Wednesday 12 September 2012

UK Blog Tour for Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan; Review + Guest Post

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)Posted by Donna
Release Date: August 30th, 2012
Finished Date: August 26th, 2012
Publishers: Simon & Schuster 
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Buy : Amazon UK / Amazon USThe Book Depo

Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met - a boy the rest of the world is convinced is imaginary. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she doesn't complain. She runs the school newspaper and keeps to herself for the most part - until disturbing events begin to happen. There has been screaming in the woods and the dark, abandoned manor on the hill overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. As Kami starts to investigate for the paper, she finds out that the town she has loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets- and a murderer- and the key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy who everyone thought was imaginary may be real...and he may be dangerous.

The Review: I've never heard of Unspoken before until I went to a bloggers party way back in July, but as soon as I did, I knew it was something I wanted to read. However I have mixed feelings about it, even now - nearly a month later and I'm still not entirely sure how I felt about it. 

Kami Glass has always been in love but she has to ask herself, how can she be in love with a boy she's never meet. The problem is, she knows everything about this boy...why? Because he's a voice inside her head and her family are convinced that he is imaginary. But when the boy - Jared suddenly turns up - Kami's life is turned upside down with hidden secrets, murders and magic. 

After seeing so many glowing review for this book, it was safe to say I was excited to start but honestly, Unspoken really failed to impress me. I really wanted to like it and while I did in parts, I just couldn't connect to the characters or the story. My main issue was with Kami. She was supposed to be a teenage girl, yet she was portrayed so much older. The way she spoke was the main problem - I'm guessing she was suppose to come across as witty, smart and funny but yet every time she spoke it made her come across stuck-up and pompous. Not only that but I thought the story was quite slow paced and everything exciting seemed to happen at the end of the story. 

Now my other issue was the romance. This isn't you're typical young adult romance book - if anything, there's hardly any romance in it and you know me, I need romance in a story. When Kami and Jared finally meet, their so freaked out by meeting each other, that their romance is....short lived. Nothing happens which was weird. It doesn't always have to been 'a true love at first sight meeting' for me to enjoy a story but some romance would be nice. 

One of the highlights of this books was in fact Jared - a mysterious, hot and bad boy. Hello! Who wouldn't like him? And of course, I did really enjoy the gothic feel to the book along with the magic. While reading it gave a creepy feeling and these two points are the reason I kept reading. And that cliff-hanger at the end was actually really enjoyed but very frustrating. That leads me to ask myself, would I read the next book? And right now I'm thinking possibly. There's no reason why it can't be fantastic. All the introductions have been done and I'm really hoping for a spell-binding and exciting finale. 

2.5 stars!

A big thank you to Simon & Schuster for giving me the opportunity to review this book. 

by Sarah Rees Brennan

Ah, love. L’amour! It is a many-splendoured thing! It lifts us up where we belong! It is the star to every wandering bark. It carries the weary wanderer home. (I made my friend Holly Black read this essay, and she says I have to clarify that in this context ‘bark’ means ‘boat.’ She started barking like a dog until I agreed to do this. You win this time, Black.)

I love love. I think it’s fascinating. (Aaaaaand that makes me sound like a serial killer. Uh. I CAN FEEL LOVE!) But think about it: choosing certain people, out of all the world, to be the most important to you. It’s an impossible, strange, madly beautiful decision to make, and people make it every day.  Doesn’t matter what kind of love we’re talking about: family love, friend love, romantic love. I wrote a book about friend love: I wrote three books about familial love. And I love a romance novel, from Jane Austen to Jenny Crusie. My time was nigh. It was so nigh.

I wanted to write a romance. But there are a lot of romances around, and I wanted to write a romance that felt new to me, felt like a little something different. I wanted a romance that would be thoughtful and difficult. I wanted to examine ideas of romance I see around me, in life and in books, the different love that exists between different people.

So let’s talk different people. Kami Glass is the heroine of Unspoken, and by calculation of page time and plot, Jared Lynburn is the hero. I would like to make it clear: I make no promises about them as A Romantic Pairing. Maybe they are in love, maybe one of them is in love, maybe they will fall in love with other people. There are many other characters around: Jared’s cousin Ash, the most beautiful boy in town, the photographer for the school newspaper Kami edits: Kami’s lazy-except-when-it-comes-to-her-when-they-turn-fierce friends from childhood, Angela and Rusty, and the town’s blonde bombshell and total sweetheart, Holly. 

But Kami and Jared’s relationship -- having each other as imaginary friends all their lives who meet in real life when they are both seventeen -- is a major focus of the books. And it’s something that makes the characters think and talk about romantic love.

