Reviews tagging Blood

The Unbroken, by C.L. Clark

30 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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firefly'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

3.5


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paigemandia's review against another edition

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

3.0

Idk this one just didn’t really do it for me. I loved most of the characters, except the protagonist touraine just annoyed the hell out of me. None of her decisions were thought out and she just made mistake after mistake. We love a flawed character but she was just not doing it for me. I did love how this novel approached colonialism and institutionalism—that was definitely the strong point of this novel. A lot of it just felt rushed and the characters weren’t built up enough for a lot of the deaths to effect me. It was entertaining enough and the magic system is interesting, so I am looking forward to seeing if the next books in the trilogy are better. But happy to have read 1/3 of the sapphic golden trio. gotta get the jasmine throne next 🙏🏻🙏🏻

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izzybell's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious sad 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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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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ab_reads's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional slow-paced
 The Unbroken is an epic, North African-inspired fantasy novel which provides a keen look at colonialism and empire through a fantasy lens. It’s on the slower side, as Clark has set up a very intricate world. It takes time to get into it, but it’s more than worth it if you love complex, politically-driven fantasy full of backstabbing and power plays!
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It’s been praised time and time again for its representation, and I can only second that praise. Very often fantasy will be like ‘Here are lots of queer people 😀 But they’re still oppressed for being queer☹️’, but in The Unbroken a whole spectrum of queer folk are just living. I mean yes the characters are oppressed for a myriad of other reasons (race, religion, disability), but their queerness is never questioned or used against them. There are a lot of great relationships in this book, which is a good thing since I never actually warmed up to the main romance pairing. But Clark makes up for it with plenty of other complex relationships, friendships, parental bonds etc.!
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I definitely preferred Touraine’s sections to Luca’s, but Luca’s were still interesting in their own right. I’m more interested in the magical side of fantasy than the political side (although that was my bad going in knowing it was a military political fantasy lol - I did still really enjoy it okay!!), so it makes sense I’d prefer Touraine who has more contact with the magical side of the story. I also loved how Clark slowly showed Touraine’s journey from being basically brainwashed by the empire to decolonising her mind and actions.
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I’ll definitely read book two and I hope we see more of the Many-Legged in that one! 

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lune's review

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

2.0

"Every empire demands revolution."

Luca é uma das personagens mais nojentas que já li. Eu nunca vou entender porque a autora achou que seria interessante criar um romance entre essas duas, juro. Era muito improvável que eu fosse aceitar qualquer arco de redenção que fosse dado pra ela mas o melhor é que não existe nenhum!
 Ela é uma princesa colonizadora, ladrona do começo ao fim. Ela tem umas falas e pensamentos nas narrações que são imundos. 

É tão problemático essa relação das duas. E Luca é tão manipuladora, a cena da página 351 me deu tanta raiva. Me dá agonia. Touraine nos primeiros 50% é essa personagem completamente assimilada, ela busca tanta aprovação dessas mulheres brancas que são a representação do império que da vontade de gritar. A autora coloca Luca dando a liberdade dela gente, literalmente tornando ela cidadã e pensando "talvez" eu faça isso com alguns outros, sabe. Isso porque ela pediu porque duvido que em nenhum momento Luca ia pensar nisso. 

Odiei como praticamente tudo foi tratado aqui. Eu deveria ter conhecido mais do batalhão da Touraine, ter entendido muito mais da cultura dessa cidade. Ter visto muito mais da rebelião, muito mais da magia. Mas tudo foi raso. É bem escrito mas não é suficiente. 

E o final? Péssimo. Horrível. 

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n_asyikin_'s review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark hopeful reflective 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

5.0

A gripping story that will have you at the edge of your seat. It was bold in its exploration of the effects & consequences of colonization. I thought the contrasting depictions of pro- & anti-colonial view were done brilliantly; the actions of the characters evocative, allowing the reader to explore the complexity of humanity. You will find yourself frustrated, especially when the characters were blatantly pro-colonial; but it was inspiring to see the decolonization of the mind
Spoiler Touraine went through albeit only at the latter stages of the story.


I thought The Unbroken was thrilling & emotionally evocative. It was joyfully infuriating by being action-packed driven by compelling characters. What a great start to a series!

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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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