Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Release Day Review: Untold

Untold (Lynburn Legacy, book two)
By Sarah Rees Brennan
Expected publication September 24, 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers

WARNING: There may be spoilers ahead. To read my review of the first book, go here.

Once upon a time, Sorry-in-the-Vale was a sleepy English town. Then, Kami Glass discovered a dark past, and a sorcerer who hoped to bring that past to the present. Now, Kami and her friends find themselves in a battle where the stakes are life or death.

I want to start this review by reminding you how much I loved Unspoken. I loved pretty much everything about it - the characters, the setting, the mystery, the humor; pretty much everything about the first book worked for me. I wish I could say the same about this book.

Considering how much I loved book one, book two was one of my most anticipated reads of this year, so I was thrilled to once again receive a digital galley from the publisher. It taunted me as I tried frantically to finish my other galleys; I wanted to read this one so bad. Maybe the anticipation and expectation were too much for this book to live up to.

On the one hand, some of what I loved about the first book is still there - the characters are still the ones I fell in love with in volume one. As a matter of fact, Kami spends a good portion of this book evolving into a different kind of character. So much of what she has believed about herself was challenged during the events of book one, meaning she is now becoming someone she might not have imagined before. Many of the characters are facing similar challenges - Angela and Holly, and Jared and Ash have all discovered new things about themselves and are learning what this means here in book two.

Additionally, the humor of book one is still here in book two - I just love the cleverness that pervades the conversations between the characters. It makes the book fun to read, even if terrible things are happening in it.

I think what this book suffers from is book two syndrome. It's the second book in what I assume is a trilogy and, as often happens, it lacks because of this. Characters and setting were already established in book one, so there is only additional information being given here. Book two is often meant to serve as a bridge between books one and three, the go-between sandwiched in the introduction and worldbuilding, and the ultimate climax. That's exactly the problem with this book - the plot is not terribly exciting, and it's clear that most of it happens just to keep the story moving along. Even the battle that does occur in this book is pretty lackluster - yes, there are casualties, but it's over much more quickly than one would expect for these characters.

Overall, this book is a bit of a let-down from the love I felt for book one, but I'll still be anticipating book three.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

Also, a small note: WHY DID YOU CHANGE THAT BEAUTIFUL COVER FROM BOOK ONE? I hate these new covers - now they look just like every other teen book out there.

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