The Unbroken // by C. L. Clark
Pub Day: March 23, 2021
Length: 464 pages
Affiliate Link: Buy here on Bookshop.org
Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.
Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.
Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.
“You don’t find a life. You have to make one, with the people around you and the causes you put your strength into.”C.L. Clark, The Unbroken
I have some really mixed feelings about this book. The rating really is a 3.5 that has been rounded up to a 4. I liked Clark’s writing style a lot. She pulled me into her book and I was anxious to return back to it every time life called me away. But at the same time, there are several things I really struggled with as well.
I’m a big fan of multiple POVs so having two narrators was great. We got to follow both a suppressed warrior as well as a privileged princess. These two could not be further apart in station in their country. I’ve always liked to follow along and see the moment where storylines converge. That actually happened pretty soon in this book! I also liked how Clark incorporated the different themes of this book as well as having made this a queernorm world. She created a setting that was so easy to imagine with magic that was so fascinating to learn about. I cannot wait to read more about that in the next book! There are multiple scenes in this book that have really tugged at my emotions. The sense of belonging, the devastation of defeat, the camaraderie of being with someone that understands, and the thrill of fighting for the right cause. Those are the things that kept calling me back to this book. I found Tour so much fun to follow whenever she felt the thrill of fighting for a good cause!
Despite this though, there are multiple things I struggled with. There were a lot of bad decisions made in this book and as is often the case, they could be blamed on the romantic feelings of characters. My issue with this though is that the romance between the main characters just wasn’t really that believable. Based on the scenes we experience, I just did not really understand where their feelings came from. I didn’t see how they really knew each other well enough for that or had much of a reason to like each other. It felt more like we were being told that they cared for each other than we were shown. That made many of the bad decisions so frustrating to deal with. I’m honestly not entirely sure if we were supposed to like both main characters.
I also found many of the characters a bit one-dimensional, like they could only really have one goal or main emotion. I would’ve enjoyed a little more complexity to them. The only character that really felt like she made complete sense to me was Pruett. Now that’s a person I would love to follow for an entire book! What an amazing, no-nonsense character! I’m also a bit disappointed with the very last scene but that’s still based on my feelings of the relationship that was the center of this story so it’s not surprising. It does promise an interesting start to the next book though! And let me tell you, despite all this, I am still super pumped for book 2!
About the Author:
Cherae graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA and was a 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow. She’s been a personal trainer, an English teacher, and an editor, and is some combination thereof as she travels the world. When she’s not writing or working, she’s learning languages, doing P90something, or reading about war and [post-]colonial history. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in FIYAH, PodCastle, Uncanny and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Now she’s one of the co-editors at PodCastle. She’s represented by Mary C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron and Associates.
About the Publisher:
Orbit is a leading publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy, with imprints in the UK, US and Australia. They publish across the spectrum of Science Fiction and Fantasy – from action-packed urban fantasy to widescreen space opera; from sweeping epic adventures to near-future thrillers. Launched in 2007, Orbit US is the Science Fiction and Fantasy imprint at Hachette Book Group USA.
Orbit is my absolute favorite publisher, both to read as well as to review for. They have been so friendly in all interactions, are a lot of fun on Twitter, and just spoil their reviewers like crazy. I am excited for everything I get from them. Make sure to check them out!
Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
If you’re interested in seeing other people’s opinions, check out the following reviews:
- See a blog review by Bookish Brews here