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The Unbroken

(Magic of the Lost #1)

by
4.04  ·  Rating details ·  676 ratings  ·  383 reviews
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. Someone
...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 23rd 2021 by Orbit
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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)
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)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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chai ♡
me, gazing tenderly at the cover: oh to be held in the gentle embrace of this woman's powerfully ripped arms

This is a sapphic North-Africa inspired military-political fantasy in which an imperial princess fights for her throne and a conscript fights for her freedom, and I'm so excited!
...more
Lisa
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
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
may ➹
Mar 15, 2021 is currently reading it
a book about colonialism with a big-muscled sapphic is exactly my jam!!

// buddy read with cath and fanna! (tag later)
Dave
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 so,diet 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
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
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
...more
Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
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
JulesGP
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
mishi
Nov 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3-5, sapphic-plus, 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
...more
Tammie
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
...more
AnnaLuce
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
...more
theresa
Aug 01, 2020 marked it as unreleased
Shelves: lgbtq, 21-releases, wlw-mc
this book has me excited for a number of reasons:
- North-Africa inspired
- 'it's gay. real gay' (author's twitter)
- the author calling it 'Touraine's Arms' (just LOOK at those arms, that cover)
- this quote from i09's article (which includes an excerpt of the book): 'The destinies of two women—one, a soldier; the other, a princess—become intertwined...'
- politics
- assassinations
- LISTEN, two women's destinies becoming 'INTERTWINED' in a 'REAL GAY' book is all i could ever want

I also talk about boo
...more
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
sol
Jul 20, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: bipoc, lgbtqia
this is going to be the best thing that ever happened to me
I cAn fEeL iT.
Lea | That_Bookdragon
Excuse me while I go scream about this book.

THE COVER THE DESCRIPTION

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

also, it's gay

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
...more
fang
3.5 ish stars

The unbroken is brutal and painful and has some of the best character arcs I've ever read, I honestly wish I hadn't noticed some flaws because of how amazingly written this book is. At it's heart the book is about colonialism, how it tears apart people, how generational trauma affects people and the hollow feeling that your home has been stolen from you.

The premise:

Touraine was kidnapped from Qazāl as a child and trained as a soldier for their colonizer, Balladaire and now has to n
...more
Emmett
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
*I received a free ARC of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Is January too early to declare my favorite book of 2021? Because GOD. DAMN. this was good. Like snap my neck and call me Sally, yee-haw! kind of good, if ya feel me.

I am relatively certain The Unbroken was tailor-made for me, having everything I like in fantasy and leaving out everything I don’t like. I was immediately roped in by the story and invested in the main characters within just the first tenth of the nov
...more
Bob/Sally
If you're expecting this to be a typical fantasy where the heroine miraculously brings together opposing sides through the love of friends and family, then you're in for a rude awakening. The Unbroken is a brutally honest look at all the ugliness of colonialism, rebellion, racism. It's a story about not even knowing which side you're supposed to be on, much less which side to choose. It's so good, so unexpectedly tragic in every way, that I was left speechless as I turned the final page.

C.L. Cla
...more
Delaney
Review for The Unbroken by C.L. Clark

Thank you so much to Orbit letting me read an early e-copy of this via NetGalley! All opinions are my own.

Summary:
“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 b
...more
Para (wanderer)
ARC received from the publisher (Orbit) in exchange for an honest review.

This has been, hands down, one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I’ve been looking for books with messy, complicated relationships lately, so that sounded fantastic, plus being promised critique of colonialism on top and that cover? With those arms? 😍

Unfortunately, while it’s a good book, I have to admit I found it something of a struggle, even if it was no fault of its own.

Touraine has been stolen as a child and
...more
FantasyBookNerd
Mar 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Love, Revolution and colonialism.

So I have literally just finished reading The Unbroken, and I have to say my thoughts are mixed on this one. There is quite a lot to like about this book, and these things outweigh some of my reservations about the book.

As with many books by an author that I am unfamiliar with, my interest was piqued by the gorgeous cover art by Tommy Arnold. I love the way that the cover captures the desert setting of the book and the inner strength of Touraine pushing against
...more
Landice (Manic Femme)
Just finished and the only word I presently have for you is: WOW!

Also, Book 2 when?

(Edit: Goodreads did weird edition things so I deleted my other review of the Paperback and moved it to the Kindle edition, since that's the one I read, to consolidate)

Love sapphic books, too? Let's be friends! Bookstagram | Booktube | Booktok | Book Blog | Twitter
...more
Dom
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Unbroken by CL Clark is a debut fantasy novel set in a North African inspired world. It’s queer, it borders on grimdark, it’s full of political intrigue, and it’s painful. I went into The Unbroken expecting it to hurt my feelings and you know what, I got my feelings hurt a lot. Mission accomplished.

The novel has two POV characters: Touraine, a woman stolen as a child from her home and forced to become a soldier for the Balladairan Empire, and Princess Luca, the precariously positioned heir t
...more
Lady H
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a smart, mature, and bleak debut that looks at colonialism. It strikes me as being heavily inspired by France's occupation of Algeria, and culturally, it is certainly North Africa-inspired. I did enjoy this -- it has that readability that isn't always found in high fantasy -- but I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped. Mostly, that's because I don't think it went far enough, whether that's with its characters, plot, or worldbuilding.

While there's certainly lots of clever commentary on co
...more
Kate
Full review to follow because WHEW this book was phenomenal.

In the meantime, quick discussion of some important points!

Things I liked:
➽ The portrayal of colonization and its effects at both the macro and micro level were absolutely gutting. This was a very difficult book to read and I mean that in the best way possible. The themes of colonization's effects on land, language, economy, etc. are explored, but so are said effects on interpersonal relationships. I don't think I've ever really read a
...more
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
...more
imyril
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Compromised and uncompromising.

A strong debut from a fierce new voice.

4.5 stars

Full review to follow.

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
She was their pet. And she'd be a well-dressed one, but she'd dance all the same.


Touraine is a conscript, torn from her home as a child and sent into the army of her enemy. For over twenty years she's lived, breathed and exemplified the pinnacles of perfection for the empire. But it's never enough, because when she's drugged, attacked and kidnapped by the rebels, her people focus on the death of a soldier and Touraine's supposed role. She is saved only by the world of the empire's princess, who
...more
Shelley Parker-Chan
You know that shiver you get when you encounter fiction that excavates truth? This book is SO TRUE: all the ugly, painful, deeply personal complexities of revolution against empire, captured in shimmering pointillist detail. I’m in awe
Katy
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy_2021
The Unbroken is a North African inspired military fantasy in which we follow the story of a princess and a soldier from opposing sides who have to work together to achieve their goals. Set against a backdrop of a colonised city rife with rebellion and mistreated citizens, with vivid and luscious writing, this book captures the heartbreak and complicated loyalties of a war torn country perfectly.

The two main characters we follow are Touraine, a military conscript who is from a faction of the mil
...more
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: Clark - The Unbroken [Mar 30, 2021] 5 37 Apr 11, 2021 11:26PM  

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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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