Unspoken (Lynburn Legacy Series #1)

Unspoken (Lynburn Legacy Series #1)

4.4 63
by Sarah Rees Brennan

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A modern, magical twist on the Gothic Romance and Girl Detective genres, this book will appeal to fans of both Beautiful Creatures and the Mortal Instruments series. Reviewers have praised the take-charge heroine and the spellbinding romance.

Bound together. Worlds apart.

Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's

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A modern, magical twist on the Gothic Romance and Girl Detective genres, this book will appeal to fans of both Beautiful Creatures and the Mortal Instruments series. Reviewers have praised the take-charge heroine and the spellbinding romance.

Bound together. Worlds apart.

Kami Glass is in love with someone she's never met—a boy she's talked to in her head since she was born. This has made her an outsider in the sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale, but she has learned ways to turn that to her advantage. Her life seems to be in order, until disturbing events begin to occur. There has been screaming in the woods and the manor overlooking the town has lit up for the first time in 10 years. . . . The Lynburn family, who ruled the town a generation ago and who all left without warning, have returned. Now Kami can see that the town she has known and loved all her life is hiding a multitude of secrets—and a murderer. The key to it all just might be the boy in her head. The boy she thought was imaginary is real, and definitely and deliciously dangerous.

"A sparkling fantasy that will make you laugh and break your heart." —Cassandra Clare, New York Times bestselling author

"A darkly funny, deliciously thrilling Gothic." —Kelley Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author

"Readers will laugh, shiver, and maybe even swoon over this modern Gothic novel." —Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author

"Breathtaking—a compulsive, rocketing read."—Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author

"Captures the reader with true magic."—Esther Friesner, author of Nobody's Princess

"A laugh-out-loud delight." —Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kami Glass is the kind of 17-year-old who can roll a sentence like “I can defenestrate my own thugs” off her tongue. She’s working on becoming an investigative reporter, and someone in her tiny English village of Sorry-in-the-Vale is trying to kill her. Almost as distracting as that fact are the Lynburn cousins, Ash and Jared, scions of the manor house family—Ash because he’s gorgeous, and Jared because he’s been the voice in Kami’s head for all of her life. Like its characters, the kickoff to Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy series is charming, awkward, and smart, occasionally biting off a bit more than it can chew. In the acknowledgments, Brennan (the Demon Lexicon trilogy) notes her debt to two centuries of gothic novelists, but many plot elements—the light boy and the dark boy, the inexplicable family curse, the emergence of magic as an explanation—owe as much to manga (and indeed Kami is part Japanese). The dialogue, if sometimes improbable, is frequently a laugh-out-loud delight. A promising launch with a dark cliffhanger of an ending. Ages 12–up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Cassandra Clare, New York Times bestselling author of The Mortal Instruments saga
"A sparkling, assured fantasy that will make you laugh and break your heart..." 

Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author
"Readers will laugh, shiver, and maybe even swoon over this modern Gothic novel."

Tamora Pierce, New York Times bestselling author

“Breathtaking, heartbreaking—a compulsive, rocketing read!”

Kelley Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author
"A darkly funny, deliciously thrilling Gothic. Unspoken kept me up late, turning the pages as fast as I could."
Esther Friesner, author of Nobody’s Princess and the Chicks in Chainmail series
“With a heroine who kicks butt without ever being a ‘Spunky Girl’ cliché, Unspoken captures the reader with true magic: alluring, dangerous, fascinating, and breathtakingly real.”

The Horn Book
"Witty, take-charge Kami reads a bit like a British Veronica Mars, and troubled Jared, uncovering his own dark legacy alongside her, is compelling. Brennan thoughtfully and thoroughly explores the implications of sharing a psychic connection; for Kami and Jared, it's by turns comforting, romantic, and agonizing. After this first installment-full of mystery, magic, and nods to both the girl detective genre and gothic romance-readers will be impatiently awaiting the next."

Publishers Weekly
"A promising launch with a dark cliff-hanger of an ending."

Kirkus Reviews
“An enjoyable tribute for established fans of the gothic, as well as an enticing introduction for new ones.”

