Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday #Review - The Traitor's Kiss by Erin Beaty #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Traitor's Trilogy # 1
Format: Hardcover, 344 pages
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Macmillan / Imprint
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy

What makes her unfit to be a lady, makes her a brilliant spy—but can she spot another?

To escape the threat of being married off by her uncle, orphaned Sage Fowler accepts an apprenticeship with a matchmaker. Intelligent and unruly, she’s perfect for gathering information on prospective clients. Protected by a small army contingent, Sage and her mentor escort a group of ladies to be matched with noblemen. Sage spies on soldiers and brides alike as they travel.

Amongst rumors of a political uprising, a handsome solider recruits Sage to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers, the more uncertain she is of whom to trust. Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

With secret identities and a tempestuous romance, The Traitor’s Kiss is Jane Austen with an espionage twist.

The Traitor's Kiss, by author Erin Beaty, is the first installment in the authors Traitor's Circle trilogy. 17-year old Sage Fowler is a commoner who has been living with her Aunt and Uncle Broadmoor since her fathers death. She doesn’t know how to be a proper lady, but she is book smart, highly intelligent, and a good teacher to her younger cousins. When Uncle William makes it known that he intends to match Sage to a possible suitor by using the famous matchmaker Darnessa Rodelle, it doesn't go well. 

Sage's temper shows through, as well as her inability to become submissive to any man. Both personality failures make her unfit for marriage. She's more like her own parents who were self-matched and married which lead them to being ostracized and disowned. Darnessa, who knew from the beginning who Sage was and that she had no desire to be married off, ends up making Sage her apprentice. She knows that Sage is intelligent, and driven. She can be the perfect spy to gather information on the candidates looking to attend this years Concordium.  

With the Concordium being held for the first time in 5 years,  Sage takes the appearance of a noblewoman named Lady Sagerra Broadmoor. As she and the other 15 woman (who she doesn't get along with because they treat her as pond scum) are being lead cross country to the event of the year, Sage finds time to spy on the brides, as well as the group of soldiers led by one Captain Alexander Quinn who is supposed to see to their safety. She attempts to get up close and personal with one of the men named Ash Carter. Things between Ash and Sage are truly a center part of the entire story. It is one of interest if you are also looking for a possible hint of romance in this story.

On the other end of the spectrum is Captain Quinn. Son of a General, recently promoted to lead a cavalry squad, Quinn wants to prove himself. Something curious is happening in Demora and it soon becomes a worry for Quinn and his cavalry soldiers. Soldiers from Kimisara seem to be invading the country, but for what purpose remains just out of reach. Alex finds himself curious about the over-eager Sage who is as curious as anyone he's met. He nicknames her Sterling, and sends "Mouse" to see what she is up to and whether or not she can be trusted with serious information that may end up affecting not only his men, but the women he's sworn to protect. Quinn's own story is as mysterious as it comes. You might consider paying attention.  

I loved Sage. She's exactly as advertised. She's intelligent, highly intuitive, and has a firm understanding of the subjects she's supposed to spy on. She has zero issues with inserting herself into the story while Quinn and his men might have second thoughts about trusting her or allowing her in on their plans. When Sage does get invited in, she discovers secrets that Quinn missed but it also makes her wonder who she can really trust. I also loved Lady Clare. Clare is a 15 year old girl who is sent away by her father to marry and becomes Sage's only friend among the women. She is adorable and sweet. As is Charlie. Charlie is Quinn's younger brother who Sage comes to adore. I think readers will as well.

Much has been written about this book since it was released and even before. I tend to stay out of conflicts involving the idiocy that has been written about the fact that someone dared call this a Mulan retelling. FYI, it's absolutely not nor have I seen anywhere that said the book was, in fact, a Mulan retelling. Sage plays a sort of chameleon. She's a lady. She's a maid. She's a spy. She's a matchmaker. She's not Mulan folks. This is a book about espionage, politics, and there's not a whole lot of romance included in the story. It's NOT MULAN!

Sage has no desire to dress up as a man and play soldier boy with Quinn's group. She desires to be who she is without worrying about being slammed by those of higher status. I've heard people complain about the girl hate in this book. Get over yourselves people. If you go thru life as hateful as some of the reviews I've read, you will never achieve happiness in your lifetime. Sage's life was made difficult by the other women in the caravan because of her low status. Imagine going through life hating Sage because she dared have a backbone and bite back against those who tried to reign her in. It was her job to slice through the bullshit and match each woman with the ideal candidate. If that leads to being hated, then Sage is certainly going to sleep well tonight.

Last point. I've read some rather nasty comments towards the author as well as reviewers who liked this book. The haters felt the book was filled with racism because the so called villains were dark skinned. If I say a person has darker skin than the protagonist who is lighter skinned and has freckles not unlike the Irish, could I be saying that the person is perhaps from Italy, or the Middle East, or even parts of Africa where dark skin is prevalent? If you see racism every where you go, and blame white people for all of your troubles, aren't you yourself perpetuating the hatred instead of understanding the actual world in which the author has created?

I actually look forward to the sequel. I hope the author doesn't allow the hatred to guide her into completely rearranging her characters or changing them around because a few people with hate in their blood can't keep quiet.   

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