Unmade is the conclusion of Sarah Rees Brennan's Lynburn Legacy trilogy, following Unspoken and Untold. I read a lot of books, but the Lynburn Legacy series has stayed in my head more than most. I think this is due to a combination of Brennan's strongly rendered Gothic tone, and her deep characterization of primary and secondary characters.
The Lynburn Legacy series is about a teen named Kami who lives in an English town historically ruled by the Lynburn family of sorcerers. When the Lynburns return after an absence, and one of them goes very bad (and power-mad), Kami finds herself defending her family and her town against impossible odds (but with a strong team of supporters, including two Lynburn teens).
I hesitate to say too much about the plot of this third book, for fear of spoilers for the other two. So I will merely say that Unmade picks up following the cliffhanger ending of Untold, and takes heroine Kami through some dark times. A couple of the twists in Unmade shocked me, and were painful because I cared deeply about the characters. If I could have, I would have read this book straight through without once putting it down.
What more can I say? Rather than a formal review, I will give you a few comments:
- Kami rocks. She is strong and determined, and doesn't let even major losses stop her from doing what is right. She has a keen sense of self, but is also plausibly insecure (e.g. about whether people find her less attractive because she is of mixed race, in a very white village).
- Jared Lynburn, Kami's love interest, also rocks. He is unconventional and brittle, the survivor of a difficult upbringing. A particular bonus of this third book was watching his developing relationship with his snooty aunt, Lillian Lynburn.
- Lillian also rocks. She is not a nice person, but she is fiercely loyal, and cuts to the heart of things. Her reluctant banner with Kami's non-magical dad is priceless. Here's my favorite quote from Lillian: "I don't believe in telling children comforting lies. It lets them delay growing up. I want to lay all possible choices before my children, so they can decide what to do." (Of particular note about this quote is a certain ambiguity about who she means by "children", since only one of the kids in the book, Ash, is actually her biological child.)
- Brennan incorporates diversity into Unmade, seamlessly and organically. There is a character coming to terms with wanting a lesbian relationship (and associated introspection/insecurity about that), as well some diversity or race and class, all tackled head-on.
- Another nice thing: while not taking over or saving the day, parents play a significant role in the book. Here's Kami on that subject: "The first thing to do was slip away from her father, who might have questions about why she kept insisting on going back to the lair of ultimate evil. Kami saw why so many teenagers who had adventures in books were interestingly tragic orphans. Parents were a real buzzkill, adventure-wise." (Page 201) Kudos to Brennan for incorporating parents without killing the books's buzz.
I think that fans of Sarah Rees Brennan's Lynburn Legacy trilogy will find Unmade to be a satisfying conclusion to the series. And for those who have not read these books, if you enjoy darkly atmospheric, supernatural YA romance, the Lynburn books are not to be missed. Highly recommended!
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: September 23, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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