Traitor to the Throne – Alwyn Hamilton

“Once, in the desert kingdom of Miraji, there was a young prince who wanted his father’s throne.”

I hadn’t been desperately impressed with the first book in this trilogy, Rebel of the Sands, feeling it could have been much better with a bit more adventure and a bit less slush. Thankfully, this middle instalment is everything I’d hoped that first volume could be: high on adventure and danger and magic!

*sort of spoiler warning: this book is a sequel, so merely the mention of characters who appear could give away info of events in the previous volume*

The better part of a year has passed since the events of book 1. In fact, rather a lot has happened in that time, including separating a few of the main characters, wins and losses for the rebellion, and some life-threatening injuries. I think this is the first thing that improves this book for me: the idea that the story has continued between the books adds a certain richness. Likewise, the characters have had months of familiarity and changing relationships, giving everything a much more interesting mood than the we’ve-just-met limitations of the opening.

This slice of the story also changes the pace quite dramatically, largely taking place inside the palace (which, as a result, is much more fully-formed than most locations in book 1), as Amani finds herself imprisoned within the Sultan’s harem. Stripped of her powers, she’s still shackled with the inability to lie. Can she keep her – and the rebellion’s – biggest secrets, while she tries to survive the interests of both the Sultan and his heir, and the less than friendly power system in the women’s quarters?

As she’s forced to spend more time with the desert’s ruler, doubts start to rise about the rebellion she’s struggling to get back to. What exactly is the Sultan’s plan – and could it be not quite what everyone thought?

I was really pleased with the new direction of this trilogy, and felt the various elements – plot, characterisation, tension – all worked much better. I have huge hopes now for the final slice of the trilogy – and a whole year to wait, argh!!

NetGalley eARC: 528 pages / 51 chapters
First published: 2017
Series: Rebel of the Sands book 2
Read from 6th-14th February 2017

My rating: 8/10

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