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The Unbroken

(Magic of the Lost #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  5,693 ratings  ·  1,397 reviews
Alternate Cover edition for ISBN 9780316542753

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayon
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 23rd 2021 by Orbit
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C.L. Clark Hi, I've also seen the tags and I'm a bit confused by them. It's an adult book, and while I'm sure plenty of teens would read this like they read any …moreHi, I've also seen the tags and I'm a bit confused by them. It's an adult book, and while I'm sure plenty of teens would read this like they read any other adult fantasy, it's written with adult readers in mind.(less)
C.L. Clark The world is a queernorm world; the lead women characters are queer; there are other lesbian, gay, and bi characters. There is also a trans side chara…moreThe world is a queernorm world; the lead women characters are queer; there are other lesbian, gay, and bi characters. There is also a trans side character but he won't get significant "screentime" until Book 2, alas.(less)

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  5,693 ratings  ·  1,397 reviews

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chai ♡
There are few books I can’t read without pain, without all my old wounds flaring open. These are the stories that feel almost unbearably personal, the stories I can’t talk about without the words filling my throat to choking, without unlocking something I cannot begin to reconcile. Coming face to face with The Unbroken, a story that is built out of the bones of the colonial history of North Africa—the history of my people, my history—a story which drags out those perennial hurts and exorcises th ...more
Lex Kent
3.50 Stars. This was a well written story that unfortunately was not really for me. I love fantasy, especially sapphic fantasy, so this was another book on my most anticipated ‘21 reads list. I was so excited when I was approved for an ARC copy and could not wait to spend this weekend (it’s a long book) reading this. My expectations might have been a little high, but in the end, the quality of this book was definitely higher than my actual enjoyment. Enjoyment wise this book was just in the aver ...more
may ➹
The Unbroken takes on so many things and does so expertly, tackling magic and rebellions and even a bit of romance, but above all, colonialism. This political fantasy follows two protagonists, Touraine and Luca. A Qazāli soldier, pejoratively referred to as a “Sand,” Touraine was stolen from her homeland when she was young to serve the Balladairan empire, and now stationed at home again, she begins to question everything she thought she knew. Luca is the Balladairan princess intent on making pea ...more
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Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars

“Touraine was starting to think it was impossible to come from one land and learn to live in another and feel whole. That you would always stand on shaky, hole-ridden ground, half of your identity dug out of you and tossed away.”

I like to explore fantasy books in all areas and I realized that I haven’t read many books with African settings so when I saw the cover of The Unbroken along with the fact that i
2020 has been a year of revelations, one of them being that I'd do pretty much anything for queer women with great biceps ...more
Charlotte Kersten
“You can’t be yourself unless you have a leash in your hand, and there’s always got to be someone attached to it.”

So What’s It About?

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet's edge between treason and orders.
LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!"
My thanks to Orbit books, C.L. Clark and Netgalley. I hated this story. Actually despised it! Yet, I kept thinking that as bleak as it was, maybe somewhere? Well, that somewhere took me to the 55% mark. Up until then? Hints. Maybe, just a few promises of what may come. I would usually quit a book at 30%. That's my bullshit line. This story took way too long to come into its own. Still, I realize that it's Fantasy. That's the only genre I'll spend this much time getting to know. Just because it's ...more
2 to perhaps 2.5 stars.

This book and I just didn't mesh very well, unfortunately. Before I get into the things I didn't care for, I'll list some that I enjoyed:

- The writing was pretty good, in particular the action scenes. I think the author did an excellent job building suspense and keeping things engaging in those scenes.
- The setting was fresh and unique. I personally haven't read a fantasy book before this one that was set in a colony, and with the complicated politics and issues that come
Clark's "The Unbroken" is an epic fantasy about loyalty and picking sides. The main character Tourraine is a soldier off to help the Queen-to-be put down a rebellious colony. Like many other "Sands," Tourraine is returning to her birthplace from whence she was stolen as a child and trained to be a soldier for the Empire. Here, her loyalties are tested as she struggles with whether her loyalty lies with the Empire, her fellow indentured soldiers, or her birth people who she barely remembers. Her ...more
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
this cover said sun's out, guns out!! & if that isn't enough to make u wanna read a sapphic political fantasy centering a soldier and a princess, i don't know what will ...more
~ a foray in fantasy ~
Jul 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So so good! A look into colonialism from both sides. I still hate Luca, sorry not sorry. Touraine’s ties with her friends made the story richer and more believable. The description of the setting is absolutely incredible.

Book 2 of the Sapphic Trifecta (The Jasmine Throne, She Who Became the Sun, and this book)


It’s a little too soon for a book with a deadly plague storyline, ngl.
read it for the mother-daughter relationship

read my full review on reads rainbow!

Rep: Black lesbian mc, bi mc with physical disability due to injury, Black side characters, wlw side characters, mlm side character, nonbinary side character

CWs: violence, gore, past attempted rape, threats of rape, torture
Mar 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
I’m going to start by saying that the content of The Unbroken is incredibly rich and in-depth. The first half reads like a non-fictional account of the climate, politics, art, history, etc of Qazāl which is a plus for world building but a heavy weight to carry for pacing. Just when scenes seem to be taking off with dialogue and character interaction, the author breaks in with 3x as many details of, for example, the courtyard they are entering or fabrics that went into the making of their clothin ...more
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
I FINALLY FINISHED!!!! It was an uphill battle (because i'm slow af, not because the book is bad) but it was worth it!

very detailed review to come.
Nov 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sapphic, 3-5, z-fl-mc
This was a thrilling read, full of diverse and queer characters. I love the entire world-building element of The Unbroken. It was vivid and skilfully constructed. The Unbroken explores the concepts of colonialism and racism. The story is told from the POV of two characters that couldn't be more different. Luca, the heir apparent to the throne and Touraine, a conscript soldier.

