Author: Kelly Braffet
Publication Date: 11 February 2020
Format: eBook - PDF
Source: ARC via NetGalley
The Unwilling is the story of Judah, a foundling born with a special gift and raised inside Highfall castle along with Gavin, the son and heir to Lord Elban’s vast empire. Judah and Gavin share an unnatural bond that is both the key to her survival…and possibly her undoing.
As Gavin is groomed for his future role, Judah comes to realize that she has no real position within the kingdom, in fact, no hope at all of ever traveling beyond its castle walls. Elban—a lord as mighty as he is cruel—has his own plans for her, for all of them. She is a mere pawn to him, and he will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
But outside the walls, in the starving, desperate city, a magus, a healer with his own secret power unlike anything Highfall has seen in years, is newly arrived from the provinces. He, too, has plans for the empire, and at the heart of those plans lies Judah… The girl who started life with no name and no history will soon uncover more to her story than she ever imagined.
An epic tale of greed and ambition, cruelty and love, this deeply immersive novel is about bowing to traditions and burning them down.
I had high hopes for The Unwilling. The premise sounded great, and as the story started I found myself caught up in the world and characters, interested to see how things would play out. The book is long and maybe could have done with a few trims here and there, but it never felt overly plodding and there was always enough action to keep me engaged. What spoilt the work for me was the ending. It was so vague and unsatisfactory after nearly 600 pages, I wondered for a moment if a second volume was planned. However, that doesn't seem to be the case. While I don't feel I wasted my time reading it, as I did mostly enjoy it, I was disappointed with the way it ended without really giving a proper, definite conclusion. In some ways, the ending felt a little sudden and rushed after the long, slow buildup. So it's four stars from me. There was plenty I liked about The Unwilling, but its ending let it down.