Fantasy is a hard genre to write. A lot of different fantasy series end up being the same storyline with different names and predictable endings. But not with The Traitor's Game. While the plot is a little cliche, Jennifer A. Nielsen has done a wonderful job on this book. I have to admit I’m kind of biased because the Ascendance Trilogy was amazing and I’ve been idolizing this woman since 2012, but I swear I’m being impartial here.
The characters in this book were great. The first person point of view switched between the character Kestra, a highborn girl being threatened into betraying the family she barely knows and the cruel ruler they support, and the character Simon, a former servant and orphan turned rebel. The first person point of view definitely deepened the characters and I think did great things for the story. Switching between narrators can always be risky though, it’s a hard thing to get right. Sometimes the switching point of views can get confusing or cause the reader to get bored of one character's point of view, making parts of the story drag on. But in this case, though I did slightly prefer the parts told by Kestra, I think it was very well done. I also really appreciated that Nielsen finally gave us a kick-ass female main character.
Any good fantasy novel has to be able to touch in on inner conflicts other than just the exterior wars and magical battles, and Nielsen does it so well. The characters were struggling with moral obligations and their changing beliefs just as much as they were dealing with assassination attempts and spying in castles. I love Kestra’s passion to do the right thing and her intelligence. I love Simon’s dedication and bravery.
This book is full of twists and turns, lots of drama and suspense - and a little romance. All of which is so important in fantasy novels. This is something this author has always been really good at, and I think it really comes across in this novel. It ended on a great note, too. Not such a cliffhanger that drives you crazy for the years it take for all the sequels to be released, but it left you intrigued and wanting to read more. The execution of this story was completely dynamic. I’m personally so excited for the sequels to come out and to read the rest of this series.
Genre - Fantasy
Pages - 400
Publisher - Scholastic
Author links - http://jennielsen.com/
Grace C., EO Blogger