Reviews tagging Cursing

The Unbroken, by C.L. Clark

13 reviews

foreverinastory's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

This is a sprawling slow paced military fantasy. The Unbroken explores the facets of colonisation/imperialism and all of the consequences in gritty details. The story starts off slow and stays that way for a while, but if you can invest the time in it, it's well worth it.

Touraine was stolen as a child and raised in the Balladairan empire. The only loyalty she has is to her fellow Sands, the other stolen Qazali child soldiers. Now that Touraine has been sent back to her homeland she has reckon with the ties she thought were gone and what rebellion means. Princess Luca needs to get her uncle off the throne. If she can stop the rebellion in Qazal, it will prove she's ready to ascend the throne. But negotiating peace comes at a higher price than she expects.

I am really glad I took my time with this book. I loved getting to know Touraine, the Sands, the Qazali and the whole world. It was immersive and I constantly wanted to know more about this world and the magic. Touraine makes a lot of mistakes and difficult decisions throughout this book. It was quite messy, but seeing the way her loyalties kept her torn between the Balladairan Empire and the Qazali felt realistic and truly illustrates how insidious colonisation is.

I wouldn't really categorize this as a romance, though there are some romantic relationships in this. I don't really know how to feel about the possibility of Luca and Touraine, especially after the end. There is definitely a power imbalance here and while Luca is a nice person, there's lived experiences she'll never understand. Plus throughout this we see Touraine constantly have to sacrifice those close to her, but Luca is constantly insulated from this choice. I guess the jury is still out on this ship for me, but I'm very invested in these characters future journeys, especially Touraine.

Rep: Sapphic BIPOC female solider MC, sapphic disabled female MC who uses a cane periodically, BIPOC supporting cast, wlw side characters, nonbinary side character, queer normative world.

CWs: Animal death, blood, colonisation/imperialism, confinement to prison cell, cursing, death, genocide, grief, gun violence, injury/injury detail, murder, racial slurs, racism, torture, violence, war. Moderate: fire, kidnapping, medical content, attempted/threatened rape, sexual harassment, slavery (forced enlistment of conquered people). Past mentions of child abuse/death by the military.
 

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madamepincers's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

Incredible world building and magic system and I can't wait to read more. Only drawback for me was characters who consistently make Very Bad Choices and change their minds/seem to adhere to different moral codes at different times, but given the context, I think their confusion and issues with determining their own priorities was believable. But it happens to be a major pet peeve of mine so 👀

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caitlinattemptstoread's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0


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booksthatburn's review against another edition

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challenging dark sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

THE UNBROKEN is a tale of colonialization, uprising, and a stolen child returning to her homeland as a conscripted soldier ordered to bring it to heel. Touraine is one of the Sands, the term for Qazāli people stolen as children and raised to be soldiers by the Balladaire. This puts her in the position of being used to enforce restrictions on the people she came from. Events early in the book remove her from the Sands, the people she's lived with, fought alongside, and bled with all her life to instead be in service to princess Luca. The rest of the book explores Touraine's confused attempts to figure out what she wants and what she's willing to die for, as well as Luca's desperate attempts to hold on to power through the slim thread of her uncle's distant regard and her subordinates' loyalty. One of the strengths of THE UNBROKEN is it highlights the way that someone who is marginalized in their own group but has power and privilege over another group often uses that relative power to gain a sense of control by oppressing someone else. Luca's physical disability and precarious political position lead her to make harsher choices in order to not appear weak, something that would probably be less on her mind if she weren't constantly worried about people mistaking her physical impairment for lack of will. 

The tension between Luca and Touraine is very well handled, as throughout the story their dynamic as a pair constantly shifts, but they're never quite on the same page about the nature of their relationship. It showed over and over how no matter how attracted they might be to each other, the gulf of power between Luca's position and Touraine's means that it's impossible to trust any "Yes" from Touraine when Luca can have her tortured or killed for a "No". This affects everything from their mutual attraction to the treatment of the Sands to the handling of the rebels. 

I love the portrayal of the Qazāli rebels, I can't discuss much there without spoilers but they were dynamic as a group and as individuals, each with their own reactions to Touraine and Luca's various intrusions on their lives, as well as the reality of life under Balladaire's oppressive colonial rule. 

I'm looking forward to the sequel, I'm a little worried that it'll only get worse for the characters from here but I want to know what happens next.

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butchsunflower's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional hopeful mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

You know that one Lady Gaga GIF  where it's her going "amazing incredible never the same etc."? That's me at this book. Man oh man was this a brilliant debut that literally left me breathless. I'm not even sure how to describe this book besides absolutely stunning. If you love political fantasies that tackle colonialism, imperialism, racisms, found family, a unique magic system, lovable, complex characters and a very messy wlw relationship then I highly, highly recommend this book.

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cerilouisereads's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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sunflower_emily98's review against another edition

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challenging dark slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0


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liminal's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

I love this book. The characters beyond the two POV characters were so interesting and vibrant. Love the Jackal, for example. This book is about two characters from the opposite ends of the power spectrum in a colonised city. A princess of the empire, and a conscripted soldier from that particular colony. Just one warning - don't read for the romance, while it has a romance threaded through it that is not the main focus. While this novel absolutely deals with themes of colonialism and racism, there doesn't seem to be any homophobia or biphobia. one MC is a bi disabled woman, with a lot of privilege,the other is a lesbian. There are a wide range of ages represented, including some amazing women in their 50s. The setting is broadly based on France and colonialists North Africa.

My only beef with this novel is that some key elements felt rushed, and I had to go back and re-read a few chapters. Sometimes it wasn't clear who was speaking. Also I didn't feel like Touraine got a real chance to establish her badassery before she was thrown into fish out of water. Her loyalty to the sands felt a bit stop/start but then as an ADHD person I absolutely forget groups of people that deeply matter to me so.

However I absolutely felt for her and got so angry on her behalf throughout the whole novel. There were amazing scenes that had me cheering and passages I want to go back and annotate. As a debut novel this is stellar and I would recommend to fans of the Baru Cormorant series, Sabaa Tahir, and anyone looking for queer fantasy that doesn't focus on romance. Steer clear if you're looking for books without exploration of colonialist/racism.

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callmekt's review

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adventurous dark tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
It isn't supposed to happen like this. This is the common thread throughout The Unbroken, book 1 in Magic of the Lost by C.L. Clark. It feels like I've read this story before, a story riddled with good intentions and bad outcomes and miscommunications. Politics and war and the struggle of leadership. But I haven't read the story like this, a story that centers two women with similar hopes but different motivations. A story about a soldier educated with propaganda who unlearns her upbringing when confronted with the plight of people who look like her. A story about a royal who wanted to set things right but was too wrapped up with scholarly theories to fully understand the breadth of her decisions. Plans go awry. Hearts are broken. Relationships are strained. And through it all, questions of magic and gods and what it means to believe in a being more powerful than you can understand. Keep your eyes on The Unbroken. Pray for rain. 

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ristaccia's review

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adventurous challenging dark hopeful inspiring tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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