Reviews tagging Torture

The Unspoken Name, by A.K. Larkwood

20 reviews

local_hat's review against another edition

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

5.0

This is the first book in a long time that I sank in to and devoured within about 24 hours. At least the pannacotta didn't totally take that away.

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adalheid's review against another edition

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

5.0


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sapphic_in_the_stacks's review

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This book and concept had such potential, I was really excited to start reading it. Honestly I just couldn't make myself finish it. I was listening to the audio book and I kept listening in hopes it would get better, but it was so slow and dull from the beginning and it didn't get better. The characters are somehow both boring and annoying, their motivations feel so basic. I also couldn't listen to any more unnecessarily gory scenes. I get that Csorwe is supposed to be this badass character, but she's really just annoying and reckless, and the amount that she becomes seriously graphically injured really got to me by this point. When I realized I was dreading trying to get through any more of this book I decided it was time to give up. If it's not good by 70% of the way in, it's not worth finishing. 

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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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therainbowshelf's review against another edition

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adventurous dark mysterious slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

This is the kind of book that made me ask "what was the point of everything else, then?" more than once. It is a pretty epic story, and I enjoyed having queer characters simply exist without their queerness being a major point of contention. This book wasn't for me (I thought for sure it would be!), but it's an excellent read

📚 The gist 📚: When a mysterious stranger rescues Csorwe from a sacrificial death, she devotes her new life to his murky quest. 

📒Representation📒 wlw mc, mlm sc

💕 For readers looking for 💕: epic fantasy, multiple worlds, morally ambiguous and ancient gods, LGBTQ characters, magic, assassins

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booksandbodylib's review

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

5.0

This is the perfect book to finish my 2021 reading challenge on. I absolutely loved this!!! It will definitely not be everyone's cup of tea, but my god, it was mine! All the cups!!! Dark, eerie, queerie (hehehe), and character-driven with the most epic world-building. Csorwe and Shuthmilie are everything and Tal??? He adds that levity that balances it all out. It sort of gave me Senera/Relos Var from the A Chorus of Dragons series by Jenn Lyons vibes, which is HIGH PRAISE. I cannot wait for The Thousand Eyes. 

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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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sapphichobbit's review against another edition

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adventurous dark medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.75

The only reason it's not a 5 star is because it took me a little while to get into - though that might be because of a reading slump - but I have a feeling the second book will be a 5 star! (fingers crossed!)

For the rest of my life I will be desperately craving a queer fantasy book set in the world of LOTR and though this is most definitely NOT that (it can't exist until 2050 :/ ), it helped to temporarily fill that void as best it could and for that, I am grateful.

My thoughts on this book aren't particularly deep or poetic but let's get into it anyways. I loved the world that this was set in; it was like a society made up of fantasy religious cults - tell me you don't love that! - and there always seemed to be more to learn and understand about the corruption that is woven deeply into the foundation of each of those groups and the people in charge. All the information and action that was given to the reader felt well-earned, though I think the stakes took a bit of a hit in favor of the discovery and slow unraveling of the secrets of this world by our more innocent and curious narrators.

I absolutely adored Csorwe and found her to be such a strong, and easy-to-connect-with narrator. Even though I couldn't personally relate to her disposition or her personal experiences, I found her to be a reliable touchstone, and was easily able to understand and sympathize with her thoughts and feelings and actions. I loved Shuthmili (!!) and her strength and confidence and hunger for knowledge. Frankly, she's just so cool. Tal just might be my favorite character though. His dialogue was so funny and witty and snarky and I found myself laughing at his one-liners more than once. His narration is addictively charming and I couldn't help but want to spend more time in his mind. I hope we get to see more of his story along with Csorwe's and Shuthmili's in the next one. Thank goodness I only need to wait a month or two.

P.S. Dear Authors: please write more queer adult high fantasy because there is NOT enough and it's all my queer nerd heart craves.

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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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kamreadsandrecs's review against another edition

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

3.0

... there’s truly something wonderful in this novel. The world, the characters, the plot, the themes – all have immense promise. But sadly, they are all smothered by the writing style, which muffles and dims the parts that ought to be memorable and striking. There are stories, of course, that suit such dry and deadpan delivery, but that style does not serve this novel well at all. Where the reader ought to be drawn in close to the characters, ought to inhabit the setting, ought to be moved by the plot or ponder upon the themes, they are instead set back at a distance, observing everything with dispassion. This is not exactly something I want to feel from a fantasy novel, and I’m sure there are plenty of other readers who would agree. 

Full review here: https://wp.me/p21txV-KE

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