VOYA - Laura Lehner
Kami Glass is no ordinary high school student: the budding journalist hears, in her head, the voice of a boy named Jared, whom she assumes to be imaginary. When Jared Lynburn turns up in the flesh and strange things start happening in her small town—including a grisly murder—Kami and a small group of friends set out to investigate and discover much more than they bargained for. The Lynburn family is somehow involved in a plot that includes sorcery, animal sacrifice, and a magical spell meant to protect their town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. This is the first book of a new series called The Lynburn Legacy, set in the Cotswolds region of England. Kami is a unique and intriguing character, strong enough to carry this story as the protagonist. The dialogue is quick and witty, but the explanations of the supernatural elements are unsatisfying, leaving too many questions and plot holes, even for a magical fantasy. Unfortunately, both the family of villains of the story and Kami's righteous sidekicks are oddly two dimensional and lack spark—like the beautiful but lazy friend who hates everyone and spends most of the book lying on a couch throwing insults at people. In spite of these flaws, dedicated readers will enjoy the plot twists with the unusual romantic triangle and will no doubt look forward to the sequel. Reviewer: Laura Lehner
Kirkus Reviews
Sassy girl detective meets overwrought gothic romance, and it goes about as well as you'd expect. Kami Glass knows that she could be a great reporter, if there were only something worth investigating in her sleepy Cotswolds village. But now the aristocratic, secretive Lynburns are coming home to their sinister ancestral mansion, and Kami is determined that her high school newspaper will get the scoop. Soon, two gorgeous, near-identical Lynburn cousins, princely Ash and bad-boy Jared, join her journalistic team--not to mention Kami's imaginary best friend since babyhood, who turns out to be not quite so imaginary after all. And that's when the grisly murders start….From the abandoned abbey to the veiled villain, no gothic trope is forgotten while creating the doom-drenched atmosphere. Unfortunately, when an admirably intrepid 21st-century heroine with supportive family and friends replaces the traditional isolated innocent, and when every character banters with the same witty genre-savvy repartee even under the direst of circumstances, any suspension of disbelief is stretched to the snapping point. The abrupt tonal shift at the climax, when the magic previously hinted at is revealed as both deadly and heartbreaking, makes the final cliffhanger even more devastating. Far too self-consciously clever to be truly emotionally absorbing, this is nonetheless an enjoyable tribute for established fans of the gothic, as well as an enticing introduction for new ones. (Fantasy. 11-17)
Children's Literature - Amy McMillan
Jared has been inside Kami's mind for as long as she can remember. Losing real friends on account of her penchant for talking to her imaginary friend too often, Kami has grown up a relative loner in her small English village. Now in high school, the town is abuzz with talk of the Lynburn family returning to their ancestral estate after years away. Kami is immediately drawn to handsome Ash Lynburn and amazingly enough he seems interested in her. But her world comes crashing down when she meets his brooding cousin Jared—her Jared. It turns out their connection is a result of a dark spell used to provide protection for their village. But now people are being murdered in the woods and Jared is a suspect. Determined to free her friend from scrutiny Kami sets out to solve the mystery. It seems there are sinister and mystical forces at play and the two teens are the only ones with the power and determination to set things right. The paranormal in this series opener is refreshingly subtle and there is ample conclusion for those who are tired of the never-ending series phenomenon. The characters are likeable and entertaining. Kami has a bit of Veronica Mars about her—a budding reporter with a snarky attitude—while the dialogue among the teens has the frenetic pace and wit of a Gilmore Girls episode. Fans of the aforementioned or anyone looking for a magical new series will love it. Reviewer: Amy McMillan
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Aspiring journalist Kami lives in Sorry-in-the-Vale, a sleepy little town in the English Cotswolds. The school year's just started and she's already achieved a major coup-after sweet-talking the administration into letting her start a school newspaper, she convinces her best friend, Angela, to partner with her. They promptly set up shop in an empty room, dub the glorified closet "headquarters," and start sniffing out stories. The out-of-the-way arrangement works well. Gorgeous Angela prefers to be away from the ogling eyes of others and Kami, well, Kami has not kept it a secret that she talks to a boy's voice in her head, a fact that doesn't make her the most popular girl in school. When the Lynburns, the "ruling family" in town, return to their home after 17 years away, Kami is able to get to the bottom of the many secrets swirling in the air. And when the boy in her head appears in the flesh, her own story intertwines more and more tightly with those of the Lynburns and of the townfolk. The cover aptly describes Unspoken as a "gothic romance," but it has equal parts fantasy and supernatural rolled in, all emanating from the somewhat mythical forest around the town. While the rush of overly witty, pithy banter rolling from Kami's lips can be a tad much at times, Brennan molds a likable and independent heroine. Most importantly, the cliff-hanger ending and depths left untrolled will keep readers guessing and wishing for book two. Fans of Maggie Stiefvater's "Wolves of Mercy Falls" books (Scholastic) need look no further for their next series.—Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Lynburn Legacy Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The First Story


by Kami Glass

Every town in England has a story. One day I am going to find out Sorry-­in-­the-­Vale’s.

