Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

under-rose-tainted-skies-by-louise-gornallUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Publisher: Clarion Books

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.

But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.

Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Under Rose Tainted Skies is a captivating YA Contemporary which is honest, raw, heart-breaking at times and tells the story of Norah as she uncovers the bravery within herself she never believed she would have!

Under Rose-Tainted Skies was a book I was super excited to read! Though with so many releases + my library copy coming late, I read it a little later than I wanted too, but I’m so happy I finally did because it was wonderful! 

Reading from Norah’s POV was so much more than just following her through her daily life, it was traversing with her through her ups & downs and growth as she overcame fears + obstacles and forged a relationship she never thought possible.

What I loved the most about reading her POV was that through her eyes I saw+pictured the characters in a very unique way, much more than just beyond their physical descriptions I saw their own struggles +obstacles as well and overall this made them feel so real! Gornall did a fantastic job at bringing all the characters to life. Norah was very witty + funny and I loved that about her!

While I do have a good amount of knowledge on OCD + Agoraphobia, just reading from Norah’s POV as whole gave me more insight into the mental process one goes through and it felt so real I could picture her thought process all through out the novel! She was my favorite character because no matter what happened, she always pushed through and found her strength!

Additionally, there were moments I really could relate to her, especially with her anxiety, like overthinking situations and jumping to conclusions when nervous. It’s something that I’ve done for sure. And reading from her perspective, I felt Gornall portrayed SO accurately!! Norah even mentioned its very easy to see why those conclusions obviously wouldn’t make sense, but thinking them anyways with the overall nervousness she would feel was something that I could definitely relate to!

She hasn’t left her house in years and we see how she has adjusted to this life, but its clear she wants what is beyond her front door.

It was great seeing the inclusion of her therapist Dr. Reeves and how she offered advice to never be afraid to speak/talk to someone and overall help Norah in navigating her new relationship with Luke, the adorable new neighbor.

I adored Luke (who is 10% human + 90% charisma ❤ )!! Through Norah’s POV, we see that even though she has OCD+Agoraphobia, he accepts her for who she is and gives her distance when necessary + is so understanding. He was so supportive with her and overall I loved how their relationship developed.

One day when she is trying to get her groceries from the front porch, he decides to help her and sooner or later, he begins sending her letters! ❤

After much hesitation, she finally tells him about her agoraphobia + ocd and he is very accepting of Norah and doesn’t push her. Instead, he always makes time to go to her house to hang out with her. He’s compassionate and very supportive. While Norah thinks she isn’t good enough for him and her fears of no longer being his friend constantly come into mind, he ensures her that he cares for her and is grateful for their friendship. ❤

I loved the mother/daughter relationship, through out the novel, whenever Norah found herself nervous or unsure about something, she knew she could always talk to her mom! Amazing family dynamic!!

My only issue is that I felt the story was a little rushed when it neared the end.

Overall Gornall delivers an emotional, raw, but honest story as we read from Norah’s perspective and follow her journey to find the inner strength/bravery she’s always had.

This novel left me feeling hopeful! I highly recommend this novel if your looking for a deeply moving YA Contemporary or are looking for a great mental health #ownvoices!!

Under Rose Tainted Skies is both gripping and heart-felt. With an emphasis on friendship+family and personal growth, this novel will captivate you!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Review

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 2017Empress Of A Thousand Skies (Empress #1)

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 314

Summary: CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA’AN WANTS VENGEANCE.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Belleza delivers a character driven sci-fi space opera that discusses very timely issues + politics as a princess + a tv celebrity find themselves on the run!

Empress had so many great elements! It was very plot + character driven and had little to no romance for most of the novel.

Being told through dual POV (3rd person) and it worked extremely well for this story! Because both characters aren’t exactly together for most of the novel, we get to see the politics, culture, etc. of the unique worlds from differing perspectives.

