Thursday, September 12, 2013

ARC Review: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title: Untold (Lynburn Legacy, #2)

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Rating: 3 Stars

Release Date: September 24th, 2013

In retrospect, Untold is an extraordinarily boring novel. Unspoken was a novel I loved inexplicably; just because it was whimsical and amusing and magical and I could. With Untold, however, my feelings are far more mixed. On one hand, this novel delivered exactly what I wanted it to, but on another, I found myself left with an intangible wanting.

What Brennan has always excelled at - ever since the release of her debut - is capturing the personality behind the shells her characters wear. Kami, especially, truly blooms in this installment. Without her link to Jared, she is suddenly forced to face her deepest fears and secret hopes - alone. Moreover, her once-perfect family suddenly cracks under the pressure of magic as truths come spilling out. For me, the highlight of this novel lies in seeing Kami come to believe in herself, all while retaining her characteristic flair. I also really loved her interactions with her parents. Kami, as a half-Japanese character, is treated as such and the background on her parents, not to mention the close ties between her siblings, is written so deftly, weaving this family both together and apart.

Untold would be nothing, though, without its secondary characters. Brennan truly delves into the mindset of Kami's friends, making their lives and troubles just as real for us as Kami's. Yet, where this concept falters is in its execution. While I've come away from Untold truly understanding the layers behind characters such as Angela, Holly, or Ash, beyond adding more depth to the story, their perspectives did little. Ultimately, the relationships between these secondary characters has progressed very little. I surmise that - hopefully - we'll see them play a much greater role in Unbroken and all the backstory Brennan has written will finally come into play, but with this installment, it's rather useless.

I find that the issue with Untold lies there. Its plot is so very loose and flimsy. It's meant to be centered around Kami learning to fight back against the sorcerers, but it's composed of conversation, drama, and tension. It's certainly enjoyable, but it lacks a certain tightness to its motivations that its predecessor possessed. Moreover, I desperately longed for more; more about the magic of the Lynburns, more about Rob than just a facade of black-and-white evil, more of the classic atmosphere that Sorry-in-the-Vale possessed in Unspoken. Just...more.

(Just Jared!) You didn't think I'd end this review without mentioning Jared or Rusty, did you? ;) Rusty, as always, is a delight with his laugh-out-loud dialogue and hidden depths - which still remain hidden. Jared, however, becomes ever more real as the novel progresses. I love the few glimpses we're given into his mind - heart-breaking, but necessary - and am really impressed by the moral ambiguity associated with this character. His affection for Kami is no secret, but neither is his desire for the link, which puts him in an ironic situation. Furthermore, Brennan brings up another level of interest as she forces us to question whether Jared would be Jared without Kami in his head. It's interesting, merely because Jared is so very fixated upon Kami and does contain his own dark patches. He really does steal the show whenever he turns up on the page, though, and I really love that both he and Kami retain their own auras, despite their tight bond.

Ultimately, I can't say that Untold shows much plot progression, but it's entertaining nevertheless. I both love and hate that there's such a strong focus on character development in this novel, only because much of it failed to have much direction, but Brennan manages to keep us riveted with her every word and it's physically painful to leave behind these characters as we leave our hearts behind too. Untold isn't one of Brennan's best works, but it'll keep you coming back for more. (What? You thought Brennan wouldn't write another cliffhanger? You naive're in for a shock with these last few pages. And we thought Unspoken was bad... *shakes head*)


  1. Well you know my thoughts about Unspoken.I thought that the secondary characters were way more interesting than Kami and Jared. Even after reading the snippets that Sarah Rees Brennan posted on livejournal I still found myself rooting for the secondary characters than Kami. It's too bad that the plot for this one is flimsy and the lack of Lynborn lore is disappointing too. I would have thought that this one would focus more on the family and the magic. I'm not sure if I'll this one up, but I'm going to look forward to your review of Unbroken Keertana! Lovely review as always :).

  2. Oh no! This series made me uncomfortable from the beginning since I'm just not fond of too much tension, and I do despise cliffhangers more than anything else. But I know how strongly you felt about the first book and I hate to see you disappointed. I really hoped you'd enjoy this one just as much.
    Still, it wasn't all bad so there's some hope for book three.
    LOvely review, my darling. :)

  3. UGH! The one thing I hate? CLIFFIES! So, I do think I'll wait a bit more before I start this series, but so glad to know that the second one still rocks even if the plot isn't spectacular. Brilly review!

  4. I don't know how I feel about giving this series a try. On one hand I want to but on another i'm scared i won't like it and be uncomfortable! Great review though!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

  5. I still haven't read Unspoken yet but I have seen your review for it and I really want to read it badly. I waiting till this one is out so I don't have to deal with the cliffhanger but now after hearing this about Untold I'm not sure what to do. I'll probably go for it as I don't want to miss this amazing story. Sorry this one disappointed you. Amazing review Keertana :)

  6. I'm sorry that Untold didn't work out for you as you'd hoped Keertana, especially after you loved Unspoken so much. But I'm glad that despite some issues you're still left wanting to come back to this series for more. Also I've heard about these killer cliffhanger endings and I'm pretty much scared to pick up the first book. But at least I can dive into the next book straight away! Fab review as always!

  7. I had mixed thoughts on this too, Keertana. I definitely agree that some of the character relationships and development could have been better executed - but I do still really adore a lot of these characters. I too would have liked a little more about the sorcery and magic. The plot here was definitely a weak aspect. Hopefully the third book will bring things back on track again. Lovely review! :)

  8. Oh no, it's such a shame when a sequel doesn't live up to the first book. I still have not read Unspoken but all the amazing reviews mean I will, eventually!

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  10. Another cliffhanger, nooo!! ;)

    I loved Unspoken and have been so excited for this book so it's such a shame it didn't wow you as the first book did.

    I am a big fan of the characters (loved Jared) and the story-line so it's a pity there wasn't a lot happening plot-wise.

    A fabulous review Keertana! I'm going to go into this now with my expectations a little lower :)

  11. Good review. I hear this is a good series so i might check it out.

  12. I just read the beginning and end of this review b/c I've not started the series, but I get the impression that I need to wait until book 3 releases to start them. I don't want to deal with another cliffy! And I'm hesitant about a novel that doesn't move the characters much and could be described as boring. But it also sounds like you'd recommend the series overall, so it will stay on my TBR. Also did the covers change? For some reason this one seems very different from the first.

    1. Unfortunately, the covers did change. :( I loved the silhouette design of the first, but I guess this is more "mature", hence the change. Also, I definitely would recommend this series - it's unique, different from the norm, and entertaining. I really love Brennan's characters and while this novel wasn't as tight as I'd have liked, the first was extremely well-written and I'm hoping the third will be too. I'll keep you updated on my thoughts regarding this series, Lauren!(:


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