Monday, March 19, 2018

Review: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor to the Throne
(Rebel of the Sands #2)
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Hardcover, 516 pages, Viking
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Rebel by chance. Traitor by choice.

Gunslinger Amani al'Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about Djinn and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

My Review

The Blue-Eyed Bandit is back, and she’s causing just as much chaos as she did in the first book. I love it!

So, this sequel starts off in kind of a weird place. It’s been six months since the events of the first book, which made for a very confusing start. At first, I thought something was wrong and that the publisher accidentally printed the text for the third book in the paperback copy of Traitor. That’s how confused I was. But nope. It was just a jump in time. So be prepared for that. I know it took me a few chapters to really comprehend what was going on.

As for the characters in this book, Amani is still a fierce fighter and friend. She’s dedicated and angry and everything you’d expect a young woman who’s been undermined for so long to be. Also, I really love Amani’s dynamic with the other ladies in the rebellion. It was like a ragtag group of girl friends in high school, only they’ve been transported to a desert fantasy land. They’re written so well that they seem very real.

However, the female character greatness brings me to something I found a little lacking in this one: the male characters. Two complaints here: One, I wanted waaaaaay more Jin than I got. The scenes he was in were good, don’t get me wrong, but there just weren’t enough of them. And two, the villains are a little cliché in this one. Not terribly so, but the Sultan was doing a little bit of that whole villain spiel thing that I never understand. I guess in a roundabout kind of way, it makes some sense as to why the Sultan would want to talk with Amani, but still…Also, his son and heir was a typical douche bag.

Now, the plot of the book was one I expected to thoroughly hate as I realized about fifty or so pages in what was going to happen. I normally don’t like plotlines in fantasy books that rip the main character away from her ragtag group of rebels a la Empire of Storms or King’s Cage style, but for this one, I was thoroughly impressed with how I could not stop reading, despite Amani being in a whole new setting with new characters to interact with. I kept flipping pages and flipping pages.

All in all, if you’re looking for a fantasy series that’s out of the ordinary, Rebel of the Sands is one you should definitely pick up. There are genies, exiled princes, swordswomen, guns, and even kisses.

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

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