Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
Rebel of the Sands, book 2
Published March 7, 2017 by Viking Books for Young Readers (US)
e-ARC provided by Edelweiss
The sizzling, un-put-downable sequel to the bestselling Rebel of the Sands!
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.
♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫
* * W A R N I N G * *
this review might contain spoilers from book 1!
That's really all I can say for this book. The moment I got this, which was pretty late into the day on November 16, I could barely sit still. I didn't even begin reading until later that night because I wanted to absorb it all. I stayed up until 5 AM to read this and I honestly will never regret that.
I know I'm posting this review waaaaay early, but I happened to win a pre-order of the UK version of this book (which releases on February 2) so I thought, eh, why not?
But never mind about that!! This book guys! This series! Holy WOW, where has it BEEN ALL MY LIFE. I absolutely LOVED Rebel of the Sands when I read it (twice!) and it was just so amazing. So rich and unique and refreshing. I fell in love with the characters, the romance, the rebellion. Everything. And this book just proved to me why I did so.
It's been around half a year since Amani (my love) joined the rebellion. In those 6 months, she's nearly died, Jin went off as an undercover soldier in an army, things got a little crazy in their side of the desert, and then it gets crazier. Because they're found. And Amani is taken right to the Sultan's place. Since she's Amani, she uses the chance to gather intelligence, but it's a dangerous game. The sultan is smart, and the palace isn't the desert she's used to. And the problem with keeping with your enemies closer is that they might make you question what you know.
Can I just scream? Is there a text equivalence of screaming? Because that's all Traitor to the Throne made me do. I was worried about a love triangle and second book syndrome AND HAHA. I could not have been more wrong. Alwyn Hamilton knows what she is doing and it's keeping me in agony throughout the entire book. I can't comprehend ANYTHING, much less type out a coherent review, BECAUSE GOOD LORD.
THIS BOOK. THIS SERIES. THESE CHARACTERS. I don't know what to do.
Amani is an idiot and I love her for it. I say that in the fondest way possible because, hell, even she knows it. She's reckless and she's stupid and she's selfish and caring and hilarious and amazing and I love her so much. She's just such an amazing main character, no matter how many risks she takes. I love the character she's grown to be and I know Hamilton did an amazing job with Amani's growth. She's not the same girl you met in Rebel of the Sands at first. While her smart mouth is still there, she's different in a way I'm guessing only a rebellion can cause.
This book is significantly longer than Rebel, but around 200 pages or so. And I was hesitant about that because, again, second book syndrome. While things aren't as action packed as book 1, that doesn't mean things were boring. Amani might be in the palace, but the it's a dangerous place to be. Not just because of jealous wives in the harem or just because of the sultan--there are other things brewing. Being there wouldn't be easy for anyone. So for Amani? Hah. It's one wild, dangerous ride.
Being in the palace meant little of the characters I've grown to love in Rebel. Which makes me sad because I didn't get to see those characters until half of that book, so with this, I was hoping it would be full of them. But! Hamilton has a few tricks up her sleeve because she surprises us with who Amani has to face at the palace. I sure as hell wasn't expecting it and it made it all the more fun.
And while that was a great twist and all, I missed Shazad. I missed Delila. More importantly, I missed Jin.
I love Jin. I love him and Amani more than anything, though, which is different from what I'm used to in books, honestly. (I tend to like the romance, but I know I'm pretty biased towards one party over the other.) But Alwyn Hamilton writes the best romance, holy hell. I am in love with these two and their relationship. They're both so stupid and reckless and no doubt head over in heels in love with each other but also too damn stubborn to admit it to on another. They'll run away from each other instead of facing their problems head on, which will never not make me laugh because I get that so much. I hate confrontation and it's always hilarious when that backfires for them.
I just want more Amani and Jin even though I know they're in the middle of a rebellion and being in love isn't as important as getting the sultan dethroned. But still. Their kisses are just SO AMAZINGLY WRITTEN AND PERFECT like, how can you not love it?? I think I could go on forever about these two and their camaraderie and bickering and flirting but that isn't the point of this book.
Which brings me to another fabulous thing about this series. While there is a romance, it has never overtaken the plot. Not once. The romance is understated in the books because both Jin and Amani know the rebellion is more important.
The cast of secondary characters is an amazing one. From old characters like Shazad and Ahmed, to new ones you'll meet in Traitor, they're all written amazingly and consistent. They're fleshed out and not used just for plot purposes and that is great writing, in my opinion.
There are a lot of twists in this book. I didn't expect any of them. A lot of dangerous and crazy things occur and it left me reeling. I just know that I'm desperately in need of book three, but also highly aware that I'm not ready for this series to end. Because if the second book nearly ripped my heart out of my chest, good god, what will book three do?
Anyway, having ranted, it's pretty clear what I give this. 5 stars, through and through. I highly recommend this series, guys.