Unspoken by Celia McMahon

Be brave. Be uncaged and unbroken.

Synopsis

Set in a kingdom of warring lands, demon curses, and hidden magic, UNSPOKEN is a fantasy for fans of Maggie Stiefvater’s Mercy Falls Series and Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass.

“You are unbroken.”

Princess Isabelle of the New Kingdom has lived her entire life in the confines of her palace. She spends her time hunting for the poverty-stricken Voiceless—people of the Old Kingdom who warred with her kingdom and ultimately lost—and dreaming of a world beyond the walls of her home. As the only remaining child of the king and queen, she is to be married off by her eighteenth birthday.

“My father said that magic died long ago. It was evil, cursed, and wicked. My father is a liar.”

When Izzy witnesses the use of forbidden magic in the woods outside the palace, she is attacked, and saved by an unknown man. Soon after she discovers her rescuer is a Voiceless servant in the castle named Fray, she befriends him to seek out the magic users who tried to kill her. Fray agrees to help, but not before Isabelle discovers the servant boy harbors a secret the king has tried to bury—that he is a Gwylis, people of the Old Kingdom who made a pact with the demons of the underworld for the power to transform into giant ferocious wolves. But to shift into a beast, Fray must be able to speak the words to do so. If he is to thwart the attackers from killing her entire family, Izzy needs to cure the ailment that took away his voice.

“Sometimes one actionone deathcan spur a movement, sway the cosmos, and move the stars.”

But curing Fray holds more danger than she ever thought possible. The lies of her parents and the risk of putting her own life on the line seems as destructive as falling for the servant boy. If Isabelle is to save herself and Fray, she’ll need to face enemy Gwylis, cross paths with usurper kings and princes, and decide what side she is on—human or wolf—or lose her kingdom forever.

“I am fearless.”


Review

Rating = 🖤🖤🖤🖤 | 4/5

I was first attracted to this book by the cover, it is gorgeous. I hadn’t heard of this author before, but read the synopsis and it sounded interesting, so I was in. 

The story is told from the perspective of the princess Isabelle (Izzy) and thus we learn about the world through her eyes. She is young, naive and sheltered. Born to a domineering mother and a tyrannical father, she is the last surviving heir to the kingdom. As such, she finds herself caught between the expectations and responsibilities of her birthright and wanting to be free from them.  

As she learns about the lengths that her family has gone to take and hold onto power, her sense of justice and wanting to make things right carries her down a path that will ignite change within herself and the kingdom.

The story also contains an interesting take on the werewolf origin story that I enjoyed. 

Since this is told through the eyes of the main character, we don’t get much of an idea of the world at large. I assume that we will definitely see more of this world as we move into the 2nd and 3rd books of the trilogy. 

In addition, since we see everything from Izzy’s perspective, we are privy to her vacillations of thoughts and feelings about her family, what is right and wrong, love, and her own strengths and weaknesses. This sometimes makes for a confusing journey, but reminds us that she is human, with flaws and doubts, even as she is trying to be strong and do what is right. 

This is a quick and interesting read. Overall, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to learning more about the world and the characters in the rest of the series. Wonderful debut from a new author that I am thrilled to have found.

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