Aly, due to his Wraetan background is seen as different by others and fears if he is to do anything to damage his reputation while on TV, it would look bad for all Wraetans. Reading that made me feel so bad for Aly (with all the pressure upon his shoulders). Reading from his POV brought up very relevant and timely issues one could mirror to our own world that is sadly still seen today, how there are those out there who aren’t as accepting when they view people from other cultures and see them only as “different.” Which is so wrong!

Through Aly’s POV we see that just because he is Wraetan, he is framed from Rhee’s assassination.

Aly really goes into depth about his war-torn home and the struggles he’s faced to get to where he is. I loved the expansion on this subject, not only because it mirrors our own and gives perspective, but it shows how wrong/harmful these ideas are and can be.

As with Rhee, she flees her home planet after she nearly escapes an assassination attempt on her own life. She finds herself charting across different planets to track down who she suspects is behind her assassination and reclaim her throne!

She was very determined and came up with plans, however usually hesitated when the moments to enact her revenge finally came. With this all suddenly upon her, it would make sense that she would have her reasons for hesitation. Regardless, while she does make mistakes, she grows and no matter what happened along the way, she stayed true to herself and her goal. She never strayed away from it!

My heart broke reading what he had faced! I loved reading from both POV’s however Aly’s was definitely my favorite! Aly lost his family, his home, faced discrimination but no matter what, he kept pushing forward and never gave up fighting to clear his name.

From what I’ve read, I’m pretty sure there is a sequel! So I’m hoping with the next one, Rhee, Aly and the other characters introduced are given even more background and development, because there was so much mystery surrounding these characters.

I loved the unique aspects that Belleza was able to weave into this story, from the memory cube technology to the unique creatures found across the planets.

Additionally, a majority of the cast of characters were people of color, which is amazing!! I’m always happy to read a book with a diverse cast!! ❤

For the plot as a whole, I was kept surprised with each and every page! I could never guess where the story was headed which I adored, because it kept me invested from start to finish!

As for the pacing it was rather slow for me, however the mysteries that unfold had me turning the page to figure out who was behind it all!

As mentioned + introduced above, Belleza continued to discuss very timely issues such as immigration, politics, views on technology & privacy + so much more!

That is an aspect I loved so much about Empress! She really makes them an integral part of the plot and overall themes of the novel that really have you thinking all through out the entire story.

Additionally, there are so many layers to the story as a whole. Essentially, from Rhee’s perspective you learn there is a treaty in place and while it made the worlds stable when Rhee’s father established it, there’s still discrimination and tension between the planets.

Now as to why it wasn’t a full 5-stars:

First off I will admit, the summary was a little misleading for me, because going into the book I assumed Rhiannon + Aly would be together for most of the novel, however that wasn’t the case which is what I was expecting.

There were some moments I wish the worlds themselves were fleshed out a little more, while a lot of social issues are brought up within each world and discussed when Aly or Rhee visit them, in terms of descriptions + atmosphere I wanted a little more!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies is a thought-provoking story which takes the time to discuss very timely issues, introduces multi-layered politics and world-building, puts characters and plot at the center, and overall delivers a refreshing and unique tale in YA Sci-Fi!

Daughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller Review

Daughter Of The Pirate KingDaughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #1)

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 320

Summary: Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: A fast-paced pirate adventure with the perfect blend of action, romance, swashbuckling, and a hint of fantasy that will keep you turning the page!

Ever since I found out about this book back in 2015, I knew this would be a book I would love!

I mean kick-butt lady pirates, deception and adventure on the high seas? Whats not to love??

And this book absolutely went above and beyond my expectations! ❤ ❤

I flew through it in less than a day! 

You know when your reading a book, your transported and feel your right there with the characters in their world + before you know it you’ve reached the end?? Thats what reading this book was like! I loved each & every moment! (´▽`ʃƪ)

The plot surprised me with each and every page! I never knew where the plot was going & overall it went in very unique directions I was not expecting!

Reading from Alosa’s POV + through Tricia’s fantastic writing style, made DOTPK the swashbuckling adventure I was anticipating!

