The Unbroken by C.L. Clark

I read half of this book yesterday and half of it today. What made this 545 page military fantasy such a pager-turner for me? The details… Tour has returned to the place of her birth after twenty-some years as a soldier in the conqueror’s army. And even after thwarting an assassination attempt on their arrival, her loyalty is questioned. And now the details: the slight glance or the flicker of a finger may convince the Balladairan military admin that she is in league with the Qazal rebels. Her life requires a balancing act.

Even though Tour has achieved the rank of lieutenant, she is not to be trusted because she is a Sand… Yet, when Princess Luca (the protagonist of the other thread) hatches a plan to end the rebellion without the spilling of blood, Tour is seen as a possible spy for the colonials. With the old generals doubting their every move, Luca tries to secure enough support for a chance at the crown, and Tour… she’s just trying to survive.

I first want to go back to the idea of military fantasy and how Clark demolishes that old stereotype of the dry-musty battle-plan-ridden book of yesterday… Clark completely humanizes these characters, Tour is the star for me (but Luca is close behind). She has an unyielding desire be ok with herself and her own actions. And she makes great decisions and terrible mistakes. Will she be tempted by her history in Qazal or will her relationship with Luca sway her?

A couple other things I enjoyed… With dual narrative pieces. How long should chapters be? Should they be even lengths? Should they end with cliffhangers? I think the author did a wonderful job with this… I’ve read books where there were definitely chapters for the “other” character. Uneven in plot, importance, and writing style. But Clark’s polished writing makes for that pacing I spoke of in the beginning of my review.

The Unbroken is an excellent fantasy novel that delves into colonialism on such a personal level. It a book that I will be recommending to all my friends.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Orbit Books, and the author for an advanced copy for review.

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