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Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands) Hardcover – March 7, 2017
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PRAISE FOR Traitor to the Throne:
*"[Traitor builds] to a crescendo of heart-pounding—and heartbreaking—climaxes that will leave readers sobbing and desperate for the next volume."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"[Traitor] is full of compelling twists and turns, and the ending will leave readers highly anticipating the final volume in theRebel of the Sands trilogy."--Booklist
"[A] worthy sequel...unforgettable."--BCCB
PRAISE FOR Rebel of the Sands:
“Romantic, thrilling, hilarious, and just plain great fun.”--Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“Debut author Hamilton combines elements of Western and Middle Eastern civilization and lore with her own mythology, crafting an enticing, full-bodied story . . . successfully mingles romance with thrilling stakes, and hints at a welcome sequel.” --Publishers Weekly
“This atmospheric fantasy combines magic, mythology, and the Wild West to create a riveting tale...an exciting, romantic adventure that is unique and all its own.” --Starred Review, Booklist
About the Author
Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often. Follow her at @AlwynFJH.
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One thing I always find interesting in YA are the different themes and tropes that are used in them. Traitor to the Throne very much harped on the separation trope between Amani and Jin. As an author, Hamilton executed this trope to perfection because she used it as a vehicle to further develop Amani as a character, in absence of Jin. Some authors fail at making their women protagonists into a truly independent woman by letting their male counterparts define them. As romantic as they were in their scenes, and as much in love Amani claims to be with Jin, employing the separation trope made Amani's character soar. She had a sense of agency that was focused and it was admirable to read about. Hamilton doesn't allow her characters to fall into too much angst, which some authors tend to do too. This romance was kept fresh because it wasn't perfect. While Amani may be completely infatuated, we notice a slight disconnect between them, due in part by the rebellion at large. Jin is not completely committed to the rebellion like his brother Ahmed is, and like Amani has grown to as well. This has put some stress on their romance a bit, so it will be interesting how this plays out going forward.
Amani is captured by the Sultan, and while to anyone else this would be an end all be all kind of situation, we see Amani rise to the occasion. Amani isn't your typical martyr character that most YA books have been spewing out, she knows that offering herself up as a sacrifice is not the way to go. She faces down the hard choices she must make with a single-minded determination that is almost scary. Amani is forced into many situations that make her less than what she was in Rebel of the Sands, however she never, not once, feels like a character that is diminishing. What she may lose in power and magic, she more than makes up for with cunning and grit. Amani uses her captivity in the Sultan's Palace as yet another thing to use to help the rebellion. Even in her darkest moments, she's always looking to the future to the moment she will escape and return to the rebellion. While Amani felt like a one-woman army unto herself in book one, we see that she's a part of a larger group of characters that she relies heavily on in order to push through her obstacles. It was humbling to see her need and use her friends and family to get out of some sticky situations, because at the end of the day it does in fact, take a village to achieve greatness.
Amani comes face to face with the Sultan, the father of the boy she loves, Jin, and of the boy who's in charge of the rebellion she's a part of, Ahmed. During this tumultuous time, Amani broadens her perspective of what it means to be part of a rebellion. She finds out how a rebellion affects all parties involved and what that looks like. She also does some deep reflection on how her past actions in book one have affected certain people. Amani learns a powerful lesson; those with great attentions can cause the most harm.
The pacing of the story is very different than that of Rebel of the Sands' pacing. While Traitor to the Throne does have some of the best action scenes, the pacing to the book allows for readers to fully become immersed within Hamilton's world. It allows us and Amani as a character to contemplate and reflect on the hardships of a rebellion and war. We got to learn where and who Amani comes from and more about that heritage.
Alwyn Hamilton has set the stage for her next installment. The dice have been cast, and they will surely land where they may. Traitor to the Throne lives up to the hype with it's magic and deep and meaningful character development. I look forward to seeing how this war plays out in the next book. Be sure to pick up Rebel of the Sands, the breakout debut of 2016, and follow it up with this book.
It's early on in the year, and yet I know this is going to be one of my top five reads in 2017. Alwyn did not disappoint.
We start off a few months after the end of Rebel of the Sands, with Amani and friends going on a rescue mission for some of their rebels that got imprisoned. Except Jin is not there. Jin has run off to do things for the rebellion, because Amani was shot sometime in between the first and second book and almost died. We don't really know what Jin is up to aside from the small prologue where he acts as an interpreter gathering information from Xichia.
It's really tough to put my feelings into words, and believe me. I had a lot of FEELINGS when I finished this book. Oh so many feelings.
So Amani is captured and brought to the sultan, Jin and Ahmed's father. He's clever and conniving and almost seems like he wants the best for the kingdom. Amani starts to realize things aren't necessarily as black and white as she once thought they were.
Amongst all of the palace intrigue and such, we meet the rest of the sultan's sons and a daughter of his. As well as many of the Sultim's wives in the harem. Old faces show up, and no one can be trusted.
So much happened in this book. It was fairly plot and world-building heavy, with less of the action scenes of the first book. Not that there isn't any action, but as Amani spends much of the book captured, there is far less. If you're looking for the constant action and gunslinging of Rebel, you might find yourself disappointed. But I thoroughly enjoyed all the intrigue and games, which led to us learning much more about the surrounding kingdoms and the history of the world.
The only thing I was upset about was the lack of Jin. He and Amani spend probably 80-90% of the book apart, because of circumstances. But when he is on page, he makes it count. And even though Amani is upset about being away from Jin, she still gets all the things done and doesn't sit around moping.
The ending nearly ripped me to pieces. I was screaming (for real), and I certainly hadn't expected what came next. I really, really need the next book now.
Characters: 5 stars
Plot: 5 stars
Writing: 5 stars
World: 5 stars
Feels: 1,000,000 stars (jk 5 stars)
Total - 5 stars
A note: The cliffhanger at the end could rival Rick Riordan and I will never forgive Hamilton for this.
Amani is fierce and beautifully flawed. She’s a great combination of weak and strong, cunning and naïve. Watching her try to navigate the dangers of the sultan’s palace kept me turning pages.
The sultan is the kind of antagonist you both admire and abhor—a worthy opponent for the rebellion. He’s proof that the best villains are the ones who believe they’re doing the right thing. He had me questioning my assumptions right along with Amani, wondering if the rebellion was really the noble cause it appeared to be.
I thoroughly enjoyed Traitor to the Throne, and I anticipate great things from book 3!