|Unspoken (Sarah Rees Brennan)
||[Jun. 6th, 2014|03:14 pm]
3+/5. sarahtales recently updated Turn of the Story, which reminded me that I hadn't read her Lynburn Legacy books. Now, I pretty much read and love anything that SRB writes, but it took me a while to get to these because they were described as Gothics, and I don't really like Gothics that much. I blame getting to Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre entirely too late in my life and thinking, "Why are all these people so dysfunctional??" And… yup, I think I still am not a major fan of Gothics. The brooding and the inbreeding and the spookiness and the dysfunctional relationships and the bad-boy angst and the cast of characters who all look the same so as to provide maximum difficulty in my telling them apart… it's not all taken seriously in Unspoken, obviously, but it's just not my thing.
However, SRB likes subverting tropes a lot, and this I am totally on board with. The biggest part of this is that the main character, Kami, has a
soulbond mindlink with another person. This turns out to be… really kind of awful and creepy, actually! As it would actually be if you had someone peeping at your thoughts all the time! And the terrible thing is that you really can describe it with all the cliches that moony teenagers use to describe their love affairs! He is part of her! They are so much more than friends! She's never had a connection with anyone the way she does with him! And it is super creepy and I love it.
I also found the ending somewhat lacking in emotional heft, partially I think because the relationships between the Lynburns weren't laid out solidly for me. Or possibly because I don't find love triangles (even between grownups) particularly compelling? Contrast the climax of Demon's Lexicon, which gets its power partially from the solidness of the development of the relationship between Nick and Alan. (That lovely lying liar! But I digress.) Family relationships get me every time.
Speaking of love triangles, as usual with SRB heroines, I am firmly on the shipping side of Kami/NO ONE IN THESE BOOKS. I think Kami should move away from Sorry-in-the-Vale, have lots of relationships, and eventually partner with someone who has never heard of the Lynburns!
Anyway. I would not have read it had it been an author I didn't know. And I think I would have liked it better if it wasn't Gothic (which I think drives a lot of the things I didn't particularly think were that interesting). But that's just me. And I'll be picking up the next one.
(Also, Turn of the Story is Lynburn Legacy for high fantasy rather than Gothic. I find this kind of fantastic, and like it in a much more uncomplicated way. But I could see, if you didn't like high fantasy, it not being compelling in much the same way.)