Thank you to Orbit and Little Brown Book Group UK for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost 1) by C.L. Clark
Release Date: March 23rd 2021
Tags: Fantasy | Adult | Military Fantasy | Colonialism | Rebellion | Family | LGBTQ+ | Saphic MC’s
Trigger/Content Warnings: Murder | Rape | Torture | Ableism | Racism
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.
Normally I am not at all drawn to military fantasy. However when you see a cover with that amount of fierceness in a character, it certainly wants to make you give a book a chance. And I’m glad I did.
The Unbroken is about colonization, identity and what that all entails. Stolen children, brainwashing, rebellions, treason, trying to find one’s footing in a world that has cut away all the land for you to stand on. And I think that is what makes this miltary fantasy stand out from others I’ve read in the past. It is completely character driven with two characters being the spill of it all.
Touraine is a soldier who was stolen as a child from her homelands and raised in the empire. Now she has to fight against her own. But she doesn’t feel like they are her own. She is loyal to the empire as she has been taught to believe. Yet she never quite fits in there either. Always just some dirt under someone’s sole. Never a ful person. And when everything is swept from under her feet, she only has her own to look at.
Luca on the other hand is the crown princess to the empre that wants to claim her throne. And she wants to do that by breaking the rebellion and bringing peace to the colonies. But what about an actual conscience and seeing what the actions of you and yours have caused?
There are so many bits and pieces weaved throughout the story that it becomes so much more than a military fantasy. It is an exploration of colonization and who you are in the world. What it is you really stand for. And along the way I fell in love with so many of the side characters. Gil who stands by Luca always, Touraine’s mom, the rebel leaders. They all have so much that shaped them who they are.
Having said that, it is a beast of almost 500 pages and I would have liked just a smidge more of action in the middle to really be invested. Now I lost investment here and there. I did get it back, but I needed a little more to make this a 5 star read which it could have been for sure!