Title: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
Published: February 2nd 2017 by Faber & Faber
Page Count: 592
Where’d I Get It: Purchase
Rating: 3 stars
This is not about blood or love. This is about treason.
Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince’s message has spread across the desert – and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruelest manner possible.
Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl’s instinct for survival. For the Sultan’s palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper’s nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive… But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani’s past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.
I will admit, I ordered the English version off of Book Depository because I was loath to wait a month. What’s up, I’m impatient. Plus it matches the cover for the original one. The US cover, not so much on the matchy-matchy there, eh publishers? And, to be honest, I really enjoyed Rebel of the Sands when I finally got around to reading it. While it had some cliche YA elements, I enjoyed it immensely, hence my impatience.
Traitor to the Throne, though, I’m not really sure where I stand. Parts of it immensely annoyed me, while other parts were both interesting and surprising. I guess I’ll just start from the beginning.
We pick up some months after the events of the last book. Jin is gone, having left after Amani took a bullet and he decided he didn’t like feelings, off on a mission for his Rebel Prince brother. She’s mad about it, and about the time he comes back, during some side character’s wedding, Amani ends up getting captured and sent to live in the Sultan’s palace.
Yes, of course, the Sultan know’s she’s both with the rebels and a half djinni. In fact, he uses her to summon her father and keep him in a secret room of the palace to, well, we don’t find that out until later.
Amani herself is stuck in the harem most of the time. And yes, that’s just as dull as it sounds. The girls in the harem are bitchy and clicky and Amani is bad at being a people person. The only person she seems to befriend is one of the princesses, who would rather build automata than have anything to do with the rest of the harem. Though, as the book wears on, we learn that a lot of girls in the harem just disappear, hence the pecking order. Amani also finds her cousin within the walls of the harem, 100% more pregnant than the last time she saw her on the train. With that pregnancy, she’s secured herself a position of power within the harem, and Amani uses that to her advantage, despite how awful they were to each other in the first book.
Tamid is also in the palace, having last been left by Amani whilst she was fleeing with Jin all those months before. His leg has been replaced by a contraption fashioned by the automata princess. She’s a bit infatuated with him, but he’s still on his path of being a holy healer type. He also proves to be somewhat of an ally to Amani in the palace, despite her treating him like literal dirt previously.
The book, as we established, is plodding along now, with mostly political maneuverings and cat fights within the harem walls. Amani meets a young gentleman who can walk through walls, who has taken her Blue-Eyed Bandit moniker. He doesn’t offer to relinquish it, but instead continues to use it despite Amani’s protests. She does convince him to join the resistance. Though, I think that’s part and parcel with his infatuation with Shazad, and not so much with anything Amani had to say.
Bleh, okay, so the plot gets convoluted from here. The Sultan wants to use the djinni he’s captured to become an independent nation and destroy his enemies and Amani and her ragtag team are trying to stop it. There’s action and betrayals and plenty of murder, but by this point the book is about 75% done and despite my best effort, I couldn’t care about any of the deaths, even the public executions. There was just too much drudgery before it.
Oh, and Jin! I only mentioned him at the beginning of the book, because he’s not in this book very much. I didn’t like him in the previous book. I don’t like him as the romantic lead. I can’t be expected to like every romantic lead ever. Sometimes you swoon and sometimes you don’t. You can’t tell me every romantic comedy Mark Ruffalo was in, we were expected to swoon over him. I’m pretty sure all I did was, “Daww.” Anyway, I digress. Jin is not my ideal romantic lead and when he finally shows up in this book after brooding and giving Amani all the feelings, they decide they’re going to touch and kiss and at the most inconvenient of times. They’re a) trying to be discreet and b) trying to escape. It is not the time for romance! Get your hormones under control!
Not to mention that I absolutely hate the trope where the love birds are constantly separated. I think the only way to make this trope worse would be if Jin suddenly lost his memory (like Tuxedo Mask) or lost his memory and went evil (like Angel). I absolutely hate this trope. And I get it, it makes the plot more interesting, but talk about frustrating. Gah!
Anyway, I think I established that this book didn’t live up to my expectations. Yet another book to suffer from sequel syndrome. I can only hope that the trilogy ends with a bang and doesn’t disappoint me. Gosh.