Friday, July 11, 2014

Review: Unwept by Tracy Hickman & Laura Hickman

Release date: July 1, 2014
Author info: Website | Twitter
Publisher: Tor
Pages: 272
Format: Egalley
Source: Publisher provided through Netgalley
Buy the book: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | The Book Depository
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 was immediately intrigued by Unwept. Between it's lovely cover and mysterious synopsis that promises murder and small town secrets, how could I not be? It's a rather short first book in a new series that looks like it'll get even better as it goes on, as well.

The simple fact that Ellis has no memories whatsoever makes for a fascinating read. Never does it feel like things are being held back, and learning the true nature of Gamin alongside Ellis is addicting. I found myself quickly turning the (metaphorical) pages, making guess after guess about Gamin and its residents--and never coming close. Even after finishing the novel, I'm not quite solid on it, but I think that's kind of the point. Despite an explanation, I've still got loads of questions, questions that must wait to be answered.

The pace is, especially considering that it's pretty short, astonishingly slow-feeling, without being frustratingly so. At the close of each chapter, something new has been uncovered, so you're always kept on your toes. And it really works. Unwept is very gothic and creepy, without ever really being scary--though there are a couple of horror-movie worthy visuals.

My real complaint is that it feels so much like a series setup. You get the explanation, but it's leave you with more questions than answers. You know who's been killing, but it does little to resolve the book's conflict. We know who Ellis is and where she came from, but the book really just cuts off at the end. There's very little satisfaction in finishing Unwept, and that's what bothered me. I wanted to put it down and sigh, having read an interesting book, but I was left feeling unsatisfied. It's an interesting setup, certainly one I've never seen before, that I'm very interested in, and I enjoyed  reading the novel, but I just think the story needs some feeling of completion, even if there are large threads leading to the next book.

Nonetheless, Unwept is a fascinating read that will keep you guessing and leave shivers down your spine, and a promising start to the series.

About the authors:

TRACY HICKMAN and LAURA HICKMAN have been publishing game designs, books, and stories for over thirty-five years. In addition, Tracy is a New York Times bestselling coauthor of many novels, including the original Dragonlance Chronicles, Dragonlance Legends, Rose of the Prophet, and Darksword trilogies as well as the seven-book Deathgate Cycle. Tracy and Laura live in Utah.

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