A Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

The Basics:

Title: Traitor to the Throne

Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Western, Arabian Folklore

Series: Rebel of the Sands

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Publisher: Viking

Format: Kindle

ISBN-10: 0451477855

ISBN-13: 978-0451477859

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Quick and Dirty:

 

What happens when our hero gets a glimpse behind the curtain in the enemy’s palace and must question her beliefs about who is right in this war.


Opening Sentence:

 

Once, in the desert kingdom of Miraji, there was a young prince who wanted his father’s throne.

 

The Review:

 

Before we begin, I do suggest that you visit my review of the first book in this series The Rebel of the Sands. Or that you read the first book in this series. I promise that it is time well spent as these characters are guaranteed to worm their way into your heart.

When we left our rebels, our narrator Amani had just had a very close call with death courtesy of a bullet in her chest. Suffice to say she does survive, but when she wakes up she finds Jin away on a dangerous spy mission and the rebellion in the middle of a war.   

In my prior review it was clear that this story was not necessarily my cup of tea, but I wasn’t exactly calling “Off with their heads!” either. I gave the second book in this series a shot, because there was one character in particular that I wanted more time with; the roguishly handsome and reckless Jin. The disappointing part of this book, for me at least, was that there was very little time spent with Jin, but this book did surprise me in that I liked this book a lot better than the first (even with so little “Jin-Time”).

In the first book I found the combination of western shoot out with Arabian folklore, plus a dash of dystopia, confusing and jumbled. In this book we see this jumble losing the “western” feel and replacing more and more of these elements with fantasy elements. This shift from mundane to fantasy made me more of a fan. Additionally the author did a fantastic job of adding dimension to her story by planting the narrator in the middle of enemy territory and getting her audience and “insider” look at the villian.

Overall this second installment in the series has made me invested in the series and I hope to see where this story takes its readers.

Notable Scene:

“Trust me.” Jin wasn’t looking me in the face, though he was so close to me it was almost the only place he could look. ‘I had to learn on the Black Seagull, before this all started.” This, I knew meant the Rebellion. I almost laughed. It was such a small word to mean all of us and everything we’d done and everything we still had left to do. “A lot of sailors got hurt getting tangled up in ropes.”

He did something that sent a stab of pain through my side. I hissed through my teeth.

“Sorry.”

“You goddamn should be.” Pain sharpened my tongue. “This happened when you shoved me, you know.’

“You’re right,” Jin deadpanned, fingers still prodding gently at me. “I should’ve let you get shot; that’s so much easier to recover from.”

“And what would you know about that?” We were running for our lives. This wasn’t the right time to be picking a fight, not in the middle of a war. But I hadn’t been the one to bring it up. “You weren’t around when I did.”

“You’d rather I’d stayed to watch you die?” Jin’s jaw was tight.

“I didn’t die.”

“But you might have.”

“And you might’ve died off spying on the Xichian!” Silence dropped between us. But we didn’t move. Neither of us pulled away or forward. Jin’s fingers still explored my tender shoulder.

He finally spoke again. “It’s dislocated. But not broken.” He was just above me now, so all I could see was his mouth and the shadow of stubble along his jaw. My shoulder braced between his two hands. “This part is going to hurt like hell. You ready?”

“Well, when you put it that way, how could I say no?” That slight curve to his mouth that always made me feel like we were in this together appeared. “I’m ready.”

“All right.” He shifted so we were face-to-face. “I’m going to pop your shoulder back in on three.” I gritted my teeth and prepared myself. “One…”

I took a deep breath.

“Two…”

Before I could tense in anticipation of “three,” Jin wrenched my arm out and up.

Pain stabbed from my elbow to my shoulder and tumbled out of my mouth violently. “Son of a bitch!” Another curse ripped out after it in Xichian, then one more in Jarpoorian that Jin had taught me while we crossed the desert, the pain drawing out every insult in every language that I knew. I was halfway through a colorful curse in Gallan when Jin kissed me.

Any more words I might have had died cataclysmically the second his mouth found mine. My thoughts fell to ruins right behind.

I’d almost forgotten what being kissed by Jin was like.

God, did he ever know how to kiss me.

He kissed me like it was the first time and the last time. Like we were both going to burn alive from it. And I folded into him like I didn’t care. The Rebellion might be falling apart around us, the whole desert even, but for now we were both still alive and we were together, and the anger between us had turned into a different fire that drew us both into the middle of it until I wasn’t sure which one of us was consuming the other one.

He pulled away with sudden, gut-wrenching speed, breaking us apart as quickly as we’d come together. My own ragged breathing filled the silence that followed. It was full dark now. All I could make out was the rise and fall of his shoulders and the paleness of his white shirt.

“Why did you do that?” It came out in a low breath. I was close enough that I saw the rise and fall of his throat when he swallowed. I had the sudden urge to rest my mouth there and taste whether his breath was as unsteady and as uncertain as mine.

But when Jin spoke, his voice was as steady as a rock. “To distract you. How’s the pain?”

I realized that the screaming pain in my arm had gone silent as the rest of my body came alive in answer to Jin’s kiss. He was right; it didn’t hurt half as bad as it had when he’d twisted it back into place.

He picked something up off the ground–my red sheema, I realized. It must’ve slipped off. Jin touched my arm again, but this time his hand was just flesh and blood on my elbow, not fire invading my skin. He tied the sheema around my arm and looped it over my neck like a sling, tying it behind my neck in one firm knot before pushing himself to his feet.  “Besides…” His voice was light, like it was all a joke and we were just two strangers flirting with each other before parting ways again. Not two people who were as tangled as we were. Who had crossed the desert together. Who had faced death together over and over. “Who could resist a mouth like that?”

 

Purchasing Options:

Barnes & Noble  |  IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  iBooks

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