Unwept by Tracy and Laura Hickman

Thank you to the publisher, Macmillan-Tor/Forge, who provided me a free copy through Netgalley for an honest review. Unwept is available July 1st.

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 claim to be friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, and that her memories may return in time. But, for her own sake—so they claim—they refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state.

 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 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 holds the answers she seeks—if she can uncover its secrets before she falls prey to an unearthly killer.

My review:

What I’d Pay: $8 (~3 Stars)

I was left slightly confused at the end of this book, and I’m still not sure exactly how best to review it without spoilers – but I will try.

First of all, because the  description for this book is appropriately vague for a mystery, it ended up completely surprising me. I expected a mystery with some elements of the supernatural due to the mention of phantom suitors and unearthly killers in the synopsis, but this book is decidedly other-wordly. The picturesque setting combined with the often creepy and odd characters, create an atmosphere that has a sinister, dreamlike quality to it. Overall I thought that the tone and atmosphere the authors created was great for a brooding mystery. Sadly, the characters came across a little flat and two-dimentional to me, except for the main character who was definitely more real. Because the main character can’t remember her past at all, it’s a useful tactic to keep us, as readers, guessing right along with her. What I didn’t appreciate though, was the fact that none of my questions were answered until the very, very end of the book. After raising tons of questions and offering cryptic clues throughout the book, the last couple chapters move so rapidly that I’m still trying to sort out all that happened. It was a very exciting action-packed last few chapters, but it left me slightly confused at the half-answers and cliff-hanger ending. This is a frustrating feeling after investing in an entire book. I actually set this book down when I was roughly 80% done and didn’t pick it back up for a few weeks because most of the book is pretty slow and offers no clues or answers along the way to keep a reader going. This is the first in a trilogy, and I have a feeling based on the ending of this book that the second will be much better, but I still wish I’d been given some more answers about the world and characters in this first installment of the series.

Bottomline: This is a unique book with a creepy, dreamlike atmosphere, that left me with more questions than it answered. As the first in a trilogy this is not necessarily a bad thing, but as a reader who has invested time in a book it did leave me slightly confused and frustrated at the lack of any real answers. I’m willing to pick up the second installment to see where the authors take this intriguing story, but I wish I had a better grasp on the world itself and the characters’ motivations by the end of this first book.

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