Author: Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman
Publication Date: July 1st 2014
Publisher: Tor Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
Gamin, Maine, is a remote seaside town where everyone seems to know Ellis Harkington better than she knows herself—but she doesn’t remember any of them.
Unknown events have robbed Ellis of her memory. Concerned individuals, who purport to be her friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, that her memories may return in time, but refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state. For her own sake, so they say.
Ellis finds herself adrift in a town of ominous mysteries, cryptic hints, and disturbingly familiar strangers. The Nightbirds, a clique of fashionable young men and women, claim her as one of their own, but who among them can she truly trust? And what of the phantom suitor who visits her in her dreams? Is he a memory, a figment of her imagination, or a living nightmare beyond rational explanation?
Only her lost past hold the answers she seeks—if she can uncover its secrets before she fall prey to an unearthly killer
I've certainly have been reading a few mindfuck books lately. But, they're the best kind, they keep you guessing, keep you reading, keep you wondering what the hell is going on and Unwept is no exception. I was so excited when I got approved for it because Tor Teen have published some of my favourite books *cough* Kendare Blake *cough*
Starting with a brutal introduction Unwept takes you on journey that has you following blindly, along with our main character Ellis, who wakes up on a train with no memory of how she got there. Or anything else. Or who she is. Or who anyone is. So when she arrived at this town called Gamin she is utterly confused. So was I.
Being told she needed a medical since she couldn't remember from her "uncle" who isn't actually anyone's uncle but people call him that. Then being told she has a cousin who she'll be staying with. A cousin, as everything, she doesn't remember. All Ellis has to go off of is what people are telling her and her instincts, and her instincts are going wild. She and us don't know who to trust, even the person closest to her. Ellis basically has this clean slate but we don't know who she is. In the beginning there's not a lot of characteristics to get a sense of her, with glimpses we get to know the Ellis before, and through the people in the town, we get to see her how they saw her, not as who she is. As she starts remembering flashes of her past, the more her characteristics from Before start showing through, but she is different. She has good instincts, she's a fighter, she's not easily thrown, she may not necessarily be good, but she's not necessarily bad either.
We get to learn the story and the weirdness of this town (and trust me, it's weird. Even weirder than Carp in Panic.) as we go along, and as Ellis learns it too, and gets introduced to all these people who seem to know her- and are just as weird as the town to her with their infatuation to Merrick, who keeps trying to pursue her, much to Jenny- Ellis's cousin's, dismay. Like I said, Ellis has good instincts because she doesn't trust him at all. But the thing with trust, and not knowing whom to trust makes good and bad, bad and good. The friendship she made with Jenny is cute, they act like siblings- even if Jenny's little green eye of envy makes an appearance a lot.
Since Unwept is written in third person, it is mostly centred around Ellis, we do have a few other perspectives thrown in to give you a wider view of what was going on, and this is where the hints are dropped there and then. Even with those hints though, you won't understand it until towards the end when the penny drops. The writing is gorgeous- especially when it comes to descriptions, you can imagine the things clearly, and I may or may not want to steal a few dresses. The thing is Unwept is a short book, and for most of the confusion and weirdness there's not a lot going on- but I was never bored. It's a surprise really, but the suspense kept me reading, and while I am a little disappointed, mainly with how it ended, I still enjoyed it. Now, I said how it ended. It's abrupt, since it is short, it could've been made longer or the next instalment included with it would probably make a better novel as a whole. That's pretty much my only complaint.
Unwept, with its weirdness and creepy characters keeps you in suspense, makes you wonder what the hell is going on and gives you a sense of lurking danger with every little revelation.