Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format Read: ARC
Published by Faber & Faber on February 2nd 2017
Book Depository | Buy from publisher
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.
Check out my review of the first book, Rebel of the Sands, before you dive into Traitor to the Throne
I put off jumping back into the world of Amani and Rebel of the Sands because I was put off by how big the book looked. If you’re thinking about the same thing, don’t worry! You will absolutely fly through Traitor to the Throne because it’s just that good. I’m kicking myself now for putting it off for a few weeks, but that just means there’s now a shorter wait until the third and final book in the series. And my grabby hands needs it now!
Rebel left off on a massive cliffhanger (which I will not spoil for those that have yet to read it. Shoo, go pick up a copy now!), and Traitor actually picks up around half a year down the track. Our sassy girl Amani and her fellow rebels are doing what they do best — rescuing innocents from the clutches of those that have seized power for their own selfish benefits. We dive straight back into the midst of the action, and it feels like it hasn’t actually been a whole year since I’d last read about these wonderful characters.
If you’re like me and tend to forget a lot about a story and its characters in the one year waiting period between books, then fear not. Hamilton eases the reader back into the story and its characters smoothly, making you feel like you’ve never left this brilliant world in the first place.
I’ve been reeeeeallly into politics lately, and the amount of political intrigue that’s riddled throughout Traitor made my reader heart sing. Off the back of And I Darken, my first read of 2017, Traitor has also fulfilled my interest in reading more books set within a middle-eastern setting (although it’s mixed with a little bit of gun-slinging Western vibes). I absolutely love this world, and it was wonderful being immersed in the heart of it all — Izman, the capital of Muraji and where the Sultan resides.
Amani as a character grows a lot in Traitor — when we first meet her, she’s a selfish and self-interested girl that only wants to survive. In the sequel, we see her interests evolve, and more often than not she puts the rebellion and her friends before herself. The paths of her new life crosses with those of her old Dustwalk companions, and decisions that she made while she fled Dustwalk begins to haunt her, with old friends and enemies that reappear in Traitor. Every decision has a consequence, and this is fully explored through Amani’s life as a captured Demdji within the Sultan’s palace.
I can’t even explain how many twists and turns there are within the 570 pages of Traitor. Just when you think there’s hope, it’s quickly dashed by something (or someone) that you least expect. I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t see one of the most innocent people in the harem being an outright little snitch. And the Sultan, man even I was a little bit convinced by his ideals and plans to save his country. Argh! Hamilton, whyyyy, you’re so evil!!
One of the best characters in Traitor has got to be the Sultan Oman. A man that killed his own father and 12 brothers to take the throne, he is pure evil but also incredibly smart. His vision for the world is completely twisted, but because he does it for his country, you can’t help but think that maybe this man is actually okay. Amani at one point is even made to question whether her rebel prince Ahmed is even right for the throne. And I was right there alongside her asking the same thing: Is Ahmed too soft to rule a whole country?
This is what’s so great about this series — you never know who to trust, and you can’t even trust your own instincts. All the characters begin to grow on you more, but there are still so many different characters that you sometimes do lose track of who’s who.
And Jin — he’s actually gone for 75% of this book but to be honest, I didn’t really care. I still ship Amani and Jin, but we’re in the middle of a rebellion. Ain’t nobody got time for romance when there’s a war to think about. I loved how subtle the romance was throughout the novel, because when Amani and Jin are together, it just makes their sparks fly off the page more. I don’t need a romance to be pushed in my face in order to ship two people — the way Hamilton does it is perfect.
I can’t give this book enough praise at all. It brought me out of my ‘historical/regency fantasy’ slump (thanks to Alison Goodman’s Lady Helen series), and now I can’t stop thinking about picking up more books set within a middle-eastern world.
Highly recommend! Now for the wait for the third book…
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.