Traitor to the Throne - Book Review
(Rebel of the Sands Trilogy - Book 2)
UK Publisher: Faber
Other books in the series:
Rebel of the Sands
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 cruelest 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.
There seem to be lots of mixed reviews circling about this book, but I thought Traitor to the Throne was simply brilliant. True it did have a slower pace than Rebels, but this second book focused more on world building and character development. We got a real in depth look at both the politics and backstory of Amani’s world - and I felt this book really showcased Amani’s quick wits and inner strength — which was one of the reason I was initially drawn to her character in the first place.
Picking up almost year after the last story left off, this book sees the rebellion growing in both strength and popularity. But when Amani is captured and her Dijinni powers neutralised, she must fall back on her old survival instincts if she is to navigate the treacherous web that is the Sultan’s palace. Now a captive turned spy - Amani will do anything to ensure the rebellion remains one step ahead of the Sultan. But the Sultan has dark and sinister plans for the rebellion, and it begins with him wielding a weapon intended only for Gods…
With so many conspiracies and lots of underlying intrigue, I devoured this book within days. Told mostly from Amani’s POV, I also loved the third person chapters that — with an old school, storytelling narrative — unveiled the history of the Gods and some of the major characters. It was all very beautifully written.
Thanks to the backstories - we also get a more in depth look behind each characters motivation. For example the Sultan was a particularly interesting character, strong willed, power hungry but difficult to hate, and I liked how Amani also had conflicting feelings about him too. He is definitely a very layered bad guy - and I can’t wait to see what he will throw at Amani and the gang next.
This book also had a lot of character development. I really loved how Amani used her brain instead of her powers to get herself out of trouble, and didn't rely on a boy to save her… much. Actually her relationship with Jin was a little strained in this book, but I actually liked how the romance took a backseat since Amani had more pressing concerns than thinking about boys. However I do hope there relationship grows deeper in the next book. Fingers crossed!
Otherwise this story contains lots of new characters - all with quirks and interesting stories of their own. We learn more about the Dijinni’s and their capabilities, and I can’t wait to read the final book because the ending… oooh it was so good. However, I did spot some of the plot twists before they happened, and I generally had a pretty good guess of what was coming next. Still, rather than diminishing my enthusiasm, this only increased my anticipation to see if I was right. Sometimes I was, but sometimes I wasn’t.
All in all, a fantastical read! The final book cannot come soon enough!