Sunday, March 19, 2017

Book Review (SPOILERS): Traitor to the Throne

Traitor to the Throne
Alwyn Hamilton
Viking, 2017

I will begin my review of Traitor to the Throne, the second installment to the Rebel of the Sands, with the quoted paragraphs.

 "In this backdrop, Amani struggles to find herself while Jin has his own agenda. Jin maybe fighting alongside his brother, but he dreams of freedom; of being in a place where he can truly be himself; where he is not beholden to anyone else; where he could be the master of his fate."

"But this is a dream yet to come. Or not. My guess is, since Amani has only discovered her true power at the end of the book, Jin has to make a decision somewhere in book 2. Fight or Flight? Can he do both? Will Amani continue to become her own hero despite her growing feelings for Jin? Will the Rebel Prince prevail? Is there a traitor waiting in the wings?"

These came from the book review I wrote about Rebel around June last year. If you wish to read my review before this one, just click the link that is highlighted. There are spoilers in this review, so, don't say I didn't warn you.

I am glad that most of my questions that came up in Rebel were answered in TraitorAmani did become the hero in book 2 to the point of leading the Rebellion to the next installment. Jin was gone most of the time, spying and gathering intelligence for the Rebellion. Jin and Amani's relationship have grown more intense as well as the political intrigue that envelopes them both. Since Amani was traded as a slave to join the Sultan's harem, I got a good look of the nature of the Rebellion's enemies and their battle plan. The Sultan is really evil.  

Traitor bespeaks of many messages for the reader to take it all in at once. I am still digesting the whole novel, actually. One of the messages I took away from Traitor that lingers still is this: those who love and stay loyal to the virtues and values that make us human in a time of conflict and war eventually die and get hurt. This is a more compelling read, for me, at least. But that is not saying that Traitor is better than Rebel. The latter is intriguingly beautiful and captivating. The former is breathtakingly exciting and ruthless at the same time. 

Sam's mind scape as he sneaks into Shazad's room.
What Hamilton began as narrative layering in Rebel, she continued so skillfully in Traitor. The legends and djinn lore she used as padding to the world she built for Miraji and its characters is an homage to the Arabian Nights. The crafting was well done that the legends and djinn lore she introduced in selected chapters made Miraji and its inhabitants more believable in a folkloric sense.

I am glad there are more djinns this time. And golems too! Shazad continues to kick ass. There is a rainbow moment between a demji and a human. New characters were introduced and a few good ones died. Sam is one of my favorites to emerge. While I wonder about Jin's prolonged stay in Xichia, and who funds the rebellion of the Rebel Prince, I also wonder what will become of Sam in book 3.

I will read Traitor to the Throne once more so I can post my guide for teachers and parents who wish to discuss the book with their teens. Here now is the link to the resource and reading guide I whipped up for Rebel of the Sands.

Rating: 5 Bookmarks

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