I enjoyed the politics and the unexpected twists and the search for magic. But the romance, which was the whole reason I
Charlie Anders
Feb 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The Unbroken is an unflinching look at the brutality of empire, and the insidious ways that it colonizes people's minds as well as bodies. Touraine and Luca are both terrific characters, and their relationship has as many twists and turns as the political machinations of this book. The portrayal of internalized oppression in this book is super powerful and intense, as Touraine returns to the country she was stolen from as a child, only to discover that her people are not the savages she's been t ...more
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and Orbit for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

4 stars for now, with the potential for a higher rating on reread.

I have a lot of thoughts about this book that I think I'll need to reread to be able to fully process, but on first read, I liked this book a lot. I think the way that CL Clark explores the effects of colonization, both at the macro and micro level, is really well done and nuanced, and sparks a lot of discussion. For me, the way that
P. Clark
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was such a thrilling read! Clark (no relation) creates a complex world that touches on grand themes of colonialism and empire, as well as the frayed human interactions between families, friends, and lovers. Touraine is the heroine we need in these times!
Apr 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
In this politically charged fantasy, we are following Touraine, a soldier stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire. As well as Princess Luca whose sole focus is to get her uncle off her throne. As the two women return to Touraine's homeland in an attempt to stop a brewing rebellion, Touraine faces ties of blood that may be stronger than she initially thought. And Luca is going to have to make some tough decisions to haggle over the price of a nation.

I really enjoyed this story
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
4.25 stars

This novel shouldn’t have been so surprising to me, as I’ve heard only the best of things and read a lot of raving reviews about it. The cover alone is simply stunning and creating a lot of buzz among book lovers. Praised as military fantasy, I had semi-reservations about picking this up, since I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of how “military” this read would be.

As a fan of stories with less agreeable and rather more gritty characters that take long-shot risks and develop to com
This was nominated for the Badreads Choice Awards. It has less ratings than Wisdom of Crowds, a lower average rating, and is a far worse book. WTF, Goodreads?
10/25 (40%) DNF at 41%, 1 star.
A totally missable unepic fantasy debut of good concepts and weak executions.
Nope, didn't enjoy this one at all: The plot was an undulating, meandering mess that bubbled along without any goal in sight. I kept asking myself why I was reading this - what was the point, where was this going, why would I care?
C.L. Clark
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Here's an excerpt of the first two chapters: https://www.orbitbooks.net/orbit-exce... ...more
Jess Owens
Mar 23, 2021 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Orbit for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Overall rating: 3 stars

The Unbroken was on my most anticipated books for this year mainly because it is a North African inspired adult fantasy written by a Black author, LOVE THAT. The setting was giving me Morocco vibes and I was here for it. We have two POVs: Touraine and Luca. Touraine is a soldier who is returning to the country (Qazal) that she was born in but she has been gone for the majority
Samantha Shannon
I have finished the whole Sapphic Trifecta!

This was wonderful.
luce (currently recovering from a hiatus)
DNF p. 150

I really really really wanted to love this but this just is not 'clicking' with me. I'm sure more patient readers who love military fantasy or tales of political intrigue will be able to appreciate The Unbroken more than I was.

The writing was okay but the characters, pacing, and world-building did very little for me. Not only could I not picture Touraine nor Luca but their personalities seemed very one-note. Most of the secondary characters seemed very stereotypical of the genre (Ca
Ms. Woc Reader
Mar 28, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Unbroken is a dual POV epic fantasy that follows two women from very different backgrounds. One is a disgraced soldier of Qazali origin and the other is the future ruler of the Balladairan Empire.

Touraine is saved from sure death for a crime she did not commit by Luca is exchange for being a pawn in her plan towards peach between the Qazali rebellion and the Balladairans. However Luca's version of peace is still a very much colonized version where even granting the people minimal rights is
Library of a Viking
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
“It’s in our nature to doubt. The key to faith is standing by someone anyway.”

The Unbroken is C.L. Clark’s debut novel and is a North African inspired military fantasy. The Unbroken is the first book in the Magic of the Lost series. This story follows two main characters, Touraine, an army conscript from the faction “Sands”, and the princess Luca from Balladaire, trying to prove that she can lead the kingdom and take the throne.

The Unbroken is a fascinating fantasy story, which deals with some
Aug 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Unbroken is an ambitious fantasy debut that seeks to unpack colonialism from both sides and the uneven power dynamics it brings into relationships. We follow two main characters.

Touraine is a soldier, stolen as a child and raised to fight for the colonizers of her people. Now she's returning to her homeland as a rebellion is being sparked and must deal with tension in her loyalties.

Luca is a princess, sent to prove her ability to take the throne despite her physical limitations.

While this

so many conflicting feelings about this book - but i have to seriously commend the author for taking such a unique, difficult approach on an equally difficult topic.

- top notch worldbuilding - c.l. clark is a really talented writer, i love how they breathed life into this world and naturally wove in pieces of information within the narrative.
- the themes of colonialism/imperialism are brilliantly done - inspired by the french colonization of north africa, the story is told through t
Allison Hurd
Well...this was disappointing. It started out SO GOOD and ended just like every other "underdog starts a revolution" type book. Well...okay that might be a bit harsh. This one wasn't absolutely abysmal, it just jumped off a quality cliff after about 30%

CONTENT WARNINGS: (view spoiler)

Things to love:

-The first third. So few books about
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Cherae was a 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow and graduated from Indiana University’s creative writing MFA. She’s been a personal trainer, an English teacher, and an editor, and is some combination thereof as she travels the world. When she’s not writing or working, she’s learning languages, doing P90something, or reading about war and [post-]colonial history. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in ...more

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