Wednesday, April 26, 2017

#Wednesday Review - Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton #YALit #Fantasy @AlwynFJH ‏@VikingBooks ‏

Series: Rebel of the Sands # 2
Format: Hardcover, 521 pages
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Mere months ago, 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 djinni and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change.

Traitor to the Throne is the second installment in author Alwyn Hamilton's Rebel of the Sand series. The story picks up (6) months after Rebel of the Sands ended. If you've read Rebel of the Sands recently, you will have no issues with jumping right back into the world that Hamilton has created. Protagonist Amani Al-Hiza has gone all in by joining the Rebellion led by Prince Ahmed. Amani's newly discovered powers are more than helpful when going up against all sorts of challenges. But, things are much, much different than in Rebel of the Sands. 

Amani's journey is one that sees her go on a rescue mission with fellow Demdji, to being betrayed, captured, and sold to the Sultan where she finds herself under his control and without any of her abilities. The old adage about never burning down your bridges because one day you might need to use that bridge to escape comes into play. This is a story that isn't filled with shootouts like Rebel of the Sands. This is a book that Amani has to choose whether she is a rebel, or a traitor, or something else entirely. 

While Amani may be under the Sultan's protection, she still has to live in a harem filled with backstabbing women, one she knows very well. But, being in the palace also has it's advantages. She can uncover certain secrets of the Sultan's that may be helpful to the Rebellion. That is if she can find a way to contact them without being caught. She has to decide who she can trust, and who she should stab, stab, stab. Lastly, she has to find a way to escape before having her real identity of the Blue-Eyed Bandit exposed. 

This is a story where you question whether or not the rebellion or the Sultan are the real villains. The Sultan has his uses, that is not in question. He also has some interesting plans for his Kingdom which means that Amani gets a first hand look at deciding whether Prince Ahmed is correct, or the Sultan. One of the most interesting aspects of Amani's story is that she, as a Demdji, can't tell a lie, which comes in handy to the Sultan. But, Amani is also a pawn in a much larger game. 

I am not all in on the romance between Amani and Jin, and probably won't be until he becomes less of an asshat. Jin isn't really around for most of this story having walked away after an event that found Amani being hurt badly. Yet, it is Jin who expects Amani will fall all over herself to forgive him for leaving, or not being there for her when she was hurt, or later when she is betrayed, and taken to the Sultan's palace. Once again, the story ends on a really heart aching cliffhanger. One in which we see a whole lot of character growth by Amani, and an acceptance that she needs to step up her game if those she loves are to survive what happens next.

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