cover image The Unbroken

The Unbroken

C.L. Clark. Orbit, $16.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-0-316-54275-3

Clark conjures an elaborate fantasy world inspired by Northern Africa and delves into an international political conflict that draws on real histories of colonialism and conquest in their excellent debut, the first in the Magic of the Lost series. Touraine was kidnapped from Qazāl as a child and trained as a soldier for neighboring nation, Balladaire. Over the years, she rises through the ranks of the Balladairan army, eventually becoming lieutenant. But when her brigade is sent to quash a rising rebellion in Qazāl, now a colony of the Balladairan empire, Touraine must return to the homeland she only hazily remembers. Straddling the line between colonizer and colonized, she struggles with both her identity and her allegiance as she faces hard realities about who she is and the world she lives in. Clark’s precise, thorough worldbuilding allows this remarkable novel to dive deep into the intricate workings of colonialism, exposing how power structures are maintained through social conditioning and exploring the emotional toll of political conflict. The result is a captivating story that works both as high fantasy and skillful cultural commentary. [em]Agent: Mary C. Moore, Kimberley Cameron and Assoc. (Mar.) [/em]