In terms of writing-style, Levenseller does a phenomenal job with atmosphere and characters, while the world-building itself is lightly touched upon in the beginning & introduced more towards the middle/end, she crafts it in such a way where you can really understand the world with its mythical sirens, mysterious islands and seafaring adventures!

I loved learning about the mythical Isle De Canta! Levenseller really built it into the lore and history of this world perfectly!!

As for characters I loved them! As stated before with Tricia’s writing, you really get to know these distinct characters through Alosa’s POV & get more insight to them through Alosa’s perceptive/pirate skills!

+ Oh gosh I adored Riden!! (´▽`ʃƪ) While he appears to be a ruthless, cold person, Alosa learns there’s more to him than she expects & the relationship they build through their banter was the best! Their relationship never felt forced to me & overall I really loved their dynamic!!

The plot surrounds Alosa as she plans her capture onto an enemy ship known as The Night Farer to find the missing piece of a 3-part map that will lead her father (The Pirate King) to the Isle De Canta! Thought that’s not without some obstacles along the way, like Riden’s interrogations, Alosa having to be constantly aware of her cover and not reveal any of her ruthless pirate skills or the plan for that matter!

Draxen, captain of The Night Farer underestimates Alosa’s pirate skills, however Riden (younger brother + first mate to Draxen) is sure that she’s hiding something!

I adored the female crew she had by her side when she finds herself docked for a night at a small town & how they were eager to help her no matter what! (Mandsy, Zimah & Sorinda were all such supportive friends to Alsoa!) It was clear that they all looked out for each other + supported each other!

Alosa also struggles to come to terms with who she is (when certain secrets are revealed) + while also wanting to prove herself to her father and seeing that struggle really surprised me because when the book starts out, you don’t really see much fear from her.

Her development + Riden’s was remarkably done! Levenseller really added depth to their character (among others) and you really see them differently by the end of the novel!

Overall this book went above and beyond my expectations and I cannot wait to see where Alosa’s adventure is headed in book 2!

Daughter Of The Pirate King is a swashbuckling adventure with action, kick-butt lady pirates and an immersive + fun story to keep you turning the page!

 

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones Review

wintersong-by-s-jae-jonesWintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 436

Summary: Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Wintersong is an enchanting masterpiece! A tale of family, sibling love + loyalty, and belonging!

Oh gosh I loved Wintersong so much! It was an utterly phenomenal story that I will truly never forget! ❤

I went into this book with super high expectations and was not disappointed! 

Told through Liesl’s elegantly constructed POV, she has grown up with tales of The Goblin King and for years has roamed Goblin Grove, enchanted by her grandmother’s stories. Now 19, she finds herself brought to the Underworld when her sister Käthe gets taken and goes to her rescue!

Being a gifted composer, she sees herself as invisible compared to her other siblings and feels she will forever be nothing but a shadow among them and their successes. She has always put others before herself and her father discourages her from continuing her music, certain that Josef will bring the family great fortune and success.

I don’t think Wintersong would have been the musically + lyrically crafted tale it was without being told through Liesl’s POV! Jones effortlessly weaves music and magic into Wintersong and shows all throughout the story!

Additionally the Underground and even Golbin Grove  Jones crafted was utterly magical and the writing truly brings her settings to life!

While this is a retelling of Labyrinth (+ I’ve seen parts of it & have some basic knowldege of it) + the poem (which I’d never heard of before) “The Goblin Market“, Wintersong really stands on its own and delivers its own unique story!

She has never felt like she belongs, is overlooked for her musical abilities, and yearns for independence + a place to call her own in the world. I sympathized with her desire of belonging & felt my heart ache for the struggles she went through!

However no matter what, we learn that music and love in her heart is what truly makes her shine.

I adored all the characters! They were all spectacularly written and came to life on the page no matter how long or short their appearances were.

Constanze, Liesl’s grandmother, has told her and her younger siblings (Käthe + Josef)  legends told throughout their youth of The Goblin King and Liesl can’t help but be enchanted! She’s a big believer in the tales and legends.

