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Blog Tour Review: The Unwilling by Kelly Braffet

Hey all, Dani here.

Well, the weather turned cold and wintry and yucky here, and it’s not fun for me. I definitely get the winter blues and it throws me in a funk. Thankfully the work week is almost over, and I get to look forward to a couple sessions of Dungeons & Dragons this weekend. On Saturday it’s technically a Pathfinder game, and I play a goblin monk who specializes in improvised weapons and is obsessive about eating cake and then throwing poop in people’s faces so she can blind them. Good times. Our Sunday game of D&D, I’m the DM, and I’m looking forward to furthering one of my player’s quests to find a cure for a magical disease that is killing his character’s mother.

Anyway, today is a blog tour review for an exciting upcoming fantasy release. I first found out about this book because I saw authors like Erin Morgenstern raving about it, and then I looked it up and thought it sounded really interesting.  Thankfully I was able to sign up to be a part of the blog tour.

So thank you to Mira Books and NetGalley for granting me early access to this book. As always, having opportunities to read books early does not affect my rating or review.

All right, let’s jump into the review.

The Unwilling

Book Details

Format: e-book

Pages: 576

Publisher: Mira Books

Publication Date: February 11, 2020

ISBN: 1488055394 (ISBN13: 9781488055393)


A penetrating tale of magic, faith and pride…

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.

My Thoughts

Rating: 5 stars

I was hooked on this book in the prologue, but then the first chapter started and I was following different characters in a different location and things were a bit confusing for a little while. Okay, fine, that does sometimes happen with fantasy. Thankfully because I was so completely intrigued by the prologue, I was willing to push on.

It didn’t take long for me to really start connecting with the characters and becoming truly immersed in the story elements. And as more of the story lines started intertwining, I just found myself even more intrigued and involved in the story.

Judah and Gavin were both interesting characters, especially as we all started learning more about Judah and her story. But I can say that I also love stories with a whole lot of planning and plotting and political maneuvering.

I think I’m definitely going to re-read this book after I’ve bought a finished copy. I definitely enjoy reading lengthy fantastical epic adventure and discovery reads, and this one will probably be one that I talk about for a long time to come.

Where to Get a Copy

You can pre-order your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore through IndieBound. This book will be released very soon, on February 11, 2020.

You can also check with your local library.

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