23 February 2015

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

UNTOLD is the second book in Sarah Rees Brennan's The Lynburn Legacy trilogy, and picks up pretty quickly on the heels of UNSPOKEN.

I was surprised and impressed with the end of UNSPOKEN: there was a huge paradigm shift at the end, when Kami severed her connection to Jared. I haven't read a ton of paranormal romances (which this sort of falls under, though it's often called Gothic), but this seems a pretty direct inversion of what most paranormal romances do: rather than pushing the characters incrementally closer together, UNSPOKEN started with them linked more intimately than anyone can imagine, and then split them apart.

In UNTOLD we see Kami without Jared's voice. We learn more about who Kami truly is: confident (except about her looks), smart, determined, brave, and, most importantly, moral. She has a strong sense of right and wrong and won't back down in the face of evil. We learn more about Jared, too: learn what makes him tick, what he truly wants. We see him learn, slowly, how to express himself outwardly, after a lifetime of only talking to Kami in his mind.

UNTOLD uses a wider narrative lens, shifting from Kami to Jared and then to Ash and Holly at times as well. [Did Angela have a POV section, too? Embarrassingly I can't remember, and I just finished the book yesterday.] The close third person served the story well, and each characters internal world came alive. As with UNSPOKEN, Kami in particular was enjoyable to inhabit, and her entire family seems to share her amusing dialogue traits.

As Rob gathers his sorcerers and Lilian trains her sorcerers, Kami and her krew make their own plans for the impending battle. When it comes, it's vicious, surprisingly violent at times, and leaves the story's paradigm shifted once again.

It goes without saying that, since this is the second book in a trilogy, things aren't wrapped up neatly. Indeed, it's hard to see how they can get any worse. The ending was chilling and inevitable, and it worked, even though it's something I've seen before (it seems to be the way at least 50% of second-books end).

The one gripe I had was the same as with UNSPOKEN: it felt like the book was overly Americanized. I wonder what the UK version of the book is like.

I really enjoyed UNTOLD and I've already started on UNMADE. I can't wait to see how Kami and friends make it out of this. Assuming, of course, they do.