ARC Review: The Unwilling by Kelly Braffet


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 realise 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.


This is a dark epic fantasy that moves along at a steady, albeit unhurried pace.  The storyline is complex, has a huge cast of characters and there are plenty of twists and turns to hold the readers interest. The author takes the time to build up the world and the characters are complex and explored in depth and detail.  I particularly liked the strong female characters, as well as the relationship Gavin and Judah had with each other, their strange connection and the unique wrist ‘scratching’ system they devised to communicate with each other.  

The author creates a very atmospheric world which is so easy to immerse yourself in and I found it to be a compelling and enjoyable reading.  Some of the themes addressed are quite dark and there are one or two brutal scenes which have troubled some readers, fortunately I am not easily upset by these themes, but bear this in mind if you are.  

This is definitely not a fast-paced and plot driven book, however there is plenty in it to keep you occupied. The ending was slightly disappointing, it requires further closure and explanation by way of a sequel.   I do hope there is a subsequent book….

Publisher: Welbeck
Publication Date: 20 August 2020
Rating: 4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Ed Public Relations and the publisher for my beautiful advanced copy of this book.

I hope you enjoyed this review.  For my current reads, recommendations and anything else book related, please give me a follow on Instagram or Goodreads .  Happy reading. 


Published by twistedinpages

Reader • Reviewer • Blogger

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