Review- The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

Goodreads Synopsis: What if you knew how and when you will die? Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice. But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power. But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

Genre: Adult Fiction, High Fantasy, LGBT

Date of Publication: February 11th, 2020

Publisher: Tor Books

Length: 464 pages

My rating: 3.5/5

Csorwe was meant to be a sacrifice, but fate had other plans. Instead of fulfilling her destiny with the Unspoken One, she chose instead to flee in secret with Belthandros Sethennai and train as his assistant. Together, they plan to take back Sethennai’s stolen title and home, and search the worlds for the Reliquary of Pentravesse. Their journey has them cross paths with both friend and foe, and Csorwe’s loyalties will be tested more than once. A chance encounter with a young Adept named Shuthmili will open Csorwe’s world even further than she could have imagined. 

This is one of those High Fantasy sagas that requires a set of crib notes to keep track of everything. The detail that went into the world building was unfathomable, and I commend A.K. Larkwood for their dedication. The list of characters alone is daunting, but thankfully they are introduced at a reasonable pace so you don’t get too overwhelmed. I appreciated the diversity of the characters as well, especially Csorwe being Oshaarun, which is essentially a sort of orc. 

The plot of The Unspoken Name is extensive, to say the least. I had finished reading what I thought was the climax and falling action of the book when I noticed I was only 20% into it. Unfortunately, this is where the book lost me. The amount of twists and turns and plot changes, the whole sets of new characters, it felt like I was speed-running a whole trilogy condensed into one book. This amount of information cramped together had me mentally exhausted, and unfortunately it ultimately lost my interest. 

I think that the story has real promise, and maybe the sequel, which is set to come out this year, will renew my interest. I admire the amount of work that went into the plot, the characters, even the language that is used in the story. Any book that has a pronunciation guide and character listing at the beginning clearly had an obscene amount of work put into it. Veterans of High Fantasy sagas may fair better with this book than I did, and I would still say to give it a chance if you appreciate a well-written challenge. 

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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