The closest this reporter has come to getting our town’s scoop is when I asked Mr. Roger Stearn (age seventy-­six but young at heart) to tell me a secret about our town. He confided that he believed the secret to Sorry-­in-­the-­Vale’s high yield of wool was in the sheep feed. I think I may have betrayed some slight disappointment, because he stared at me for a while, said, “Respect the sheep, young lady,” and ended the interview. Which leaves us with a town in the Cotswolds that has a lot of wool and no secrets. Which is plainly ridiculous. Sorry-­in-­the-­Vale’s records date back to the 1400s. Six hundred years do not go by without someone doing something ­nefarious.

The Lynburns are the town’s founding family, and we all know what the lords of the manor get up to. Ravishing the peasants, burning their humble cottages. Fox hunting. The list goes on and on.

The Lynburns have “dark secret” written all over them. There is even a skipping song about them. Skipping songs may not seem dark to you, but consider “Ring Around the Rosy,” a happy children’s rhyme about the plague. In Sorry-­in-­the-­Vale they sing this song:

Forest deep, silent bells

There’s a secret no one tells

Valley quiet, water still

Lynburns watching on the hill

Apples red, corn gold

Almost everyone grows old.

The song even talks about secrets.

During this dauntless reporter’s lifetime, however, the only Lynburn in Aurimere House was Marigold Lynburn (now deceased). Far be it from me to speak ill of the dead, but it cannot be denied that Mrs. Lynburn was a ferociously private person. To the point of ferociously throwing her walker at certain innocently curious children.

Today, after seventeen years in America, Mari­gold Lynburn’s daughters have returned to Sorry-­in-­the-­ Vale. If the family does have any dark secrets, dear readers, you can have faith that I will uncover them.

Kami stopped typing and glared at the screen. She wasn’t sure about the tone of her article. A serious journalist should probably not make so many jokes, but whenever Kami sat down to the computer it was as if the jokes were already there, hiding behind the keys, waiting to spring out at her.

Kami knew there was a story in the Lynburns. They had gone away before she was born, but all her life she had heard people wishing that someone sick would recover, or a storm would bypass the valley, and in the same breath say, “but the Lynburns are gone.” She had spent the summer since she heard of their return asking questions all over town, and had people instantly hush her as if the Lynburns might be listening. Kami’s own mother cut her off every time, her voice equal parts severe and scared about her dangerously dis­respectful daughter.

Kami looked back at the screen. She couldn’t think of a title besides “The Lynburns Return.” She blamed the Lynburns, because their surname rhymed with “return.” She also blamed the kids who were messing around in the woods beyond her garden: tonight they were making a sound that was almost howling. It went on and on, a noise that struck her ears hard and set her temples throbbing.

Kami jumped up from her chair and ran out of her bedroom. She thumped down the narrow creaking stairs and out the back door into the silver-­touched square that was her garden at night. The dark curve of the woods held the glittering lights of Sorry-­in-­the-­Vale like a handful of stars in a shadowy palm. On the other end of the woods, high above the town, was Aurimere House, its bell tower a skeletal finger pointing at the sky. Aurimere House, which the Lynburns had built when they founded the town, and where they had lived for generations, the masters of all they surveyed. There was no place in Sorry-­in-­the-­Vale where you could not see the mansion, its windows like watching eyes. Kami always found herself watching it in return.

For the first time Kami could remember, every window was lit from within, shining gold.

The Lynburns were home at last.

The howling reached a pitch that raked up Kami’s spine and sent her running to the garden gate, where she stood with her eyes full of darkness. Then the sound died abruptly. Suddenly there was nothing but the night wind, shushing Kami as if she’d had a bad dream and running cold fingers through her hair. Kami reached out past the boundaries of her own mind and called for comfort.

What’s wrong? the voice in Kami’s head asked at once, his concern wrapping around her. She felt warmer instantly, despite the wind.

Nothing’s wrong, Kami answered.

She felt Jared’s presence slip away from her as she stood in the moonlit garden for another moment, listening to the silence of the woods. Then she went back inside to finish her article. She still hadn’t told Angela about the paper.

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Meet the Author

SARAH REES BRENNAN was born and raised in Ireland by the sea. After college she lived briefly in New York and somehow survived in spite of her habit of hitching lifts in fire engines. Since then she has returned to Ireland to write and use as a home base for future adventures. Her Irish is still woeful, but she feels the books under the desk were worth it. 

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