Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
‘Rebel by chance, Traitor by choice’
‘A New Dawn, A New Desert’ and the magic, adventure and rebels have returned in the second installment of Rebel of the Sands.
I received an E-ARC via Netgalley from Faber & Faber and I am super excited to be able to read this one in advance and review it for you and tell you my thoughts.
Traitor to the Throne is the second book in the Rebel of the Sands Trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton, and I want to start off by saying Rebel of the Sands set an amazing premise, and had serious potential as a trilogy, therefore I had to get my hands on Traitor to the Throne. From there, what I received in Traitor to the Throne was different, however enjoyable as a second book, and it really set the storyline up for a gripping final book.
From now on I will dive into spoilers, if you haven’t read the book, don’t read any further. Read it and come back to discuss. You have been warned.
A year after the battle at Fahali, and the Blue-Eyed Bandit is assisting the rebellion in anyway she can. However, when Amani is kidnapped by someone she least expects, she lands herself inside the walls of the Sultans palace, surrounded by enemies but attempting to survive without her powers or her famous identity. This story follows Amani’s struggle to survive in a palace full of deception, lies and betrayal, when she is the only one that can’t lie herself.
I love the way Alwyn writes, her story flows perfectly, and I enjoy how effortless it is to read and be immersed in the world she has created. Alwyn is able to mix in mythology better than many authors. Honestly, Alwyn’s writing is at home with mythology, and my favourite parts of this book were reading the history of the world she created. Magic & Mythology: that’s Alwyn’s thing!
From a writing perspective, I do think the only thing that was missing was in-depth descriptions. Unfortunately, I found in some parts, the addition of more descriptions would clarify how I saw the world and the scenario’s that were unfolding.
Traitor to the Throne’s plot was a lot different to the first book in this trilogy. Rebel of the Sand was action at every turn, once we passed the first eight chapters of Rebel the storyline picked up and we moved swiftly through world-building, character development and an fast-moving plot line. Alternatively, Traitor to the Throne was slower, and the focus took away from the Rebellion as we delved into the Sultans world. Traitor focused on subtle maneuvers, that lead to an gripping end of the book.
The plot to Traitor to the Throne had 100% more depth than Rebel of the Sands. There was more going on in the sub-plots and in the background which added a bit more deception and unpredictability to the storyline. I appreciated the additional complexity of the plot, although we had to wait until the end for it to all unfold it added something we didn’t see in the previous book which made this book more enjoyable.
The tales which described the origins of the world, Djinni and the First Mortals really added something extra to Traitor to the Throne. I enjoyed diving into the mythology that created this world, and it really added more of an Arabian feel to the story, however we swayed from the Western vibe I enjoyed within Rebel to the Sands.
At times, Amani and where she was going in this storyline frustrated me. We had quite a time-jump from book one and book two, that being said we missed the development of her powers. We jumped straight back into a story where she could control her powers fully, but I was disappointed that I missed this crucial development. Please note this is more on me as a reader than the book, I am sure some readers enjoy the time jump, however I was most looking forward to seeing Amani develop her powers, rather than skipping over it.
The character development in this book was perfection, and I was ecstatic with what I received. It really made up for the lack of development within the first book. When comparing, Rebel of the Sands involved Amani making some of the same bad decisions twice, however within Traitor to the Throne, she had developed as a character and wasn’t making the same mistakes that frustrated me in the first book. Also, we saw Amani stripped of her powers and without weapons, which developed her further from the character that could only fire a gun, to one who can deceive and became more of a strategist and a essential part of the rebellion.
However, when talking about Amani, I immediately thing of Jin and he was barely in Traitor to the Throne. I did want Amani to develop on her own, but I would of liked a bit more of the mysterious and handsome Prince! I enjoy Jin’s interactions with Amani, and I wasn’t able able to appreciate this pair as much in this book. Yes there were moments with them together that I was grateful for, but lacked a bit for me considering Jin was such a large part of the first book and he was pushed to the side in this one.
I enjoyed the additional new characters within Traitor to the Throne, especially meeting Jin and Ahmed’s other siblings and how different they all were to each other. However, I did feel we were overloaded at times, and forever trying to keep up with characters which took away from the whole experience in some parts. Previous characters that were left behind previously also reappeared. I liked the roles both Tamid and Shira played within the storyline. These characters really added something to Amani’s development and added more complexity and unpredictability to the plot.
I enjoyed Traitor to the Throne, it did have a few faults, however in comparison I think it developed perfectly and out-shone the first book in a lot of ways. I missed the guns, but the action-packed ending really kept me on the edge of my seat. Traitor to the Throne set up a long wait until 2018, and I am excited to see where Alwyn takes this story in the final book.
Release Date: 2nd February 2017