There’s a heavenly bureau whose job is to catalogue all the thoughts of ‘finities,’ or people on Earth. Maggie, a being in this bureau, is assigned to her beholden, Eric. She’s been with him for his entire life. She’s seen every thought that has gone through his head from excitement(Star Wars) to heartbreak(April). The story picks up with Eric at his miserable IT job, setting up the work station for a new employee, Lindsey. He immediately starts to fall for the beautiful, yet troubled, woman. Maggie is desperate for Eric and Lindsey to fall in love. She yearns for his happiness. Maggie’s world has its rules and influencing a beholden’s life is the number one no-no. But a desperate Maggie can’t be witness to tragedy and is willing to stop it with no fear of what consequences may come.
You’re literally inside Eric’s head for the majority of the story. It’s an interesting perspective, and it’s written extremely well. You find yourself, not only pulling for Eric, but you start to think like him. The dynamic between Maggie and Eric as the story progresses is particular interesting and enjoyable. It manages to blend elements of a love story, buddy comedy, workplace observation, fish out of water tale, and spiritual awakening, without being too heavy handed on the last. You’re not going to get that edge of your seat feeling that you might have in his last novel, but this one makes up for it with the character driven story. That being said, there are a couple of anxiety tinged moments.
The parts in the heavenly bureau are interesting and play as a mirror to Eric’s own workplace. Except the workers in DOTAR are generally nice and love their jobs. The issues that are hinted at for some of the other heavenly workers, Borador in particular, had me wanting more from that angle.
Aaron Blaylock’s sophomore novel is a far more personal and spiritual affair than his first, The Land of Look Behind. The best writers can change genre and motif. Some of Stephen King’s best stories are his ones that aren’t horror. This is what Aaron Blaylock did with The Unsaid and he did it well. That transition from an action/adventure tale to a character driven story can’t be easy. The Unsaid is a quick read, also. You start the book and you’re immediately 30 pages in. It’s brevity is refreshing.
The dialogue, though it dips into the cheesy, is written well. The interactions between all of the characters feels authentic. Being inside Eric’s head lends the reader to start thinking like the main character, which builds a connection. You find yourself pulling hard for Eric and facepalming when he says something awkward, which is often.
The concept is interesting. It draws a likeness to the incredible Pixar film, Inside Out. If you’re going to be compared to another story you can’t complain about it being a Pixar one. It’s similar, but really only in the aspect of being inside someone’s head. Blaylock focuses on the theme of action and consequence than emotion and imagination.
The characters are relatable and enjoyable. The story hinges on Eric being relatable, and he is. He’s self-deprecating, funny, awkward, frustrated, and nice. Maggie is ever-optimistic and selfless. Dave is a character in need of his own story. If you picture Chris Pratt’s Andy Dwyer from Parks and Rec, that’s Dave. The protagonists in this story are extremely likable and the antagonists are literally...the worst. That’s a good thing.
The ending is great. I can be a sucker for am happy ending especially when it ties up the story nicely. This one ends perfectly. The last chapter gave me chills. I finished and uttered the word, “Bravo.”
Nothing really. I have been hard pressed to find something I didn’t like in this book. There may be some things the reader could, at worst, be indifferent to, but there isn’t anything to not like.
Read it! Read it twice! If you get to the end of this book and don’t, at least, feel goosebumps, you might not be human. You might want to get that checked out. It’s a change of pace from his first novel, but a well executed one.