I remember the original jacket copy for Unspoken read ‘Kami Glass is in love with someone she’s never met.’ And I said, no, nope, you can’t say that, that’s not right, she’s not. Or at least, she doesn’t know if she is or not. It was just a small change to: ‘Kami Glass loves somebody she’s never met.’ That’s the one that’s true. From the start of the book, that’s never in doubt: these two characters love each other already. But they haven’t met. Their relationship is about to change drastically… but what is it going to change to?

I wanted to play with some familiar romantic set-ups and make them different. Hot new guy comes to school… but he’s not a stranger, he’s the person Kami knows best in all the world. I also thought it would be fun, since I saw a lot of Hot Foreign Guy in a new school, for an American boy to bring that transatlantic foxiness over to a small English school. (Admittedly people are more inclined to look at his cousin and go ‘Wow, new guy is handsome.’ They look at Jared and go ‘Wow, new guy is trying to fight the whole lacrosse team?’)

Imagine having an imaginary friend: someone who seems real to you, someone who you talk to as you talk to your own soul. The things we all have inside us, the things we have no words for: Kami and Jared can say those things to each other. But then imagine you meet this person, and they’re so different from how you knew them, and the whole situation is scary: you don’t want to lose them, you don’t want to be betrayed, you don’t want to be terribly wrong about them. And you’re so afraid of all those things. That’s how Kami and Jared – especially Jared – feel when they meet.

I wanted to show how love makes the familiar strange: if you love someone and decide you’re in love with them, you’re risking them and risking being hurt.

The fact that these two would be overwhelmed and upset that the other physically existed at all gave me a chance to talk about something that happens when you’re just getting used to romance or attraction: the painful hyper-awareness of someone else physically.  

I wanted to examine the effects of having a mental link on two people, but also have them think about that link themselves, and think about what it meant. If soulmates existed, wouldn’t you want to have a choice? Wouldn’t you fight against not having one? And what if soulmates didn’t exist, and there was something else, something more sinister, going on?

The thing is, sometimes love is sometimes really frightening. Love stories are fairy stories where love can be prince or monster, princess or witch.

Look at these quotations from novels, where people are having a Gothic and epic kind of love.

‘Do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!’ – Wuthering Heights

‘You—you strange, you almost unearthly thing—I love as my own flesh.’ – Jane Eyre

‘Explain! Tell a man to explain how he dropped into hell! Explain my preference! I never had a preference for her, any more than I have a preference for breathing. No other woman exists by the side of her. I would rather touch her hand if it were dead, than I would touch any other woman's living.’ – Middlemarch
This is the language we have for love, and it is intense and terrifying. I mentioned Jenny Crusie at the start of this, and she plays with language like that, examining how the hero and the villain speak in similar ways to the heroine: the hero speaks in the language of possession that has a slight, deliberate echo of how the villain feels.
"'For the past two weeks, I've waited, and I've watched you and I knew you'd come back to me because you belong to me. Every guy thinks that about the woman he loves... Look, I know it's not right, but that's the way it is. I watch you walk across the stage, and I look at your butt and I think, That's mine. I watch you stretch up to take a paint can from Thea and you shirt gapes open and I think, That's mine. I listen to your voice and your laugh and I watch you eyes and your mouth and I think, That's mine. Even when you were saying no, you were mine. It doesn't go away. You can't talk me out of that. Every move you make belongs to me. I know it's wrong, and I don't care.'" – Jennifer Crusie, Crazy for You

‘It's the clichés that cause the trouble. A precise emotion seeks a precise expression. If what I feel is not precise then would I call it love? It is so terrifying, love… I am deeply distracted. I am desperately looking the other way so that love won't see me.’ Jeanette Winterson, Written On The Body

And if you will, an excerpt from Unspoken itself…
“Oh, right,” Kami said, and tears were running down her face again, beyond her power to control. She could taste them, and they were bitter. “In love. That’s how it sounds, doesn’t it? His heart is my heart, nobody can ever take him away from me, I keep him in here!” She thumped her breastbone, so hard it hurt. “People say stuff like that but they don’t mean it: they mean they’re in love. All except me. I mean it.”

What do we talk about, when we talk about love? We never quite know, and that’s why we keep talking about it.

I wanted to write a love story that was a story about people finding out what love means, for them.

