy, bringing the story full circle in more ways than one. And not everyone makes it out alive.

When we left off UNTOLD, Jared had been captured by his Uncle-Father Rob. (I never thought I would get to write that.) UNMADE picks up with everyone assuming he's dead, even though he's being held prisoner in Aurimere. Naturally, once the truth comes out, rescue operations ensue.

In some ways, UNMADE reads like an episode of classic DOCTOR WHO. I lost track of the number of times Kami and Kompany broke into and out of Aurimere, in different combinations and for different reasons. There was a lot of running.

Kami and Ash linked themselves as source and sorcerer at the end of UNTOLD, and that new dynamic spills over into everything Kami does in this book, even as she tries to cement her relationship with Jared, who she still loves. Ash comes on stronger now that they're linked, but, surprisingly, Kami never really turns toward him romantically. I actually appreciated her conviction in that: it would have been easy for the story to descend into Kami waffling between the two brother-cousins.

Naturally, the relationship with Jared is complicated. A risky attempt to link Jared and Ash together to share magic adds another knot to the thorny link, but again, it's handled in a way that felt fresh and authentic.

UNTOLD had a few deaths in it, but they were all minor characters. UNMADE gets bolder with the body count, but it was here where I felt a bit cheated. I never got to truly grieve the characters we lost, sometimes because it felt like I hardly knew them - the true them - and sometimes because the narrative moved along before I had the chance.

In the end, things come down, as they must, to a confrontation between Kami and Kompany on one side and Rob and his minions on the other. I was kind of hoping for a bit more badassery in the sorcerous finale, but all in all, it was pretty awesome.

The ending didn't surprise me - it was exactly what I expected to happen - but that didn't mean it wasn't satisfying. I don't imagine things could have ended any other way.

THE LYNBURN LEGACY was my first venture into "Gothic Romance," and having come through the other side, I'm still not entirely sure what differentiates it from "Paranormal Romance." I think Gothic and I expect things to be dark and moody, but Kami's narration never flagged in its youthful energy, its witty descriptions, the marvelous dialogue. Even things were at their darkest, it felt like there was a little light of humor shining on them. I'm not sure what to make of it, other than I enjoyed it.

I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for more "Gothic Romances" and see if I can figure this out.