Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Publisher: Faber & Faber
This is not about blood or love. This is about treason.
Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince's message has spread across the desert - and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruellest manner possible.
Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl's instinct for survival. For the Sultan's palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper's nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive... But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani's past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.
|Me with this sequel!|
It feels like I have been waiting forever for Traitor to the Throne, even though I manage to get my hands on an early review copy. I read the first book, Rebel of the Sands, way back in October 2015 and fell completely in love with the world and the characters. It became one of my top reads of that year and I gushed about it endlessly, recommending it whenever I could. Waiting for this sequel was torturous, I needed more and jumped at the chance to read it early. I am happy to say that I felt it was well worth the wait, as Alwyn Hamilton didn't disappoint. Instead she has solidified her place as one of the most exciting emerging YA authors, and I can't wait to see what she does next.
Many second books in a trilogy have fallen victim to the dreaded Middle Book Syndrome, which is why I am always so nervous before I start a sequel, especially for a book I loved. I really feel like Traitor to the Throne manages to avoid falling into this trap, instead it has everything you could want - action, adventure, shocks, politics, new characters, as well as all the characters we came to love in the first book. Traitor to the Throne picks up about six months after the battle of Fahali, and the rebellion is growing every day. Amani is enjoying an active role in the rebellion when she is captured and finds herself within the walls of the Sultan's palace, a prisoner with no means of escape. Now she is forced to work from the inside to try and take down the sultan, realising along the way that the rebellion isn't as simple as she has always believed, as she starts to question Ahmed's ability to lead.
Amani is one of my favourite female characters, her journey is one that I loved reading about. It was great to watch her go from such a place of oppression to a woman who has the full use of her powers, working to help the rebellion. She has been able to carve out a place for herself within the rebellion, fighting for what she believes in. This book pushes Amani out of her comfort zone, back to a place where has next to no control and she couldn't rely on her powers, or even her sharpshooting skills to get her through. She had to use her mind to outsmart and outwith those around her and, personally, I really enjoyed that part of the book.
|My Amani & Jin thoughts!|
Hamilton takes this story into the palace, throwing Amani at the mercy of the man she is trying to take down. This worked so well, giving a face and a voice to the Sultan, to our man antagonist. He gets to have an active role, we see who he is and what he is willing to do. It also meant lots of time for politics, with Amani being able to see the reality of ruling, and what Ahmed would need to be capable of doing if he were to rule. This book was all fast paced action in the beginning, fast paced action at the end, but a muck slower middle. It concentrated on the politics, as well as world building and the history of the Djinn. We learn a lot during this time, and the Djinn play a bigger role here. Not to mention we have a fantastic LGBT romance, involving a gender fluid character -and it gave me all the frigging feels!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and thought it was a great sequel. Yes, I will admit, I didn't love this anywhere near as much as I loved the first book. I felt it lacked the romance and humour I loved from book one, but the books calls for that so it was understandable. It is also a bit too long for me, I like my books under 450 pages or they can start to drag. But I still really enjoyed it and I am absolutely dying to get my hands on the final book.I trust Hamilton completely to write an epic conclusion to this series, which best include some epic kissing scenes to make up for the lack of Jin in this book!