Josef, the youngest brother, has always been close with Liesl and though he’s a rather shy and nervous person, he finds happiness when being with Liesl and playing music with her.

Käthe, Lisel’s 17-year old sister, is seen as more beautiful and with a marriage already set for her, she is seen as more accomplished than Lisel.

The Goblin King himself was a very mysterious, but captivating character that I was curious to know more about from the very beginning!

On the day when Josef has an important violin audition which could bring great opportunities to their family, Käthe and Liesl head to the local market to pick up clothing alterations for him.

However, Liesl notices a mysterious stranger in the market and after receiving a gift from him, she begins to notice a change in Käthe and realizes she’s been claimed by the Goblin King.

She then goes on a journey to find a way into the Underworld to get her sister back.

Yet magic and wishes come with a price in this tale and over the course of the story Lisel must make tough decisions to ensure her sister’s safety and come to terms with who is and who she wants to be.

Always being linked to her gift of music, she learns how powerful her music can truly be and how that connects her to the Goblin King.
Overall Wintersong is an enchanting tale that will captivate you, start to finish! Lush writing weaves with the beauty of music, to deliver a tale of sibling love/loyalty, family, and independence! This wondrous story will stay with you long after the final page!

+ Keep an eye on the blog for a Wintersong Playlist! 😍🎧📚

February 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 8

traitor-to-the-throne-by-alwyn-hamilton1.Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #2)

Traitor To The Throne Full Review

Publisher: Faber&Faber

Release Date: February 2, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic sequel that truly surprised me! Hamilton focuses more on the politics and world of Miraji, while expanding on the magic/mythology. Her writing style as with Rebel keeps the story moving and really immerses you into the story! I am beyond excited for what’s to happen in Rebel Of The Sands #3!

kings-cage2.King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #3)

King’s Cage Full Review

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 528

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: The world and characters really develop over the course of this novel compared to the previous installments. There is much needed expansion beyond Norta & many aspects of the world and politics surprised me + really added more depth to the world. However with the addition to multiple POV’s, there was 1 POV in particular really dragged the story  & did more of *showing instead of *telling.  Additionally, there are certain characters who I wish were present more. Regardless, Aveyard’s 3rd installment was entertaining and kept me turning the page! Interested to see how the Red Queen Series ends in Book 4!

welcome-to-the-ballroom-volume-13.Welcome To The Ballroom Vol. 1 by Tomo Takeuchi

Welcome To The Ballroom Full Review To Come

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: A great introduction to a new manga series about Tatara, a high school student who gets involved with ballroom dancing! I wish there was more development with the characters b/c they were all introduced wonderfully! Overall there’s comedic moments, dynamic characters and a unique plot that has me eager to read the next volumes!

the-valiant-by-lesley-livingston-book-review4.The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (The Valiant #1)

The Valiant Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven tale about a Celtic princess turned gladiator! The engaging and well-rounded characters made this novel so much fun to read. I do wish the story’s pacing was a little faster + had more action! Regardless, this was an immersive tale about sisterhood, family, & honor! Cannot wait to read where Fallon’s journey is headed in the sequel!

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchez5.Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Because Of The Sun Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 272

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: The writing style is very “dream-like” and makes this YA Contemporary so unique! Dani has lost her mother and must adjust to a new life with her aunt in New Mexico. She forges a friendship w/ Paulo and he is very supportive during her time of grieving. There is an additional POV in this story, which added tons of background but did slow the story a little for me. Overall, themes of grief, family, love and loss are weaved perfectly into this novel that truly focuses on Dani’s journey as she comes to terms with her mother’s death.

ronit-and-jamil-by-pamela-l-laskin6.Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Ronit & Jamil Full Review

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Written in verse, Laskin’s modern take on Romeo & Juliet is lyrical and fast-paced! Ronit & Jamil can’t help but fall in love. However a wall across their lands keeps them separated, but they know deep down their love won’t be fractured. Conflicts arise and their family wants what’s best for them. While there are some moments it does feel rather rushed, overall this tale delivers a message of hope!

A Conjuring Of Light7.A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades Of Magic #3)

A Conjuring Of Light Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 624

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Phenomenal character development + world-building weave throughout the masterfully crafted plot! A truly phenomenal conclusion to the Shades Of Magic Series!

monthly-girls-nozaki-kun-volume-28.Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun  by Izumi Tsubaki (Vol. 2)

Monthly Girls Full Review To Come (Vol. 1-3)

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 144

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is easily becoming one of my favorite Manga series!
As always, romance/high-school tropes are given unique+comedic spins & that’s what makes it so fun to read! There is tons of character development and the plot continues to be fun, unique, & engaging! Cannot wait to read volume 3!

Additional Posts From This Month:

~None This Month~

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston Review

the-valiant-by-lesley-livingston-book-reviewThe Valiant by Lesley Livingston (The Valiant #1)

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in her father’s war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

*Received a finished copy through a giveaway*

My Thoughts: Livingston delivers a character-driven tale about a Celtic princess turned gladiator!

Recently announced, The Valiant will b getting a sequel!! I can definitely see how the ending would be nice to it conclude it as a standalone, but I truly fell in love with this world + characters and I’m so happy there’ll be a second book!

The first few chapters alone, really pull you into the story and wastes no time showing the complexity and depth of the main character Fallon.

While this novel does have action, it is definitely more of a character-driven story and the gladiator aspects do appear throughout the novel, but a really featured more at the end!

Fallon truly changes over the course of this story, but above all changes for herself and is an independent and determined heroine! I loved reading from her POV!

On the evening she is hopeful her father will add her to her to the warband, she gets captured and is forced to become a gladiator for Rome. Once there, she is determined to get her freedom, however along the she learns more about herself and her family, but mostly the enemy territory that invaded her home years ago.

While forced to train as a gladiator, she learns more about the people who brought her to Rome and what the costs truly are if she is to find a way back home.

The other side/main characters were also very well written and developed. Through Livingston’s writing, you really get to understand these characters, even with just a few passages! (Cai & Elka were my favorites!)

There’s so much girl power + amazing female characters. Over the course of this novel, Fallon finds friendship between her gladiatrix companions (especially Elka) even the Achillea  and its clear while they may not always get along, they are there to look after each other!

They were very much like sisters and overall I loved how the females were given a central role in this world/story!

Reading about these female gladiators was truly fascinating and it sucks there isn’t much historical record of them, but it was definitely wonderful to get a chance to read about them from this novel!

Fallon struggles with the loss of her sister and it’s clear that both her sister Scorcha & the loss of her, pushes her and has molded Fallon into the person she is.

I felt it had the perfect amount of romance! Wonderfully done! It never felt too forced and it never felt like it took over the plot or changed Fallon’s motivations in any way! Through out the novel she really focuses on earning her freedom on her own personal development, with out help from Cai and it showed just how determined she was to prove herself.

I did take off 1/2 a star b/c I felt the pacing was slow at times & I wanted more action!

Regardless, this is a very character-driven novel with twists + turns and delivers a tale about honor, family and sisterhood + foreshadows an even more epic journey to come in the sequel!

Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton Review

traitor-to-the-throne-by-alwyn-hamiltonTraitor To The Throne (Rebel Of The Sands #2)

Publisher: Faber&Faber

Release Date: February 2, 2017

Pages: 512

Summary: Mere months ago, gunslinger Amani al’Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne.

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Hamilton delivers a character-driven sequel with a bigger focus on politics and intrigue as the rebellion continues!

It felt like forever waiting for this book! 😭😭 I fell in love with the magical world of Miraji and the fascinating characters Hamilton created in Rebel Of The Sands!

I’ll admit getting into this sequel was difficult in the beginning with mentions of new characters or events that happened off page in between Rebel and Traitor, but Hamilton really built and developed those events + characters into the narrative as it progressed!

