Unspoken by C.C. Hunter
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark Book #3 (3/4)
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on October 27, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Rerated: 4 Stars
4.5 Stars, Completed October 7, 2015
– read bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –
It’s been almost a year since I’ve last read and reviewed the previous books in this trilogy. Even though Unspoken is fresh in my mind after having just read it, the other two weren’t. When I went back to read my reviews for them, I couldn’t help but cringe-and smile. Reborn was one of my first reviews on this blog and was one I was proud of publishing but, now after reading it nearly a year later, I’ve found myself quite dissatisfied. Looking back on those reviews and having the chance to compose this one, I feel like I’ve grown as a reviewer since then. And I feel the same way about this series. Della sure has grown as a character and this trilogy has evolved into something I have really loved following. I’m certainly going to miss Shadow Falls now that it’s come to an end*. In a way, because my journey with this trilogy and blogging was around the same time, it’s going to remain dear to my heart-as cheesy as that sounds.
Unspoken is the third
and final installment to the Shadow Falls: After Dark spinoff series and takes place after book two, Eternal. By the end of Eternal, Della is finally adapting to her new powers as a reborn vampire. Right when she also begins to come to terms with having Chase as her bondmate, she learns that he’s been lying to her all along about knowing her uncle. Even worse, after digging up her aunt and uncle’s files, a murder case surfaces and her father is convicted for her aunt’s death twenty years ago. Feeling betrayed, Della wants nothing to do with Chase, but now that he’s become an official FRU agent and she’s an elite paranormal investigator in training, it looks like she can’t avoid having to work together to prove her father’s innocence. With solving this case, Della and Chase are going to have to explore the darkest parts of town. Della, fearless as she always is, isn’t too afraid of the challenge, instead she fears the deepest emotions in her heart. She worries about the bond she and Chase share and is even more scared of letting Chase near her heart and falling in love.
Before I get into the review, I wanted to say that I highly recommend reading Spellbinder, the novella in between Eternal and Unspoken, because the story will go much more smoothly for readers that do. In that short story set in Paris, a lot of events happen between Miranda, Perry, and Shawn. Even though it’s mainly written in Miranda’s perspective and explores her arc of the story, the references from that novella may make Unspoken a bit tedious to follow without reading that short filler. Mainly because Della, Steve, and Chase also make some short appearances in that as well.
Anyway, Unspoken was a wonderful finale. All the elements were there. There’s not much of a cliffhanger and readers get the full closure they’ve been waiting for.
Old elements that made me love this series were still present. Della’s wit and spunky attitude were omnipresent throughout. Della’s narrative never fails to amuse me. So I was pretty surprised when this was actually written in a dual perspective when the other two previous installments were not.
Which brings me along to how it became pretty evident and predictable who Della was going to end up with, because, of course, the male perspective was going to be the chosen one. However it should have been obvious for most readers even before this book. As this series progressed the love triangle kind of just… died off. And I, elatedly, found it nonexistent in this installment. So I can see this being a potential problem for those that don’t like a predictable story. And for readers that really adored the love triangle I can see this being a possible disappointment, too. But there were so many swoon worthy scenes if you were rooting for the right pair, which I was, that it honestly didn’t really matter if the book was getting predictable in terms of the romance. My Panty Perv ship was sailing with high winds the entire way. I’m not complaining.
If you’ve read my other reviews on this series, you’d probably know I’m one of the few readers that loved this trilogy a lot more than the original Shadow Falls. Kylie was pretty boy crazy and I didn’t really like how her character was one of the ya paranormal Mary Sues, where she was normal but then discovered she had special powers no one else had and every boy found her irresistible. The love triangle drove me bonkers and the plot didn’t interest me as much. However, this spinoff series was so intriguing because, though the romance alone was pretty awesome to witness, I really loved the subplot with Della aiming towards her dreams of becoming an FRU agent. Empowering roles like that are my divide between characters that I like and love. Also, the spin with reborn vampires makes the series pretty special, which says a lot since I’m a huge paranormal/vampire books reader.
With that being said, the subplots of the previous two installments in this trilogy were compelling and Unspoken was no exception. In fact, it was so gripping I finished it in two sittings. However, I have to say the murder case in this one was a bit more random to me. There was some connections since Della actually knew the family but I wasn’t as drawn to wanting to discover who the culprits behind the murders were as I was for the last book with Natasha/Liam and the underground slave trade.
Like I’ve expressed in previous reviews of Hunter’s books, her writing voice is simply hilarious. The humor in the dialogue is always so belly laugh worthy. And the the characters (well aside from the widely adored-but not so much by me-Kylie) has always been the best part. Books that have camps have always been my weakness though. Readers can connect and get attached so easily with the characters. Also, most of the cast at Shadow Falls are quintessential teenagers. Hunter does an incredible job with creating bonds that realistically reflect real friendships. The girls’ roundtable coke sessions will be one of the many features I’ll miss from Shadow Falls.
However, this also brings me onto the one disappointing thing that made this book feel a little off for me (and consequently made me enjoy this finale a little less than the previous installments): a lot of the old cast is not in this book. Derek and Jenny don’t even make any appearances. Even Kylie and Miranda seldom appeared and when they did it was always the usual roundtable coke session scene. Though those deep girl talk moments are this series’ trademark, I was a bit sad that this book wasn’t able to highlight the importance of friendships and fun idea of “girls rule” more, which were concepts Hunter is so well known to be good at. Also, I missed the Charlies Angels kickbutt type scenes with the trio. And actually the rare appearances of the old cast was part of the reason why readers could catch on Steve wouldn’t be chosen… he hardly was in the book as well. Instead this book focused a lot more on Della and Chase’s relationship, her father’s case, and the mystery of the Chis family murder. Although these plots made this book busy enough, I was still a little disappointed that this finale fell a little flat by something Hunter did so well in all the rest of her books, but Unspoken was still a wonderful end to a series nonetheless.
Yet by my last page flip, I knew I was pretty content. (That ending scene, sigh.) Honestly, maybe it was wrapped up too neatly, but you know what? After all the trauma Della has gone through in the series, I think a somewhat happily ever after ending is appropriate. I know this is going to remain one of my all time favorite young adult vampire series for a really long time. After reading this satisfying finale, I know readers are going to miss Shadow Falls as much as I will. And I know, no doubt, Unspoken will meet the expectations of all Della fans out there.
*I’m sorry, guys, this isn’t really the true final installment to the series like I originally thought since there’s also Midnight Hour, which is in Miranda’s point of view. (I have a review here if you’re interested!) However, in a sense, Unspoken still can be read as the last book of the series because Della’s arc does come full circle with this one.
Special thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin for giving me the opportunity to read and review Unspoken. In no way did this affect my reading experience or honest review.