Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for The Traitor’s Game (from Goodreads):
Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip.
A group of rebels knows this all too well – and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home. The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected.
Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what – and who – it is they’re fighting for.
Series: The Traitor’s Game
Author: Jennifer A Nielson
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February 2018 – March 2020
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
This was a series I stumbled upon at the library when browsing audiobook titles. I loved the cover and once I read the synopsis (and saw that my library had all the audiobooks in the series), I put myself on the holds list. I love a good fantasy novel and this one seemed to be a solid blend of stories I had liked in the past yet had its own flare to it.
The Concept / The World:
The idea of magic is a touchy thing for me because it isn’t always the most logical (or can quickly have “exceptions” when it needs to) but I didn’t mind it here. There was a system to the magic and how it was used that I appreciated.
I also enjoyed how rich this was in the politics. I think there might have been a few too many groups involved to keep it all straight (it was hard as I was listening to the audiobook, trying to remember all the details as I read the books a few weeks apart).
Book 1, The Traitor’s Game, started like any other book in the genre. It seemed to follow the same generic formula and I found my mind starting to wander and not absorb as many details as I should have. And that is a real shame because there are some great twists near the end of that first book that were exciting and fresh.
That freshness continues on throughout the rest of the series. I loved the evolution of the plot. There are a lot of players involved and lots of aspects that contribute to the narrative. One thing that really impressed me was that nothing ever felt like “filler” content in the 2nd and 3rd books.
However, I do think the romance overshadowed a lot of stuff and because it was lacklustre for me, it dampened the reading experience quite a bit.
I’m going to admit that people started to blend together a bit for me. I blame the audiobook on that one and my crappy memory at trying to keep characters straight.
There are a lot of players in this game and they all do their job well.
I didn’t really feel Simon and Kestra as a romantic pair. I’m not really sure why because they have all the makings of a cute couple. I think it was just that there was a massive focus on their romance and how it drove so many of their decisions that just irritated me a bit. I never really felt invested in it like I should have been.
My Audiobook Experience:
The audiobook production itself is great. I just think as someone who has a crappy memory that this wasn’t the best format for trying to keep everything/one straight and clear.
Series Rating: 3/5
The Traitor’s Game 3/5 | The Deceiver’s Heart 3/5 | The Warrior’s Curse 3/5
I think those who are on a high fantasy kick who will enjoy this. You have to give it some time to find its own footing but once it does, I think you’ll be impressed with its trajectory.
Read if You Like: high fantasy, politics, slow building stories
Avoid if You: dislike romance-focused stories
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- Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson (Dance of Thieves Series #1)