The Unspoken Name - A.K. Larkwood (ARC)
"Does she owe her life to those planning her death . . .
Csorwe was raised by a death cult steeped in old magic. And on her fourteenth birthday, she’ll be sacrificed to their god. But as she waits for the end, she’s offered a chance to escape her fate. A sorcerer wants her as his assistant, sword-hand and assassin. As this involves her not dying that day, she accepts.
Csorwe spends years living on a knife-edge, helping her master hunt an artefact which could change many worlds. Then comes the day she's been dreading. They encounter Csorwe’s old cult – seeking the same magical object – and Csorwe is forced to reckon with her past. She also meets Shuthmili, the war-mage who’ll change her future.
If she’s to survive, Csorwe must evade her enemies, claim the artefact and stop the death cult once and for all. As she plunges from one danger to the next, the hunt is on . . .
The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood is the incredible first book in The Unspoken Name duology."
I received this ARC for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, A.K. Larkwood and Pan Macmillan & Tor for accepting my request to review. The Unspoken Name will be published on the 20th February 2020.
Trigger Warnings: Torture, violence, swearing, graphic scenes, self harm (one character smashes her finger off)
I tried putting in all of the trigger warnings I could but please keep in mind that this book does deal with some potentially triggering themes!
Before we get stuck in, I just want to say that I thought it was really thoughtful of the author to put the list of names and places and how to pronounce them at the start of the book. I love when books to do this, I just think it is a really nice touch! I knew right at the start that I was in for an exciting and interesting story!
"The secret of greatness is to know when you should risk the wrath of god."
In The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood our protagonist is Csorwe, a fourteen year old girl who is due to be sacrificed by her death cult to their god - The Unspoken One. Until a wizard who goes by the name Belthandros Sethennai offers her a tempting last minute choice. Go through with the sacrifice or run away and work for him. Now both Csorwe and her old cult are hunting down a mysterious, powerful and incredibly sought after artefact - The Reliquary of Pentravesse, rumoured to have the vast knowledge and legacy of the greatest genius who ever lived. Who will reach it first and what will they unleash?
I love Csorwe's character. She is quiet but terrifically sarcastic. Underneath everything she wants to prove herself and show Belthandros that she was worth saving. She is a really unique character and I love the addition of her having tusks. It is so different to what I have read before and I found it so refreshing to have such original characters.
Where she is quite naive about the world, as she was basically just being reared to die, we're learning everything about this world alongside her which is a cool element of this book. As a reader we get to watch Csorwe grow up and experience everything that she has been through that turned her into the adult she has become.
Also I love her relationships with the other characters. Especially as this book contains the sweetest F/F romance! I ship Csorwe and Shuthmili so much, they are literally giving me all of the feels! The LGBTQ+ representation is so well done throughout the book!
Of course, I also have to talk about the rivalry between Csorwe and Tal because you all know how much I love banter! I think this book has given me a new favourite trope because they are definitely enemies to reluctant friends! They definitely have that vibe where they hate each other but would secretly do anything to protect one another!
Although it took me a while to warm up to Tal, I now absolutely love this character! He's funny and a bit of an asshole but deep down he is just searching for love/a deep connection. Plus he is responsible for one of my favourite lines in this book! "At 23, he was absolutely too old for this shit." That is an entire mood! Also another thing that I really appreciated was the fact that the main group of characters (Csorwe, Shuthmili, Tal) were all in their early 20s. Especially now that I'm 22, I can't really relate to the 16/17 year old protagonists like I used to - although that still doesn't stop me from reading them!
"The gods do not die as we die...but they can be reduced, and they can suffer."
I have to mention the world building in this book because it is fantastic! There are so many different worlds that are explored, from gorgeous lively cities to the haunting dead worlds. I like how the many different gods are a running theme throughout these worlds. The patrons and belief systems are so detailed and different for every world, it is honestly amazing! I grew up obsessed with Percy Jackson and wanting to know everything about the Greek and Roman gods so this book was perfect for me. They really intrigued me in this book and I would love to explore them even more.
With magic, necromancy, religion, angst and a heist or two there really is something for everyone! The Unspoken Name is an incredible adventure of a book with amazing writing and I can't wait for more!
Thank you again to NetGalley, A.K. Larkwood and Pan Macmillan & Tor for the ARC and remember to check out The Unspoken Name on the 20th February 2020!
In the meantime, here is where you can usually find the author and publishers: