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The Unwilling

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  69 reviews
A penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride...

The Unwilling is the story of Judah, a foundling born with a special gift and raised inside Highfall castle along with Gavin, the son and heir to Lord Elban's vast empire. Judah and Gavin share an unnatural bond that is both the key to her survival... and possibly her undoing.

As Gavin is groomed for his future role, Judah
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by Mira
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Average rating 3.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  110 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Kitten Kisser
Nov 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: worst-books-ever
The entire time I was reading this overly long book, I would think, "Just get on with it already!" It just slogs on & on & on. Nearly all of the characters are horrible people. The whole time, all you want to know is what is it exactly that makes the main character Judah so special? When will we finally know? When will Judah finally know? So on & on I read. It's a lovely tale of constant abuse & torture. Physical abuse. Mental abuse. Tyranny. Surely Judah must be the hope to stop ...more
Kathleen (QueenKatieMae)
Where do I start? After 572 pages of wandering storyline, unlikable characters, child abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, plotlines that don’t make sense, a prolonged death scene involving a deer and some hunting dogs, the murder of a pregnant woman by same hunting dogs, an abortion performed on an unconscious and nonconsenting woman, a caning, and an ending that threatens the probability of a sequel, I threw this book down and simply said, “No”. I had no other words.

From the beginning
Austine (NovelKnight)
Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight!

This book was provided by the publisher (via NetGalley). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Trigger warnings may complain spoilers: (view spoiler)

Some books are lyrical, their stories twisting and weaving an intricate tale that you don't realize
Feb 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This is getting a lot of bad reviews but I think the readers were expecting YA. This is not a supernatural-young adult-psuedo love story about a young female heroin all wrapped up in an exciting and easy to follow storyline and plot.

This is not YA and your TRIGGERS are being warned.
***There is a lot of violence, abuse and there is trauma. So, if you’re sensitive to it don’t hold it against the author just don’t read this book.

Yes, I completely got vibes of The Cruel Prince and Cassandra Clare
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Winner, winner chicken dinner! I started off the new year by winning this book in a giveaway. Technically, It came in the mail the last week of December. I was so excited when I received the winner notification e-mail. The excitement was quickly replaced with nerves. I realized two things. The first was that it was written by one of my favorite authors. The second was that it was a completely new genre for her. I started to feel the pressure of having to review a book I wasn't guaranteed to ...more
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*RATING 3.5*

**I voluntarily reviewed this book from Netgalley.

THE UNWILLING by Kelly Braffet is a dark and twisted tale of abuse, power, and treachery set in a magical world.

Judah and Gavin were born on the same night and have a connection that cannot be explained but they live very different lives. Lord Elban, Gavin's father, is a deeply cruel and vicious man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, and Judah is the perfect pawn. Outside the castle walls, there is someone searching for

Title: The Unwilling
Author: Kelly Braffet
Release date: February 11, 2020
Cliffhanger: Yes
Genre: YA fantasy

I need to start this review by saying if you're a reader who's sensitive about reading abuse and violence on the page, this is not the book for you. This is just about the darkest and most depressing YA fantasy I've ever read and that's saying something. There were quite a few reasons why I struggled to finish this. I kept hoping that eventually it would hook me and everything would turn
Dec 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
I read an ARC of this book.
This was a very dark, depressing book with hardly any redeeming qualities. Four children are forced to grow up together in a fortress in an oppressive totalitarian state, and are neglected at the best of times and horribly abused at the worst (and that abuse is often depicted graphically). If some relief or respite from the horrific mistreatment of these characters occurred, then perhaps the book might have been better. But it seemed that no matter what, life would
Nov 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
If you enjoy a book that drags on for hundreds of pages with virtually no development, contains totally unlikeable characters, and is full of graphically sadistic people and events, then this book is for you.

I, however, was completely put off by the story. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy and have rarely come across a book that was so bad as to make we want to scream. It also made me resent the time I spent reading it. And no, graphic violence does not bother me. I am a fan of
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judah could never be mistaken for ordinary. The courtiers of Highfall are either fascinated by her dark beauty or gossip quietly about how she came to be the precious foster sister to Lord Elban’s sons.

