Reviews tagging Slavery

The Unbroken, by C.L. Clark

19 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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fireopal's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging emotional reflective
  • 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

4.5


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andromeda_1998's review

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adventurous dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

I’m having a hard time deciding how to write this review. Especially since I did like the book but I question some of the choices the author makes…

What is the book about (without spoilers):
Touraine has been a soldier for most parts of her life. She was a child stolen from her family and she was raised to serve the empire. But when her company is sent back to the land she comes from, to stop a rebellion, nog everything goes as planned. 

Luca is the princes of the empire, sent to her rebel filled colony to still the rebellion. She needs a turncoat to reach her goals.

Together they are looking for a way towards peace between the Empire and the colony.

My thoughts about the book:
Like i said before this book is hat to review. There are a lot of things happening in this novel that I do love but that doesn’t solve my mixed feelings about some things in the plot.

The world-building in this book is amazing. It’s rich and details but we haven’t learned everything there is to know about this world and the author leaves the reader with some major questions especially about the magic system. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing since it’s the first book of a series and  I cannot wait to read the sequel.

The writingstyle used for this book is impressive. It reads away in a good pace but I sometimes felt like I was thrown in a scene without any explanation of how we came to that point.

The characters aren’t badly written but i also didn’t think that they were done especially well. One is a princes studying from birth to be queen and the other is a luitenant who has command over her own regiment but some how both of them weren’t able to make a well thought out plan….they both should have known better for 80% of the book.

I hated the relationship between the two main characters. When I heard this book was sapphic I couldn’t contain my happiness but this relationships was a burning dumpster fire of toxic waist.

However I did love the plot and the side plots. This book shows us a good explanation of the sentence “Hey Colonizer.”  It also shows how the europions destroyed all the different cultures that they got there hands on.

Favo quote:
“Too many died I a war that wasn’t theirs”
“Your rebellion would be another one”
“You’ll have to fight for one side or the other. Why not fight for the side that gives you freedom?”
“Because I can fight for the side that’s winning.”
Winning isn’t everything. It’s how you win that matters most

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becksreads's review

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adventurous challenging dark 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

4.25


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candidceillie's review

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5.0

literally all of the CWs for this one. It's a hard book. 

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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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oreo's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional funny inspiring reflective tense medium-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

4.0


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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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aquamarine18's review against another edition

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adventurous dark 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

The Unbroken is a fantasy novel with a setting inspired by French colonial occupation in Northern Africa with two POV characters: Touraine, who was stolen as a child and taken to Balladaire where she is raised to fight for the colonial power occupying her homeland, and Luca, a princess of Balladaire given power in occupied Qazāl and desperate to prove her competence so she can take the Balladairan throne.  The plot follows both characters' (and other characters') political maneuvering and shifting loyalties in the context of a rapidly growing rebellion.  Overall, I really liked this novel + will definitely read the next book in the series.  I thought many of the characters were very well developed + particularly appreciated Touraine's perspective; I hope that some of the more peripheral characters get more focus in the sequel.  I also thought that the book was well written - the action scenes especially - and that the political intrigue was compelling.  I appreciated that sexual diversity is the norm in the world of this book -- many characters are lgbtq+ but this itself is not a plot point -- and that women being in positions of power is also the norm here.  I will note that while both Touraine and Luca (and a number of other characters) are queer and a number of reviews describe the book as sapphic, it ought not be construed a romance; there is an extreme power difference here (Luca has the power to deem Touraine's life forfeit given that Touraine is her empire's property) which negates consent.  While the characters are both individually complex and well-developed, their relationship did not feel that way to me; I could not wrap my head around how
Spoilerboth their decision-making processes were so deeply impacted by their personal relationship, which consisted of some moments of tension and of Luca sexualizing Touraine,
and ultimately wish that the suggestion of chemistry between them had just been left out entirely.  

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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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