Untold

Untold  - Sarah Rees Brennan

This book was so disappointing after Unspoken, which I had loved. It dragged for the most part, and I found myself getting incredibly frustrated throughout the book. A war is supposed to be going on in this book between the sorcerers, but it sure didn't feel like a war was going on. There was none of the urgency that you'd expect. The characters were going to school, publishing newspapers, holding stakeouts, angsting over romantic decisions, and reading through records. All while waiting for the solstice to arrive, which is when the other side planned to make a sacrifice to gain complete control. There was training and planning in there too, and they talked about how little time there was to prepare, but it never felt like they were actually on a time crunch. It's supposed to be a war, but they know exactly when the other side is going to attack and have plenty of time to prepare. Granted they're horribly outnumbered and outmatched. Which actually makes the whole thing more frustrating.

 

I could not understand why Rob would give them time to prepare better against him. He had the upper hand. He didn't need the solstice to launch an attack. He sent someone to tell Kami to stop writing articles against him, but she refuses. He then does nothing. It's hard to feel like he's a real threat when he only makes grand gestures of power, but doesn't do anything truly menacing. He threatens people and kills animals, but that's it for most of the book until real fighting happens. No killing of those who resist or even just injuring them. And the conclusion to the big battle was just ridiculous and stupid. 

Rob beats everyone and then just lets them go, saying that he doesn't need to beat them because he's won and it's obvious. So he gives them a chance to escape and regroup so that they can try again later. Sure he ends up capturing Lillian a bit later, but if he really wanted her alive, he still could have killed everyone else who went against him to send a message to everyone else in the village to not fight him.

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There was more focus on romantic relationships than the actual war as well, which was annoying because the romantic relationships got tedious really quickly. More time was spent worrying about romance than the war. That really shouldn't be a thing.

 

There were other things that bugged me throughout the book:

Kami's mother's lack of communication on anything, which resulted in her marriage starting to crumble apart

The almost constant snark. I loved it in the first book, but didn't feel like it really worked in this book when things were supposed to be so serious and dire. I'm not saying there shouldn't be any snark whatsoever, just that it felt like there was too much.

I mean, near the end, after Kami's brother has been kidnapped so he can be sacrificed, she and Jared are snarking back and forth where she's joking about eating babies and sitting on a throne of skulls and taking over the world. It's hard to feel the horror about the war and potential murder of Kami's brother when she's joking about stuff like that. It just didn't feel like how she would act, particularly after she's been going on about the horror of Nicola's murder, the gruesomeness of the sacrifices of all the animals, and her despair at Rob's takeover plans, as well as having just witnessed the deaths of quite a few people she's known with her whole life during the battle and finding the corpses of several more shortly afterward. That's pretty dark stuff, but it's hard to connect to any of that when the jokes never seem to stop.

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Kami's mother's disappearance during the battle and subsequent kidnapping of her child. I'm sure we find out next book where she is, but I cannot imagine where she would be after she has been so adamant about staying out of things and protecting her family. Unless someone has taken her, I cannot think of a good reason for her to just have disappeared on the most dangerous night for her family.

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This book just dragged along. A war is going on, but after the initial scarecrow attack at the beginning of the book, it just didn't feel like a war was happening. It didn't feel like anything big was happening. I felt no sense of danger or urgency. Things in the village just moved along as if nothing was happening. School continued on like normal; the post office continued to operate; people continued to visit the tavern. This war that was supposed to be over control of the village seemed to have no effect on the people of the village. And if there's no effect, I have a hard time caring about who wins it.