They all knew that she was the witchbred foundling adopted by the grieving Lady Clorin on the same night that she gave birth to Gavin. But only a chosen few knew of the strange bond that existed between them.

If Judah felt something, so did Gavin. If Gavin was injured, Judah experienced the pain
Betsy Decillis
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is unlike anything I've ever read. The writing left me breathless and I truly felt like I was living in this world. But it's not for everyone. If you need a lot of resolution in your life, this won't provide any. However, it's an excellent twist on that nameless special girl genre that seems to be everywhere right now. It made that storyline feel new and alive again. I'm sad to be leaving this.
 Reading Divergence
It takes a special gift, I think, to bring a genre alive to someone who usually doesn't find it exciting. Author Kelly Braffet accomplishes exactly that, in her fascinating debut fantasy THE UNWILLING. Sn adorable, richly imagined, lyrically imaged story, THE UNWILLING riveted me from the very beginning and maintained my attention throughout an admittedly long novel. I especially admired her use of multiple strong female characters.
Deedi (DeediReads) Brown
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Big thanks to the team over at MIRA Books (HarperCollins) for the advanced review copy of this book! It will be published on February 11, 2020.

The book is about Judah, who was adopted by the city’s royalty. The midwife called to deliver Gavin (the heir of the city) had just delivered Judah, and the Lady of the City couldn’t bear to let the parentless girl go. But shortly thereafter, it was clear that Gavin and Judah had an unnatural bond — the emotions and physical sensations one person feels,
Gavin and Judah and born on the same day in very different circumstances. Gavin, high born and an heir while Judah is an orphan and taken in by the elite out of duty. The bond between Gavin and Judah grows intense day by day and they have a strange connection and both feel each other's emotions and sensations. Gavin's father, Lord Elban has plans for all of them while his healer Nate has been planted in the family to represent his people and keep the pair alive since if one is gravely injured, ...more
Alyson Stone
Book: The Unwilling
Author: Kelly Braffet
Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Mira, for providing me with an ARC.

I really wanted to like this one and, in fact, I was actually enjoying it for a while. However, both the plot and the characters just didn’t progress in a way that I found enjoyable after a while. It felt like the author was just trying to make the book longer than what it should have been. I know she was trying to make a character focused story, but it just
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-2020
I took a deep breath when I first sat down with this book. 576 pages is a commitment, right? Within my first couple hours of reading, I was delightedly surprised. I really enjoyed this book from start to finish.

It was definitely an intriguing fantasy plot intertwined with a medieval world. The Slonimi people - a traveling, gypsy-style clan - had worked for generations to breed their strongest Workers (Work being a sort of cross between magic and creation), to create an individual strong enough
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was provided with an ARC of this title courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

This book was absolutely fantastic. I was held prisoner, hook, line and sinker from the very beginning.

I want to state that no matter what you have heard, this is not an HEA down-trodden heroine saved by the prince YA fantasy. The themes tackled here are brutal, dark and emotionally exhausting. This is a complex, intricate adult fantasy with effortless world-building and delicately
Stephanie - Books Less Travelled
Feb 16, 2020 marked it as read-for-review
*I received a copy from the publisher. This does not affect my review.*

This one is harder to review than I cared for. I normally don't mind 'darker' themes but this one was more detailed and unexpected than I'm used to. As Kelly Braffet is Stephen King's daughter-in-law, it strangely fits, and I can see readers loving this story, but it's not for everyone. I also got a sense of the GoT type writing in ways. The story was magical and unique but all the talk about abuse really needed a silver
Jan 08, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
- "perfect for fans of Game of Thrones
- the author's father-in-law is Stephen King and that really amuses me
- medieval & high fantasy
- tale of magic, faith and pride
Dec 24, 2019 marked it as physical_to-read_stack
I received my copy free through Goodreads Giveaways
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Unwilling by Kelly Breffat took me on a journey to a world in turmoil, where bad becomes worse in the blink of an eye. But, there is a glimmer of hope that only one character can see and make a reality. Unexpected and heart-rending, this fantasy tale explores themes of survival, independence, and love in a way I will not soon forget.

