Most unfortunately, Traitor To the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) came down with a severe case of Second Book Blues.
It actually wasn’t a terrible book and I still liked it!! But because I loved Rebel of the Sands so enormously much…I slapped my cover of Traitor shut and felt enormously disappointed. It was nothing like its big sibling and I felt like I’d eaten a sandwich that was more sand than wich. (I’m assuming the “wich” part of sandwich is the part with the cheese and no lettuce in sight. Because lettuce is a sin.)
NOTE: The review doesn’t contain spoilers for Traitor To the Throne! Mild spoilers may apply for the first book — BUT VERY VERY MILD. I am being all the careful.
- I STILL MONSTROUSLY ADORE THE WORLD. I’m a sucker for Persian culture! Even though Traitor to the Throne took a massive faceplant into Political Intrigue Stuff (shh that’s the technical phrasing) I still did like the scuttling about palaces and harems and conspiracy theories. PLUS IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL! The description was lush and there was tons of backstory for the world.
- THE COVERS ARE JUST THE BEST. Ha ha to the Americans who had to change covers. (Ahem excuse me, I was not gloating.) But I love the colours and the art and just = I would eat it I love it so.
- There is lots of magic!! Lots of using the desert as a weapon which I think is an A+ idea because do you know what happens when you get sand in your hair? It stays there. Forever. GOOD WEAPON! These Demdji (which are like the demigods of this culture I guess? Half Djinni x half human) know how to attack. Plus there is still shooting!! Although, sadly, not near as much as the first book.
- WE GET ANSWERS. Answers are nice! I do like a sequel that informs us about:
- Who Amani’s magical Djinni father is.
- What happened to Tamid who was left bleeding in the sand at the start of book 1 #nice
- What happened to some of Amani’s cousins.
- What happens when you are a special of specialest snowflakes but live in a desert do you melt omg who can know
- IT WAS MISSING EVERYTHING I LOVED ABOUT THE FIRST BOOK. Ya. I’m crying too. My absolutely favourite things in Rebel of the Sands were (1) Jin, (2) sass, (3) shooting all the things, and (4) action. Oh Jin’s not dead, don’t worry. He’s just SIMPLY NOT AROUND. And while I appreciate that Amani can be an interesting character by herself (#StrongIndependentYoungWomenFTW) I missed Jin because he featured so much in the last book and was my favourite. AND WHAT ABOUT THE SASS. WHERE WAS IT. WHEREEEEEEE.
- SPEAKING OF WHICH….MY SHIP RAN AGROUND IN THE DESSERT. It’s not sunk per se. But since Jin is literally not around for like 450 of the 500 page book — IT’S HARD TO FEEL ANYTHING’S SAILING. Before the book even starts, apparently Jin and Amani had this massive argument THAT WE DID NOT GET TO SEE. What?!?? That is not a good way to open a book. How can I, a reader, go from the end of book 1 where they were smooching in the desert, to the beginning of book 2 where Amani is angry at Jin for things I never saw — and yet I’m expected to understand??? Also I 10000% hate the “this is the sequel so the happy couple have got to hate each other” trope.
- SO MANY CHARACTERS. SO MUCH NO CARE. I didn’t keep up with the 39839 characters and names and then WOAH let’s add in a dozen princes or so that I’m meant to tell apart. I haven’t got a flippity flying clue who’s related to who. THERE WERE CHARACTERS POPPING OUT OF THE
SNOWSAND LIKE DAISIES. Plus I didn’t care about these characters. I care about Jin. WHY IS JIN GONE.
- WHY WAS IT 500 PAGES LONG. What did I do to deserve this. One of my biggest compliments about Book #1 was how it was fun, sassy, short, and concise. THIS HAD NONE OF THAT. It was long, tedious, and full of talking instead of doing. And since Amani is the specialist snowflake of ever she can’t be hurt and….oh sorry. I had to take a small moment to cry with frustration. #CaitIsAWeepingWalnut
I do think it suffered violently from sequel blues.
Which is ironic because it’s red. But shh, details details. It just lacked nearly everything I loved about Rebel of the Sands?? Which isn’t to say, of course, that YOU will not love it, because you are not me! (Thank goodness. The universe barely handles one of me.) But I’m still giving it 3 stars because I enjoy the world and I still like Amani…but this is still a dastardly disappointing sequel and I am a sand monster of regrets.
THANK YOU TO ALLEN & UNWIN FOR THE ARC. Traitor To The Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyin Hamilton was published January, 2017.
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 cruellest 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.
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