Reviews tagging Toxic relationship

The Unbroken, by C.L. Clark

8 reviews

musebeliever's review against another edition

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dreareads_'s review against another edition

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

4.5

Another amazing sapphic book about two women trying to bring down a fascist government. LOVED the world building and the characters were very complex. Touraine's journey of self discovery was frustrating for both her and me but extremely worth it at the end. The love story, that I wouldn't call love story, served as a great way to showcase different sides of the same coin in regards to racism and colonialism. TW for racism and bullying. LOVED this book, Cannot wait for book 2!

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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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darkbookademia's review

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny tense slow-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

4.75

I'm officially a Touraine's arms stan. Apart from that, this is a fantastic and nuance examination of empire through the lense of the colonised and coloniser and a damn good story as well. Told simply with rich characters and richer relationships - this books a knockout. Bit slow so if that isn't your thing definitely one I wouldn't jump to straight away but if you like slow and thoughtful reveals and development and you haven't read this yet?? Where have you been?

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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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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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morevna's review

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adventurous challenging dark 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


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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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