Series: The Nightbirds #1
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Published by Tor on July 1, 2014
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Reviewed by: Julia
References to sex and sexual assault.
Gamin, Maine, is a remote seaside town where everyone seems to know Ellis Harkington better than she knows herself—but she doesn’t remember any of them.
Unknown events have robbed Ellis of her memory. Concerned individuals, who purport to be her friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, that her memories may return in time, but refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state. For her own sake, so they say.
Ellis finds herself adrift in a town of ominous mysteries, cryptic hints, and disturbingly familiar strangers. The Nightbirds, a clique of fashionable young men and women, claim her as one of their own, but who among them can she truly trust? And what of the phantom suitor who visits her in her dreams? Is he a memory, a figment of her imagination, or a living nightmare beyond rational explanation?
Only her lost past hold the answers she seeks—if she can uncover its secrets before she fall prey to an unearthly killer.
UNWEPT strives to create an uncanny dreamworld of menace and meaning, but falls far short of its goal. After a gripping opening scene, the story bogs down under Alice in Wonderland levels of incongruity and silliness.
Though the story lags after the incredible opening chapter, once Ellis arrives in Gamin the mystery manages to overpower the nonsense for a time. Unfortunately, the clues and hints scattered page by page don't build to a satisfying trajectory, but rather pile up and become cacophonous. Like the reader, the characters are similarly overwhelmed. Rather than growing over the course of the story, book one of this series takes Ellis from confused and compliant to hysterical and obdurate. Despite glimmers of strength and intelligence, Ellis herself seems fed up with this story by book's end.
Fantastic opening chapter and interesting premise aside, the majority of this narrative doesn't offer enough grounding to ever give the story weight. UNWEPT left me with a long list of questions, and very little desire to spend any more time in this chaotic and frustrating world.