The Unspoken Name

by A.K. Larkwood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1)
Click to Purchase

This was a fantastic read and for me, very different than a lot of the epic fantasies I’ve read in the last few years. The characters had strong personalities that ranged from “I love them, I need more” to “I hate them, I need more.” The interactions between everyone were a joy to read every time.

The pacing is something that really stood out to me with this book. The author did a really good job of keeping a very quick pace with the story, but it never felt like things were rushed or that important moments were being skipped over. So much was packed into this book without being overwhelming.

This book was fun, exciting, cute, and heartfelt. It hooks you early and keeps you.

Full Review with Spoilers

I was looking forward to the book very early on and it did not disappoint. The characters in this book are great. The author did a fantastic job writing well rounded, multilayered characters. Everyone is so likeable, even the frustrating, rude or down right awful ones. Every character is flawed in a relatable way. My feelings for each changed drastically throughout the book as I learned more about them or spent more time focusing on each.

I especially love that Csorwe isn’t your typical protagonist, not just the fact that she is an Orc or Oshaarun as they are called in the book. She has such interesting character growth through the story. I love her unquestioning devotion to Sethennai until she is faced with a new way of seeing her situation, and when she meets a women she’s attracted to, but can’t quite figure that part out at first. Shuthmili is a very interesting character that seems like she has a lot more to her than is truly explored in this. She also had nice development that is triggered when she meets Csorwe. Their dynamic cute as they dance around their attraction to each other. Talasseres is a perfect antagonist to Csorwe. I love that they absolutely hate each other, yet have to be a part of each other’s lives. They help each other along, even if it’s not always intentional. They have a perfect balance. Tal is a great antagonist without necessarily being THE antagonist in the story. This was also something I loved in this book. When pinpointing who exactly the antagonist is, I find it really depends on what point in the story your are in. It flows so seamlessly as the plot moves forward.

I loved that the plot grows steadily as the book goes as well. It feels basic and self contained at first, Csorwe simple wants to survive her destined fate. Sethennai trains her to be his loyal right hand on a quest for something bigger. The pacing here was different than what I am used to, but it was handled so well. Several years go by very quickly, but this feels comfortable. The author does a good job of moving through repetitive or mundane details. We don’t need to know every step of Csorwe’s training, just that she has and the results of that training. This quick pacing slows down a bit after which again, is perfect for the pacing of the book as a whole. Everything escalates into a much larger story that ends in a satisfying way while still leaving things unexplained enough to be excited for the next book.

Overall

This was a great epic with a rich story and a unique twist that kept me hooked the whole way through. I was on edge until the very end wondering what was going to happen next, both in the plot and with each individual character.

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