Reviews tagging Emotional abuse

The Unspoken Name, by A.K. Larkwood

5 reviews

bluejayreads's review

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4.75

There seems to be a theme lately of me picking up long books with low expectations and actually enjoying them a lot. I was intrigued by the protagonist raised to be a human sacrifice and then deciding not to die, but that back cover didn't seem like it would be worth a whole 18 hours of audiobook. 

In a way, I was right. The entire plot on the back cover is done 65 minutes into the book - I actually looked at the timestamp because I couldn't believe it was so fast. The beginning skims though Csorwe's time at the temple of the Unspoken one, blazes though her choice, and covers two years in a matter of minutes (literally 2% of the book, I checked the timestamp). It was moving too fast for me to really care about much that was going on, interesting ideas be damned, and the only reason I didn't stop there was because I didn't want to get in trouble if I got caught having my phone out long enough to queue up another book. 

But by the time I went on break and could have dropped this book and started a new one, I didn't want to. Nearly an hour and a half in, the meat of the story finally started. 

This is the book I switched out with The Body Keeps the Score (since I could only read that one two hours at a time and I needed something to fill the other six hours of a workday), and alternating the two makes for a heck of a reading experience. It's never explicitly mentioned and I don't even know if the author intended it, but Csorwe displays so many characteristics of an abused child. And none of the abuse is physical. Growing up as a destined sacrifice, it was lack of caring and connection and being told since she was old enough to understand that it was her duty to die and that's what all the adults in her life wanted for her. After her escape, it was psychological and emotional (unless you count putting her in dangerous situations as physical abuse) from Belthandros Sethennai, the wizard who rescued her and who hits 8 of the 9 diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. And she genuinely loves him because she believes him convincing her not to become a human sacrifice means she owes him her life. 

For something that seems like it should be a rollicking fantasy adventure and has so many wizard duels, creepy cultists, and fantasy settings, it is surprisingly character-driven. In fact, it is almost entirely character-driven. The only thing that could really be called a plot is that Belthandros wants a phylactery and uses Csorwe as one of his tools to get it. That doesn't really sound like enough to fill 18 hours, but it's also full of dead worlds, ancient crypts, snake goddesses, prison fortresses, reluctant allies, and a very sweet romance between Csorwe and an adorable research nerd in a similar situation to Csorwe before she met Belthandros. It was quite enough to keep me interested and engaged. 

I have a ton of things I want to say, but considering that the entire back cover plot wraps up 5% of the way through the book, saying much more is probably a spoiler. The beginning was very rough, but after that I enjoyed it thoroughly. I didn't know there was a sequel going in, and I don't even know what it's going to be about, but I love Csorwe, I enjoy her love interest, I thoroughly enjoy exploring all the weird and wonderful and eerie places that exist in this world, and I bet I will enjoy book two. 

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giuliagoolia2k's review

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adventurous dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0


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candidceillie's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75


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kelseyland's review

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adventurous dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

Remarkable world-building + sharp, engaging writing + LGBT rep = the high fantasy novel of my dreams.

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perditorian's review

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adventurous dark funny inspiring medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

LGBTQ+, frenemies, necromancy

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