Favorite Character:
While I was reading, I kept thinking of Gone With the Wind, and one of the main reasons is because Elly reminds me of Mitchell's
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This one hurt. I had to take a break because this book was making me grouchy and I didn't need a book to help me feel grouchy. I can just read the news for that feeling. Anyway, no matter how painful the book was it's still a well written, beautiful book that I intend on reading more because there has to be more.

Judah, a founding, and Gavin, heir to an empire, have a bond that makes them feel each other's pain. This saves Judah from being killed by Gavin's father but doesn't stop them being
Suzanne Christensen
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun book. Judah is the odd one out. Adopted as a foundling the same night as the heir is born she is raised with him but what only a few know is that they are bound. What one feels, the other feels, If one bleeds, the other bleeds. As intrigue and conspiracy build as the heir is to take his place, other strange workings come into play. I enjoyed the characters and this story.
Dec 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book just drags on and on and on... After the first hundred pages I was especially worried. I felt no connection to the characters, the story, and I honestly wanted to DNF it. I kept going since a long book like this may get better more towards the middle. It did eventually catch my attention, but it was much too late by that point. I say this is a definite skip from me.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
*Review will be posted on my blog on 1/13/20*

Thank you to MIRA and NetGalley for giving a chance to read this eARC.

My reading experience of The Unwilling was not what I expected. I was intrigued and kept reading it, but halfway in I was getting restless. I kept reading to see why our main characters: Judah, Gavin, Theron and Elly were all suffering so much and I was hoping for somewhat of a happy ending. I didn’t get that.

Judah was born on the same night as the future Lord of the City, Gavin.
Liz (Quirky Cat)
I received a copy of The Unwilling through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Unwilling is the latest novel from the mind of Kelly Braffet, and this is a novel forcing opinions. It seems like people either love or hate it. So there’s no doubt that this is going to be a book that’ll get your emotions going.

This is a fantasy tale of magic, prophecies forced to fruition, and pride. This is the story of one prophecy – and all of the work and effort put into forcing its
Amy A
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Originally posted at Vampire Book Club

On the night the heir to Highfall, Gavin, was born, a newborn foundling, Judah, was brought into the walls of the city, specifically into the castle and is raised alongside the heir. As Judah and Gavin grow, a mysterious bond is discovered between the pair. A bond that connects them physically—they feel and experience what the other does—and somewhat mentally—they can garner some emotion from each other.

While Gavin is groomed by his ruthless father into what
Amy A
Feb 10, 2020 marked it as to-read
On the night the heir to Highfall, Gavin, was born, a newborn foundling, Judah, was brought into the walls of the city, specifically into the castle and is raised alongside the heir. As Judah and Gavin grow, a mysterious bond is discovered between the pair. A bond that connects them physically—they feel and experience what the other does—and somewhat mentally—they can garner some emotion from each other.

While Gavin is groomed by his ruthless father into what it means to be Lord of the City the
J Aislynn d'Merricksson
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Unwilling by Kelly Braffet follows Judah, a foundling raised in Lord Elban's household with his eldest son. As the two children grow older, it is discovered that they share a psychic link such that what one feels, so too does the other. Not just emotional, but physical as well. If one is cut, the other bleeds too. The secondary recipient healed faster, and scars less, but the pain is just as intense. When this is discovered, Judah is subjected to all manner of injury to teach both her and ...more
gwendalyn _books_
This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

Author Kelly Braffet fascinating debut fantasy THE UNWILLING, is a haunting, brutal breathtaking novel that pulled me completely into its engaging pages.
Incredible imagery and captivating characters with crisp dialogue, made this one of my all time favorites.

A sweeping, slightly horrors filled epic fantasy, A gripping read, with complex
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Kelly Braffet writes stories about unhappy people making bad decisions, occasionally with magic. She is the author of The Unwilling (available 2/20 from Mira Books), Save Yourself, and Last Seen Leaving; her first novel, Josie and Jack, has been made into a feature film starring Olivia DeJonge, Alex Neustaedter, and William Fitchner, and directed by Sarah Lancaster. Her writing has been published ...more
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