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Untold April Snippet

Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

So recently I’ve had a few people tell me, on twitter and the like, that they’re reading the Untold snippets without having read Unspoken. I was puzzled because I couldn’t figure out why people would know who the characters were or care about what was happening to them!

Obviously, I want people to read my books, because that is what keeps me in cheese and electricity and the more people who read my books the sooner the better for me and it makes me feel all sad and useless when people do not, but I also think that probably it’s a better experience to read the snippets when you know the characters and with luck care about them, and where they are in their story. Plus snippets are there to be dramatique, and you’ll be missing out on the casual and funny bits and the bits that only make sense in context, and those are my own favourite bits to read. When reading. Other books, that is. ;)

So it would be my expert opinion that it’s better to read Unspoken and then the Untold snippets. HOWEVER, I am not the boss of anybody, this is the internet which is Freedom Central, do as you wish!

I did think to myself, maybe time to take a break from being a princess of evil, though, just in case there are those who did read Unspoken (hi guys love you!) and yet who are worried there may be no casual or funny or SLEUTH-y bits in Untold. For there will be!

So I thought I would ask on twitter which character people would like to see happy.

SARAH: So I thought I’d put up a happy snippet–
TWITTER: What evil game are you playing now, wanton mistress of the night?
TWITTER: Back devil, we know your tricks!
TWITTER: Is this some kind of cruel joke?!
SARAH: Whoa, who hurt you guys so you’re all so afraid and untrust…
SARAH: Sorry, no, I remember now, it was totally me.

… Eventually it emerged that people wanted Jared to be happy. I presume this was for the novelty value. ;) So here is a short piece in which Our Heroes steal stuff from evil sorcerers. Enjoy, m’dears. Evil princessing will re-commence in 3… 2…

Kami herself was turning loitering into a fine art at the post office.

“I always wondered what it would be like to work behind the counter here,” she told Mrs. Jeffries, being energetically charming while keeping one eye out the door. “I want to write an article about it, in fact.”

Mrs. Jeffries patted her dark hair. “I do like that paper of yours.”

“I would call it . . . ‘The Secret Lives of Postmistresses,’ ” Kami said.

“I don’t know about that,” Mrs. Jeffries told her doubtfully. “Sounds a little saucy to me.”

“Oh no,” Kami assured her. “Mine is a worthy publication. Completely lacking in sauce.” She spotted her quarry coming down the High Street, letters in hand, and texted a group message requesting immediate assistance. “So could I possibly come behind the counter?” she asked.

“Weeeeeell,” said Mrs. Jeffries.

Kami jiggled the gate invitingly, and Mrs. Jeffries swung it open. At the precise moment Kami slipped inside, the phone in the back rang. Mrs. Jeffries gave Kami a questioning glance, and Kami nodded encouragement.

Mrs. Jeffries went to answer the phone, while Kami spared a moment to hope Holly could keep her occupied long enough. Then the door of the post office swung open, and the stranger came in. She was tall, with hair so red it was almost vermilion. She had clear green eyes and Kami decided as soon as she saw her that her name must be Carmen or Veronica. Some classic evil name.

Carmen/Veronica gave Kami a skeptical look. Kami drew herself up and tried to look like a youthful but dedicated postmistress. “New here, are you? Welcome to Sorry- in-the-Vale,” Kami said. “I’m Mabel Jeffries.”

“Indeed?” said Carmen or Veronica.

“And you are?”

“Ruth Sherman,” said the woman, handing over her letters. Kami was tempted to keep them, but Ruth Sherman—shame about the name, possibly her evil sorceress title was Ruth the Ruthless—had propped her handbag up on the counter and was watching her carefully.

Kami stuck on stamps and deposited the letters in the postbag with an innocent smile, resolving to fetch them out when Ruth was gone. The door jangled and Kami was relieved to see Jared burst into the room. Ruth turned at the sound, and obviously recognized Jared. Or rather, recognized a Lynburn when she saw one.

“Staying with friends, are we?” Kami asked loudly, to attract her attention. “Enjoying yourself?”

