FICTION

The Unbroken

Orbit. (Magic of the Lost, Bk. 1). Mar. 2021. 528p. ISBN 9780316542753. pap. $16.99. FANTASY
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Touraine is a Sand: one of many children kidnapped by Balladaire and raised to be soldiers willing to live and die for the Empire. Now back in Qazāl, the land Touraine was stolen from, she is forced to confront her conditioning and her heritage as the colony continues to rebel. Luca is princess of the Empire, and determined to show her people that she can bring the Qazāli in line, securing her throne from her uncle. For that, she needs a way to bend the rebels toward peace, and who better than one who can dance on the fine line between treason and loyalty, when her life is at stake? Touraine is torn between her anger over being abandoned, her treatment as a conscripted soldier, and her desire for the princess. For how can love blossom when it is nourished by blood and secrets? A queernorm world dealing with racism, magic, and head-versus-heart decisions creates rich settings and characters.
VERDICT This strong debut is filled with exciting action and worldbulding, intriguing characters dealing with themes of colonization, military conscription and indoctrination, and an explosion of feelings. Readers will be clamoring for more of Touraine and Luca before they finish.

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