Untold is the second book in Sarah Rees Brennan's The Lynburn Legacy series, after last year's Unspoken (my review). It's a sequel that I was looking forward to. I started reading it pretty much as soon as it arrived. Untold picks up shortly after the events of Unspoken, and includes just enough backstory to re-orient the reader into the world of the Lynburns and the small English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale.
Untold is Gothic in tone from start to finish, with a heavy, brooding atmosphere cast over most of the book. Untold is a bit darker than Unspoken, reminding me, in terms of bleakness, of Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. But what keeps it from being too dark is the strength of the bonds (and the degree of banter) between heroine Kami Glass and her friends.
Like this (in a news story that Kami writes for her school paper):
""What on earth is happening?" asked a witness to these events (Rusty Montgomery, age 20, who insisted on not remaining anonymous and also wished this paper to record the fact that he is single)."
Kami is an excellent heroine. She's stubborn and determined, tireless in her efforts. She's small and fiery, with a part-Japanese heritage that makes her just the tiniest bit exotic. She glares at her best friend when tricked into discussing feelings. She has a gift for brining people together.
Kami doesn't know what to make of her relationship with Jared Lynburn, with whom she had a constant mental connection for most of her life, a connection now severed. I found the relationship dynamics between Kami and Jared to be realistic (as much as possible, given the unusual nature of their bond), and I was pulling for them.
I also quite like Kami's relationship with her contentious best friend, Angela, who Kami has only recently learned is gay. I found the scenes between Kami and Angela regarding Angela's coming out realistic, too, and not overdone.
Well done as all of the relationship aspects of Untold are, it's the Gothic tone that really stands out. You know what you're in for when the very first chapter features a scene in which scarecrows come to life, and not in a good way. Like this:
"Kami looked and saw that every garden on Shadowchurch Lane was stirring into life. The undertaker scarecrow in the Thompsons' garden was already off it's wooden frame and climbing the fence, its round pale face shining like a small horrible moon, coming through the darkness at them." (Page 11)
Untold is a worth sequel to Unspoken. It has three-dimensional characterization (with continuing character development from the first book), a strong sense of place, lyrical writing, and an intriguing plot. I can't wait for the final (I think) book in the trilogy. I do highly recommend Untold, but be sure to read Unspoken first.
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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