Jared sidled up. He was not very good at sidling; he was more of a loomer.

“I plan to,” said Ruth.

Kami gave up on conveying messages to Jared with her eyebrows at the same time Jared gave up on subtlety. Instead he just knocked Ruth’s handbag onto the floor.

“Oh no,” he exclaimed. “Clumsy me.”

Kami clicked her tongue against her teeth. “I am so sorry,” she said. “What must you think of us? Those stamps are on the house. I mean the post office.” She spoke very fast, because she’d just heard the click of Mrs. Jeffries hanging up the phone. Jared rapidly stuffed the contents of Ruth’s bag back inside and thrust the bag into her arms.

Then they both stared at her intently and expectantly.

Ruth Sherman raised her eyebrows at them and backed out of the post office.

“Who was that?” Mrs. Jeffries asked, bustling out from the back just as the door swung shut after Ruth Sherman. She started at the sight of Jared, still crouched on the floor. Then she did a rapid scan of her post office. She instantly caught sight of the lone lipstick rolling on the floor.

“The poor lady must have dropped that,” she said, and undid the gate, stepping out to get it.

Jared put his hand on it. “No.”

Mrs. Jeffries stared down at him. “What do you mean . . . no?”

Jared and Mrs. Jeffries stared at each other, neither breaking eye contact, in a perfect deadlock.

Then Jared smiled at her. “I mean,” he said with conviction, “it’s mine.”

“It’s what?”

Jared stood up, pocketing the lipstick. “I know,” he responded. “Everyone tells me I’m more of a summer.”

Mrs. Jeffries continued to stare.

Jared continued to speak. “I’m going to go now. Me . . . and my lipstick.”

Since the gate was already open, Kami seized her chance to escape. “I too will leave. I have soaked up so much post office ambiance today already!”

Mrs. Jeffries visibly gave up on the youth of today with their random comings and goings, and even more random cosmetics.

Kami and Jared escaped out into the chilly brightness of the wintry air, sunlight pouring on them clear and cold as if through a crystal.

“Good save,” Kami told him. “I mean, it’s going to be all over town by nightfall, your reputation is ruined, but it was a noble sacrifice.”

“That’s me,” said Jared, and tossed her the lipstick. Kami caught it in both hands. “Chivalrous.”

“Oh, chivalry,” Kami said. “You get it from those old books of yours. Alice Duer Miller said chivalry was ‘treating a woman politely / As long as she isn’t a fright / It’s guarding the girls who act rightly / If you can be judge of what’s right.’”

“You be the judge of what’s right,” Jared said. “If you like. I wouldn’t know.”

Kami glanced over at him. “You do okay.”

“However, you’re not allowed to judge my books,” said Jared. “I am not the one who has actually read a book actually called The Bride of the Cursed Emerald.”

“Quality literature,” Kami told him, used to defending her mystery novels. “Turned out the butler did it. With the cursed emerald as a murder weapon. But the bride still loved it. The emerald, I mean, not the butler. Nobody loves a butler.”

It was ridiculous how simple it was to talk to him now they had something to laugh about and an adventure behind them. It was such a relief to have him with her, and not to hurt any longer.


( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 11th, 2013 04:33 pm (UTC)

This is cruel torture, because it is so nice and makes me smile and feel hopeful that things might turn out all right after all, but I know Bad Things are Most Likely Looming.
Apr. 11th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
Also, Ruth the Ruthless? Is this by any chance a Swallows & Amazons reference. If so, AWESOME.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 11th, 2013 05:04 pm (UTC)
Funny, I just re-read Pamela Dean's The Secret Country and there's a sorceress named Ruth in that. Sort of. I forget what her hair colour is.

