I picked up Unspoken on a whim after I couldn’t find the book I was looking for. It is YA Gothic paranormal romance–all things I love.
Unspoken tells the story of Kami Glass–an aspiring journalist who starts a newspaper at her school in the small, sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Nothing much seems to happen in her hometown, until the return of the family who used be the ancestral lords over the people in the town–the Lynburns. Kami is determined to find out all of their secrets–until she meets Jared, the “other” Lynburn, who is part of a secret that she has been keeping about herself for years. And then there are the strange things happening all over town–attacks, ritual animal killings, strange weather patterns, the fact that the Lynburns actually still own the deeds to most of the town–including her own home. Kami will stop at nothing to uncover the truth–but what will this truth mean for her? Kami, who has been both an outsider and an insider in Sorry-in-the-Vale is about to discover her place in the great secret of the Lynburns.
I very much enjoyed Brennan’s rendering of the modern Gothic novel, set in England. At times I felt the story was a little too over the top–as much as I loved that Kami was a stop-at-nothing investigator, I felt that some of her actions were a bit too unbelievable. I enjoyed the tension and the relationship between Jared and Kami–their telepathic link. However, I think if I was Kami I would have long gone insane with having another voice in my head at all times. I don’t know if it was good enough for me to consider picking up the sequel, but I can tell you that I was definitely entertained.
“My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years. That sounds long enough, I know, but actually they want me to go on for another eight months, until the end of this year.” ~p. 3
Never Let Me Go is the story of Kathy’s childhood at Hailsham, a boarding school in the English countryside, and her young adulthood at the Cottages. There is something a bit strange about Kathy’s school–she and her classmates are all encouraged to create art, write poems, and above all, keep themselves in excellent health. They are told what their future lives are going to be like from a very early age, but somehow, sheltered by guardians and isolated in the English countryside, it doesn’t seem to matter that they won’t have the same kind of life as ordinary boys and girls. It doesn’t seem to matter to Kathy, until, all too late, she might have a second chance to be with the boy she always loved.
For me, more than anything, this novel is all about memory. I found Kathy’s meandering narration to be above all realistic, poignant, and poetic. There are parts that Kathy doesn’t remember, or parts that Kathy records her friends have a different version of, but that she chooses to remember it in the way that she wants. Never Let Me Go is a science fiction novel that feels more like contemporary fiction or even a memoir. It’s fast read, but one that you won’t want to rush through, because there is so much to consider. I’d say that Ishiguro really has the “tip of the iceberg” style of writing down to a T. I’d give it four out of five stars and recommend this book to anyone who likes thought-provoking, contemporary, science fiction.