Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan

I spent Friday home sick but thankfully felt better by afternoon yesterday. Which meant I still got to do all the exciting things I wanted to do this weekend. Which was mainly finish going through the Amazon top 10,000 reviewers to see if any of them wanted to review my book. I've been doing that for the last few weeks, and it turns out that some of them did want copies, so hopefully this will yield to a plethora of reviews. I also played around on Pinterest and made an Earthbound Angels fantasy cast page, which includes a spoiler character from Raising Chaos. I still need a Lucifer and an Azrael, so if anyone has any ideas, let me know.

I've been motivated to bake of late, for no real reason other than that I like sugary baked goods and I can. This may last for a week or it may last for the next several years. It's really hard to tell with me. But as long as I am interested, I shall blog about baking and books! 

The other day I decided I wanted to make sopapillas (cinnamon sugar doughy tortilla things), and the closest recipe I could find was sopapilla cheesecake bars, and I decided I was on board with that. So I gathered up all the ingredients and decided to bake them. As you can see, they came out a little lopsided. I think this is partly due to my baking ineptitude---I should have dabbed the cinnamon sugar mix more evenly, for example---and partly due to the fact that the recipe called for Pillsbury crescent rolls as the crust. The problem with this is that the crescent rolls want to come apart, and I had a hard time smooshing them up properly. There seem to be many websites on line that encourage this recipe in this manner, but I'm not sure it will work for me. I'm going to have to work on my rolling pin etiquette. Regardless, I have now eaten that bottom left hand corner, and it was delicious. So I'm calling it a win.

My book club is sadly not meeting this week because people are busy with holidays and whatnot. So we decided to do buddy reads instead, where we read a little bit of a book each day and talk about it. Mostly this consists of us complaining about which boys currently get points or no points, but since it's a young adult book club (for adult readers), this makes perfect sense. I've taken to recommending books to my book club that I want to read but have been uninspired to read on my own, and this month the club picked one of my choices: Unspoken, Book 1 of the Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan. And then after we read the first one, we immediately had to read the second, Untold.

The first sort-of-spoilery thing I have to say about Unspoken is that YOU WILL NOT LIKE THE END. That's why I put the book down the first time. I read the end and was like, "No, thank you." But now that's okay, because there's a second book to help you get over the end. Sort of. Honestly, the ending of Untold isn't that much better. We'll all just have to read Unmade when it comes out in the far reaches of 2014. In other notes, I decided to use the old cover for Unspoken, simply because it made me want to read the book, while the one that more matches the Untold cover I am "Eh" on. 

Unspoken is about British girl reporter Kami who has always spoken to a mysterious boy named Jared in her head, causing everyone around her to think she is crazy. Then one day she meets the boy and discovers that not only is he real, but he's the son of the super-important Lynburn family who has just returned to her town. I think the usual expectation in such a set-up is that Kami and Jared will immediately decide they are in love, and one of the interesting things about the book is that it didn't take this route. Instead, Kami and Jared are totally weirded out by each others' presences. To the point that they spend all their time together but can't touch each other and aren't sure they are glad the other exists. So their relationship is unique among YA books, and there are even a couple other cute boys in the mix to liven things up.

I have read Sarah Rees Brennan describe The Lynburn Legacy as Gothic, and in a way it is. The plot is certainly very dark, with ritual animal slaughter and pushing people down wells. But the tone of the novel is anything but dark. The characters have extremely witty banter that keeps up for the entire book. While no one is wittier than Kami, the side characters provide no end to amusement. My favorite is Angie, the people-hating champion napper, perhaps because I can relate to her. One of my fellow book club members liked Angie's lazy-but-there-when-it-counts brother Rusty and is convinced that he should be Kami's true love. She's wrong, of course, but I see where she's coming from.

So Unspoken  was a strange read, but it definitely inspired us to read Untold, and I have the proper amount of shame when I admit that I liked the second book better because it went along more traditional lines. (Yes, I realize this makes me a horrible hypocrite every time I balk at doing the traditional thing in my novels.) There was a lot more plot, for one thing, which is awesome, because I like plot, and Kami's relational dilemma was closer to "Which boy do I like? And which boy really likes me?" Really, many of my feelings about Unspoken were consisted of me thinking I would like the book if it were going to end in a particular way. And I spent a lot of the first book unsure whether Sarah Rees Brennan realized how it was supposed to go. After Untold, I rested content that our brains were on the same track. Of course, I'm not sure that she won't rip the carpet out from under me and kill everyone, but at least if I get a sad ending, I feel  it will be within the story structure I want.

Anyway. Lynburn Legacy. Unspoken. Untold. Good reads. But I'll understand if you decide to wait until the story is all done to pick them up.

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