Series: The Serpent Gates
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: February 11th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
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 . . .
Goodreads link: The Unspoken Name
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I had a hard time both rating this book and going through it. From reviews I’ve read, it looks like I’m in the unpopular opinion here, but I feel that this book had great potential but was rushed.
Things I liked:
- I truly believe that the story overall had potential.
- The author had some good ideas and tried to build a unique world with a range of races with different beliefs.
- Shuthmili was actually a nicely developed character with a great arc.
- There were some nice twists and others that had potential.
Things I didn’t like:
I think most of my issues with this book comes down to the fact that I strongly believe this should have been split into two books. On Goodreads, it says that this is to be a duology but in my opinion, it should have been a trilogy.
- For the first 30% of the book, the pacing was very rushed and all over the place. We start with Csorwe preparing to be sacrificed but she runs away with Senthennai. And then we jump to 2 years later were Csorwe has supposedly trained but we don’t see any of it ever again. What’s the point of that? And then they leave to reclaim Senthennai throne, and then we have a proper story arc where the “bad guy” (or at least one of them) is defeated and one of the main plot-line is over. And after that, we jump again to 5 years later.
- Because of all this time jumping and the rushing I wasn’t given any time to process what was going on or to get to know the characters properly or to believe that there were saying. For example Csorwe mention for the spam of one page that she trained with a group of to-be mercenaries. And she goes on about how close she got to them and how much she liked training with them etc. But we never get to actually see that. But after a couple of chapters when Csorwe says that she misses them I’m supposed to actually believe and fell that somehow?
- We are constantly told things instead of been shown. Csorwe felt angry, Csorwe thought that, this person said something that Csorwe thought was anger, Csorwe is such a good warrior, Csorwe was so close to these characters. Ok, cool, can you please show me that instead of telling me the fact and just expect me to fell some kind of emotion.
- Through the book, we are told that Csorwe is supposed to be amazing at fighting and yet she constantly gets herself so injured she almost dies and need to be saved. And to add to that she is supposed to be badass but then constantly second-guesses herself, and worries about what Senthennai or other people will think and we get pages of those thoughts. Don’t get me wrong I like characters that are badass but know also how to have feeling and not being perfect but this was a little too much towards self-pity and I don’t like this.
- The love story. We have a f/f romance which is great. And the author really tried to not make it insta-love but… it was. As soon as Csorwe within 10 days (maybe less) she completely discards her mission to save the love interest which actually felt just like a way to move the plot forward. Csorwe also convinces the love interest (again within 10 or so days, without really knowing each-other) to run away from her destiny only based on hints and feeling.
In conclusion, this story frustrated me because it had potential but it was rushed. I think the first 30% of this book should have been the first book and then the other 70% should have been the second book and then whatever the third book will be. This will have given the author time to show us more about the character and how they get to know each other so we can actually feel and believe what we are constantly being told.
What about you guys? Have you read it? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!