The Traitor’s Game (The Traitor’s Game#1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen
This book started out so promising with the premise of a kidnapped girl who holds the secrets to secure a legendary weapon to kill an evil immortal king. Sounds pretty original and exciting, right? I was in the middle of reading some amazing books when I picked this up on audiobook, so this one might not have had a fighting chance considering all the other options that it was up against for my attention. But I stuck with it through to the end hoping that something would just pop out and make me say wow! Or give me a feeling that it could redeem itself in some way. But once this book ended I sort of felt underwhelmed. Like it had been building up to something and then took some generic turn that did not wow me at all.
This book is about a girl named Kestra, who on her way back home after being exiled to the Lava Fields where she had spent time away. Finally her father, the King’s right hand man, has called her back home. On the way her carriage is attacked and she is taken captive by the Coracks. This is a rebel group who want to take down the ruler Lord Endrick and end his reign so that they might all be freed. But in order to do this they must get the Olden Blade, a mythical dagger that is the only weapon that can kill the Immortal Lord Endrick. And guess who is supposedly one of the few who could possibly find this Olden Blade, but none other than our girl Kestra, Come to find that she has been kidnapped by a boy named Simon, who she actually grew up with in the castle as a child until he was supposedly killed. Upon finding he is still alive and on the opposite side of this war as her now, she goes along in hopes of finding a way to escape later on.
The world building was easy to follow, being a fantasy set in a kingdom with limited magic. Only certain people possessed it and the ones without were seen as lesser. With Lord Endrick dead though, this oppression could end, and the Corack rebellion could finally rule. Or so they thought when they kidnapped Kestra, little do they know that she has no clue where this mythical dagger is, or how to find it. To her it is just as mythical as to anyone else, but if she can get back to the castle, then maybe she can find a way to get out of this mess. But along the way she starts to see that what she has been taught might not be the way things really are. When innocent people are being mistreated right before her eyes, she starts to see things for what they really are. And that maybe Simon isn’t fighting for the wrong side after all.
The story started off strong with a great plot and I was really interested in finding out how this could turn out, but somewhere about 3/4 of the way through it all started to feel a little bit rushed and major things start happening it seems just to hurry the story along. I wanted to find out more about the rebellion and how they were going to try and take out Endrick. But then all of a sudden we are rushed through the last bit of the book only to end up slightly confused as to where the story is going to go from here on.
The romance was also a little bit awkward, I wasn’t sure how they got to some of the points when the last tie they saw each other one was about to be killed, and then the next thing you know they are stuck in a closet together trying to keep their hormones under control… it wasn’t really instalove. But it wasn’t very natural either. There was something forced about it that really had me disconnected from the characters and their stories. I found myself rolling my eyes a few times just thinking it was a little bit ridiculous.
I really wanted to like this, and part of me did. I want to know what happens, but I just don’t know if I care enough to continue on with this trilogy. There are just so many other amazing books out there that I would much rather be spending my time reading. Because lord knows, I have already pushed as much of this one out of my mind in order to make room for all the others, and I just don’t think I could force a reread upon myself by the time the second book to this series is out and ready to read. I kept going back and forth whether this was a 2 star or a 3 star read for me, and I settled with 3 stars even though I think that might be a tad generous . It definitely doesn’t hold a candle to many of the other 3 star books I’ve read, but I don’t think it was horrible enough to drop down a star rating. Just know that this one is a very very low 3 star in my book.
If You Liked This Book
While The Traitor’s Game wasn’T really a win for me, it might be for others. And if you’re looking for another book with a hint of magic, and a fight for freedom of power and the oppressed then you should give Snow Like Ashes a try. I recently read this book and readily enjoyed it! While there are a lot of similarities that I noticed between these books, Snow Like Ashes just has the extra I felt was missing in The Traitor’s Game. The magic system, world building and politics are all much better in this series and the romance doesn’t have you rolling your eyes with how confusing and awkward it is. Not to mention this series is all out and ready for your reading pleasure!
I might be in the minority with this review for The Traitor’s Game, but there was just something about it that lost my interest and I coulnd’t get it back, Do you ever have books like that? Where you want so badly to love it, but you can’t? Let me know I’m not alone and tell me about your experiences in the comments below!