Jared is very lonely, from an extremely troubled background. He’s a kid who’s had to put up a façade so as not to be hurt: he has focused all his potential for tenderness on his imagination, on books and his imaginary friend. Kami, while widely regarded as a weirdo who talks to herself, has a loving family and a support network. Her mother’s scared of her having this imaginary friend: Kami’s scared of being any more out of control than she already is. She writes for a newspaper: they both love words, but Kami is reaching for reality and Jared for fantasy. Kami’s happy outside: inside she shares her fears and dark thoughts. And Jared’s only happy inside: outside he doesn’t seem like that great a guy.

How different they are, and how different their situations are, gave me a chance to look at codependence, how one person might, you know, depend on it, and one struggle against it. And neither of those reactions is wrong: both fear and longing are feelings we can deeply empathize with.

Um, thank you all for listening to ‘What Is Love? No Seriously I Dunno,’ a song by Sarah Rees Brennan. I will add a lighter note by stating that I find crimefighting very romantic: the synergy of partnership, being stronger and cleverer and happier together than you are alone. So everyone has to fight crime together in my love story. That’s just a rule. 

And more than anything, I think that communicating is important. Being able to get each other, to achieve a push and pull dynamic that works for you, and having banter that works together, makes them both seem funnier and smarter than they are apart: if I don’t see people having fun together, laughing together, I never believe that they love each other and they will never make me cry.

I thought I’d wrap up by showing some fun.

‘ Kami wound her arm back, took careful aim, and threw.
The “pebble” crashed through both glass and curtain.
There was the creak of an old sash window being thrust open, and Jared’s head and shoulders appeared at the win- dow. “Hark,” he said, his tone very dry. “What stone through yonder window breaks?”
Kami yelled up at him, “It is the east, and Juliet is a jerk!”
Jared abandoned Shakespeare, and demanded, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Throwing a pebble,” said Kami defensively. “Uh . . . and I’ll pay for the window.”
Jared vanished and Kami was ready to start shouting again when he reemerged with the pebble clenched in his fist. “This isn’t a pebble! This is a rock.”
“It’s possible that your behavior has inspired some negative feelings that caused me to pick a slightly overlarge pebble,” Kami admitted. ‘

This is my kind of love story: I hope it will be your kind of love story, too.


Jasprit said...

Oh this is a fab guest post Donna! I've also heard great reviews for this book, that I can't wait to get my hands on a copy, but I'm sorry it didn't work out for you! Thanks for the honest review! :)

Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan said...

I haven't read your review Donna because I'm reading Unspoken at the moment. With 2.5 stars I'm sorry that you don't seem to have enjoyed it, I'm only 11% in but so far, so good. I haven't read the guest post either, just in case. But in the words of the Terminator "I'll be back" lol.

Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

This is a BRILLIANT guest post. It definitely touches on a lot of my thoughts about the romance in this book. I can understand why it didn't work for you, Donna - I'm sure you're not the only one! - but I personally loved it. :)

Brodie said...

Oh fab post, ladies!! Though I am really sorry to hear Unspoken didn't entirely hit the mark for you, Donna. I don't particularly mind if there isn't much romance in a book. I DO love my romance, but I can still enjoy a book without it. I'm glad you liked Jared! Very intrigued to meet him :D

I love how Sarah describes the push-and-pull, oh-so-complicated-imaginary-friend-is-actually-a-living-person relationship between Kami and Jared.

I've read many varied reviews for this book, which I think alone has made me want to read it just to see which side of the fence I'll fall on. So fantastic review and guest post!

nat cleary said...

Ive read some of Sarah Rees Brennans books and Ive enjoyed them. Im sorry you didnt like it, it sucks when a book fails to impress you!!

haley hagen said...

Awh damn, I'm bummed that this book wasn't better! I was really looking forward to reading it, I think I will put it off for quite sometime now though. I hate when characters are stuck up, or when a book makes it seem like there's gonna be more romance...and then there isn't! gah! lol Great review though hun! :D

Suzanne @ Paranormal Book Fan said...

Great guest post, I really enjoyed this. Great review Donna. I actually loved this, and I adored Kami lol. But I can totally understand how this wasn't for you. It seems that people are either loving it or hating it.

Rachelanbig said...

Sorry this didn't work out for you Donna. I had better luck but man, was I ticked at the cliffhanger! Very cruel. I wished the romance was....more. Great honest review Donna. :)

Tilly said...

I'm sorry you didn't like the book, but I'm so confused by your reading of Kami! I've read the Unspoken multiple times now and each time I'm struck by Kami's self confidence but also the fact that she's very much aware that she's not a stereotypically beautiful heroine--that role goes to her friends Angela and Holly, tall willow gorgeous ladies. Despite being short and curvy Kami's still smart and confident and I loved that about her. And the lack of romance... well, it is a trilogy!

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