Reviews tagging Murder

The Unbroken, by C.L. Clark

22 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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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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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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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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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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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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