To Sarah -- I think it's a testament to your writing style that people are able to enjoy snippets without prior introduction to the plot or characters. :-) One of my tests for reading a new book, actually, is "does it grab my attention if I open it somewhere in the middle?" But of course they are infinitely more meaningful if one's read Uspoken.
Apr. 11th, 2013 05:01 pm (UTC)
Apr. 11th, 2013 05:31 pm (UTC)
Hey, I can assure you that the snippets are not wasted on people like me, who haven't yet read Unspoken. For one thing, they are funny in their own right, even when one does not know the book yet. And also they remind me on a regular basis that I ought to buy Unspoken! Just couldn't do it yet, because then I'd have to read ist, and that would keep me from studying. Can't have that! No studying means no money means no books! ;-)

Apr. 11th, 2013 06:13 pm (UTC)
Do eeeeet. ;)
(no subject) - endlessfire - Apr. 12th, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sleepinbeast - Apr. 13th, 2013 11:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 11th, 2013 05:43 pm (UTC)
SARAH: Whoa, who hurt you guys so you’re all so afraid and untrust…
SARAH: Sorry, no, I remember now, it was totally me.


P.S. You totally crack me up!
Apr. 11th, 2013 06:02 pm (UTC)
Clever, wicked Sarah. Give us a happy Jared snippet so that it's all the more painful when we remember where we left things in Unspoken. Hope is the cruelest of Pandora's ills!

Jared is totally a Winter. I am of the Color Me Beautiful era and I know those blond characteristics of Clear and Cool! (I have only just had coffee.)
Apr. 11th, 2013 07:12 pm (UTC)
I fear Jared is not as well-versed in ways of beauty as he should be. ;) It takes years of study, Lynburn, get on this!
Apr. 11th, 2013 06:24 pm (UTC)
This snippet is sweet and funny and delightful, which means that next snippet everyone will die in gratuitous and heartrending ways. I know how this game works.
Apr. 11th, 2013 07:16 pm (UTC)
Y'know, I really do trust you Sarah. Because Unspoken was lovely and amazing all the way through, and the only bit that really broke my heart a little was the ending. But all in all the book was hilarious and lovely and very true to itself, and I know that while there are sure to be a few more heartbreaks through this series, all in all the books will be lovely and leave me with hope at the very end :)
Apr. 11th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
Oh well, I wouldn't trust me that far. ;) Happiness sometimes, and humour quite often, though, I can promise!
Apr. 11th, 2013 07:18 pm (UTC)

Apr. 11th, 2013 07:35 pm (UTC)
It was such a relief to have him with her, and not to hurt any longer.

Right in the feelings.

I have to say, I really love your writing style. The way you form sentences and describe and explain things. It's fun and vibrant.
Apr. 11th, 2013 07:42 pm (UTC)
So, everyone in Starbucks thinks I’m crazy right now, because I’m sitting in a chair in the corner, convulsing with almost silent laughter. It was actually silent, but then I hit the lipstick bit and I was holding my nose (to keep from snorting) and tried to breath through the laughter-convulsions and emitted a noise that was kind of a mixture between the sharp keening of a baby bird and a desperate gasp for air.

So, basically, the judgmental eyes of the entire coffee shop are now upon me (well, you know, side-glances. Starbucks people are *subtle*) because of this snippet and the hilarity found therein.

And it is totally worth it.

So thanks : D
Apr. 11th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC)
I really and truly CANNOT wait for Untold and I love having these snippets, they're just the right length, not really spoilery but just enough to tease! Jared is beyond adorable, by the by, totally ship him and Kami! Also, I think you could get the best of both evil worlds by combining the two names into what is clearly the most evil name of all, CARMONICA!!! :P
Apr. 11th, 2013 08:08 pm (UTC)
*is happy*
*feels wrong*
Apr. 11th, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
SARAH: How about some happiness?
EVERYONE: ... what are a... happiness?
Apr. 11th, 2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
I had such strong Veronica Mars flashbacks reading this that I had to go away and settle my emotions, so I guess your evil princessing succeeded despite your intentions? *smishes Kami and Jared*

Apr. 12th, 2013 02:23 am (UTC)
THIS, basically. In my head, I totally heard all the dialogue in Veronica and Logan voices. Oops?
(no subject) - hollyxu - Apr. 12th, 2013 02:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 11th, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. This is brilliant. \o/
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( 36 comments — Leave a comment )


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