[A quick note: I requested this book from NetGalley because of the blurb. It sounded really cool. I had no idea what I was in for. While I don’t think this is a book for everyone, and it certainly won’t appeal to everyone, it’s one everyone can benefit and learn from. Books are great ways to learn and experience things from the perspective of characters. This was one of those. I’m glad I read it, even if it wasn’t entirely my cup of tea.]
“𝗔 𝗿𝘂𝗹𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝗱𝗼𝗲𝘀𝗻’𝘁 𝘀𝗲𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗰𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗿𝘂𝗹𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝘄𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝘀𝗲𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗸𝗻𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗽𝗹𝘂𝗻𝗴𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸.”—C.L. Clark
The Unbroken is a brutal fantasy inspired by North African history. It address colonialism, racism, harsh politics, and the struggle of the oppressed. The themes in this book were deep, heavy and tense. Its characters, refreshingly imperfect. The plot, slow in places and rushed in others. The world building, layers upon layers. I wish I could say this was an easy read. It was anything but. Most truths are hard to face, this was no exception.
The story follows Luca and Touraine. Two women from very different backgrounds. Luca is the kingdom’s princess, while Touraine is a military conscript who was kidnapped as a child, trained, and returned to the very city she was born in. As the story progresses, Touraine is forced to question everything she believes, while Luca must fight for control of her right to rule. Both women are thrust together to face the growing unrest among rebels who want nothing more than to regain control of their homeland. Together, Luca and Touraine grow and learn to question. Neither is perfect. And they both make regrettable mistakes. There is a smidge of romance between them too.
“𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗸 𝗶𝘁 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹 𝘄𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗲.”—C.L. Clark
The world building was impressive and complex. However, for a “fantasy” there weren’t many fantasy aspects other than this being in a fictional world modeled off real world. There was some mild magic. Nothing crazy, though.
This was a tough read for me. There was nothing “feel good” about it. It was dark, brutal, and difficult to confront. But aren’t all truths? The writing was beautiful, and occasionally the pace was a little slow for me, but the ending was done extremely well. I was satisfied as I shut the book.
While this book wasn’t my preferred flavor, because I like light, feel-good, guilty pleasure reads, it was undoubtedly GOOD. The only reason I’m not giving it a higher rating was because it just wasn’t my cup of tea. My ratings are most heavily based on my overall enjoyment. But there is so much merit to the writing, the themes, the storyline, that it deserves praise. I’m on the fence about the sequel. Will I read it? I want to say I’m interested to see what happens, but there are also so many great books out there. I have a feeling it will land on the “indefinite TBR” where I’ll “get to it eventually” but never quite get to it.
𝗠𝗬 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 𝟯.𝟱/𝟱⭐️
A huge thank you to Orbit and NetGalley