Torn by Rowenna Miller is a political fantasy novel and is the first of three in The Unraveled Kingdom series. I had a fairly decent time reading this from start to finish. It tells the tale of what seems to be an ordinary seamstress stuck in a country that is brewing hot with political tension. The fight between the nobles and the ordinary citizens of Galitha is about to turn into a civil war and Sophie seems to be stuck right in the middle as picking a side in the fight isn’t all that simple. Torn tries to take the reader on a journey that looks at both sides of the fight but ultimately, I felt it didn’t do enough to really hit the spot where it would grip the reader’s attention.
“It’s almost amusing, really, that a seamstress can worm her way into circles that a learned man cannot.” - Sophie Balstrade
It’s hard not to relate to Sophie as a commoner. She’s worked so hard to get her government permit so that she can run an actual business legitimately. So it goes without saying that she just wants to maintain the peace and keep her political thoughts neutral. Although she sees how unfair things can be in the city of Galitha for ordinary citizens, she needs to keep reminding herself that she must remain neutral in the fight. Being that her business relies on the nobility, she can’t exactly have a falling out with them and expect no consequences. Although Sophie has got it better than most citizens, in a political upheaval, it shows that no one can remain neutral for long and a potential civil war affects almost everyone.
Instead, I was a traitor to my country and an accomplice to murder, armed with just a needle and thread. - Sophie Blastrade
While Torn isn’t all that exciting and at times can be very predictable, there is a magic system in place that tries to keep things fresh. What I would have liked, as is usual for me as a reader, is different character POV or perspectives. I always believe that doing so can help a story out a lot and it certainly could have done so here. While Sophie isn’t the most exciting or complicated character, which I absolutely have no problems with, reading a separate character narrative would have been helpful. Sophie tries to balance between both worlds but I feel like her character alone isn’t strong enough to carry a three-book series through.