The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty
The Traitor’s Kiss was a pleasant surprise that somehow combined matchmaking with action and espionage. It tells the story of Sage, a girl who has no determination to be married off and ends up working for a matchmaker. Her work requires her to travel with a group of girls as they are escorted to the palace for a grand matchmaking ceremony. As she continues her observations as an apprentice matchmaker she begins to realize that something amiss is underfoot and it’s her insights that could quite possibly save or endanger them all.
Fantastic. I didn’t even realize that people were comparing this to a Mulan retelling till after I was almost done with the book. In fact, I am honestly confused by the comparison, because it’s not like Sage was off trying to disguise herself as a boy. I loved the fact that she was this normal girl without grand expectations and finds herself in a position that just works for her status and skills. Apparently there is some fuss about girl hating as well, which honestly is quite minimal and I found to be acceptable considering that it was coming from girls within a hierarchy reacting to someone who would be deemed below them. These type of details aren’t there to encourage girl hating rather than to help establish the world building.
As far as the story goes I wasn’t quite hooked at first, which is the only reason why I really knocked a star down. The first portion of the book was mostly spent getting to know our characters and each one had their own quirky personalities. I loved that once you got past the introductions, we were in for an exciting ride. There was so much more than just frilly matchmaking. The action scenes were exciting, the romantic scenes made me blush without anything really happening. There are twists that I was not expecting and only added my intrigue to the rest of the story. I think fans of Mary E. Pearson would appreciate this book.
The World Building
The world building was quite minimal. Most of what was there was primarily historical or hierarchal, in which was explained the business of the matchmaking and how it tied in with the society and essentially gave meaning to our story. The book is set up to where there could be sequels as our story is still half finished. There are still enemies out there, countries to war with, and possibly even more traitors to root out.
Sage and Ash were by far the best part of this book. Sage is fiery and smart. She knows what she is capable of and of her own limits. Despite her standing in the hierarchy ladder, she is proud of who she is and just wants a simple life where she can take care of herself. Sage’s relationship with Ash is built on a camaraderie and trust that is tested and tested again. Their romance is both sweet and heartbreaking at the same time.