Months have passed since Rebel and Amani has forged a place for herself in the expanding rebellion and as the Blue-Eyed Bandit.

At the start, she finds herself on a rescue mission to have others rally the cause for the rebellion and its clear to see she has grown both with her powers and as a character since Rebel!

Jin is off doing his own mission, however Amani can’t help but feel like he abandoned her. While the whole reason behind this is originally something that happened off-page between Rebel & Traitor, Hamilton not only shows how it impacts Amani and the relationship she forged with him but reminded me how much I truly missed their fun/witty banter and how the rebellion really puts a strain on not only Jin/Amani but on Amani’s other relationships too!

She soon finds herself in the Sultan’s Palace trapped and with no means of escape, but determined to find out as much as she can to help prince Ahmed.

Hamilton delivers a different writing style than in Rebel, introducing myths and stories about other characters throughout a few chapters, which honestly made me feel so much more connected to this world/characters, because it added more background and history!

It also added small breaks in between the story which was nice too!

I really wouldn’t mind reading a full book on Miraji’s myths/legends!(Publishers can we make that happen??) Hamilton merged them into Traitor perfectly! 

Over the course of the story, Amani comes to terms with events that happened in book 1! She knew she left people behind and in this novel she really puts others before herself and considers how her actions could potentially harm or affect the people around her.

As for world-building, politics and intrigue definitely have a much bigger role this time around! Armies & palace intrigue are given center stage as Amani + crew continue their plans for rebellion.

Getting both sides from the rebellion to the Sultan’s rule, forged a much bigger scope of Miraji’s political world from the palace + other lands like Xichia, the Gallan, etc., was so fascinating and really gives you more background on the Miraji you thought you knew!!

As stated above, I applaud Hamilton with the introduction of new characters, because regardless of how much page time they have, they truly came to life and were so memorable! (Sam was definitely my favorite❤️❤️ )

Additionally I applaud the diversity added into Traitor!  Something that I didn’t consider in Rebel which Hamilton mentioned more in Traitor was how being a shape-shifter, Imin was gender-fluid because she felt comfortable being both male/female which was also made clear by Imin’s relationship in Traitor.(LBGT+Gender-fluid)

Hamilton does a spectacular job with character interactions + plot twists, etc! I won’t give much away, but she definitely doesn’t leave any loose ends in this novel and really ties together elements from Rebel + Traitor perfectly!

Through Amani’s 1st person POV, you really are understanding more along the way with her and with each turn of the page, this story kept on surprising me! (Even if it was ways I wasn’t expecting!)

It was fascinating learning more about the rebellion and the kingdom of Miraji as whole, while also introducing us to the Sultan! Amani gets to learn more about the Sultan & Djinni as she comes to question her loyalty to the rebellion + Ahmed’s capability of ruling if he wins this war!

While the beginning + end have significantly more action, I was on the edge of my seat when I began piecing everything together with Amani along the way, which made the last maybe ~20-30 % one of my favorite parts of Traitor!

Character development is huge! This was definitely Amani’s book! With her rebel crew in the background of this novel, she does her best to ensure her own/the Rebellion’s safety by staying loyal to the Sultan, but while not letting secrets spill out!

While Amani + the group dynamic from Rebel isn’t much of a central role in this novel, it focuses more on Amani and her development as a character! However, Hamilton definitely reminds the reader just how attached Amani has become not only to Jin, but the rebel group like Shazad, Ahmed, etc.that she has come to see as her family!

There are so many fantastic elements that while this novel is different from Rebel in ways, it truly was not a let down for me and left me surprised more than anything, even in ways I never expected! It really went above and beyond my expectations!

Traitor To The Throne is easily one of my all-time favorite books so far this year! Delivering betrayals, expansion on world/magic, wonderful character-development, an immersive plot, and  twists + secrets that deliver a truly unforgettable sequel!

I cannot wait to see how Hamilton concludes her Rebel Of The Sands Trilogy with Book 3!

+ Keep an eye on the blog for a Traitor To The Throne Playlist!