Review: Torn by Rowenna Miller (Unraveled Kingdom #1)


Torn by Rowenna Miller // VBC ReviewTorn (The Unraveled Kingdom #1)
Rowenna Miller
Published: March 20, 2018 (Orbit)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Sophie Balstrade has used her talent as a seamstress to support herself and her brother, Kristos, and she’s managed to open her own shop even as others around her struggle to find work. Sophie’s designs have gained much attention, but it’s her talent for sewing charms into her garments that has really set her apart from other seamstresses. Sophie is proud of what she’s accomplished, but her brother Kristos, only able to find work as an underpaid laborer, sees the faults in the system and is working hard to bring attention to those who are unhappy.

As whispers of revolt and rebellion are bandied around, Sophie finds herself unwittingly embroiled in a sinister plot against the royal family. When she finds her brother Kristos is being held by the revolution’s leader, the price of his safe return requires Sophie to sew a curse into a commission by the royal family. At the same time Sophie has caught the eye of a Duke, a member of the very nobility the commoners are rebelling against.

She’ll be forced to choose between her livelihood and her people, her heart and her family.

I really appreciated the fact that Rowenna Miller portrayed Sophie as a character that really strives to remain neutral in the conflict. Oftentimes in stories of political upheaval, we’ll see characters that are firmly on one side or another. Sophie, however, is in the precarious position of straddling the line between commoner and nobility due to her job.

I had hoped to have more focus placed on the magical aspect of the story, but much more is put on to the country’s unrest with the magical being an outlier. Obviously it has it’s place in the grand scheme of things, but throughout the story there’s a lot that Sophie still doesn’t understand about her powers and charm casting. Towards the end, through some interesting turns of events, we learn more about it, as does Sophie, and I’m interested to find out how Rowenna Miller will choose to utilize it in the next book.

As for the “forbidden” romance, it kinda missed the mark for me. It just felt a lot like something that had to happen in order to solidify Sophie’s conflicted feelings about the rebellion. There were some sweet moments but I wasn’t ready for her to forsake everything for this relationship. Much is made about the fact that Sophie single-handedly built her business on her own, which is wonderful to read about, I just cringed every time it felt like she forgot her successes when the Duke came calling.

For me, the parts about the sewing and crafting of the garments and how the charms are then incorporated was the highlight of the book. There’s little by way of explanation as to why Sophie has this gift, but that’s due in large part to her not fully understanding them herself, and I look forward to seeing her learn as the series continues.

Torn was certainly an interesting read and while there were times the political machinations were almost too much, I really liked how everything came together in the end.

Sexual content: sex

2 Responses to “Review: Torn by Rowenna Miller (Unraveled Kingdom #1)”

  1. I have this one on my TBR. I’m surprised that magic wasn’t as big of an element as I was expecting, but I love the concept so much (and it sounds like it worked for you).

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