Untold: The Lynburn Legacy, Book Two, by Sarah Rees Brennan

Sarah Rees Brennan's novel Unspoken was one of my favorite YA books of 2012. I objected to the twee cover art, the overly-mannered dialogue, and the underdeveloped antagonist, but I was utterly in love with the protagonists' romantic conflict: an example of teen angst done absolutely right.

I received Brennan's sequel, Untold, in the mail yesterday, and dove right in. Kami Glass, girl reporter and would-be defender of the small English village of Sorry-in-the-Vale, has cut off her mental link with Jared Lynburn, but the two are still hopelessly obsessed with one another. Their fumbling attempts at reconciliation are complicated by Jared's uncle Rob, who is ratcheting up his attempt to transform Sorry-in-the-Vale into a free-range retreat for evil sorcerers. Kami, Jared, and their friends are determined to stop him, but their greatest weapon—Kami and Jared's shared magic—is toast. Instead, the kids fall back on a series of minor enchantments, self-defense training, and historical research, but when Rob escalates his attack, none of their efforts will be enough to prevent bloodshed.

Unfortunately, Untold has all the same flaws as Unspoken, and fewer of its virtues. The characters only speak in glib bons mots, the cover art is more mature but less attractive (and has absolutely nothing to do with the cover art of book one, further irritating those of us who like our editions to match), and the antagonist is still a half-baked mustache-twirler who spends most of his time lurking around the edges of the story, inexplicably holding off on doing any serious damage. Even Kami and Jared's relationship falls a little flat, as Brennan replaces the first book's epic central conflict with a series of mixed messages and failed romantic signals. Untold is still readable enough—and I have plenty of leftover affection from the first installment—but it doesn't do much to move the story forward, and yet it still manages to end on a cliffhanger. I'm not saying you shouldn't read it, but smart readers would be well-advised to hold off on starting the book until closer to the final installment's release date.

Review based on a publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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