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review 2018-12-22 15:28
Fantasy novel about power politics, betrayal and manipulation – quite good
The Traitor - Seth Dickinson

 

 

This fantasy novel takes place in a made-up world and that's as far as the fantasy element goes. Apart from that, this could be a novel about politics, power. Manipulation and betrayal (thus the title). Baru decides to get her revenge on the Masquerade by infiltration and manipulation from within with deadly results fro anyone in her proximity. There are a whole bunch of interesting characters, al well-developed and the plot is long but quite engaging. Scenes of battle complete the novel. It's quite good but I don't think that I'm suitably bothered about finding out what happens in the next book.

 

 

 

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review 2018-10-31 14:30
Two sides explored
Traitor to the Throne - Alwyn Hamilton

 

Legends were never what you expected when you saw them up close. I was no exception.

 

Second in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy, you definitely want to have read the first in the series before you dive into this one. While the first drops you into this world filled with supernatural beings, our heroine Amani is a demdji, daughter of a human woman and male djinn, and country at war. This first was a lot of action and I felt a little lost as the world building and explanations felt a little forgotten. This second one still had action in it but it slows down a bit with a focus on the characters and we get to know the other side, the father of the Rebel Prince, the Sultan.

 

The world is a lot more complicated than it seems when you are seventeen, Amani.’

 

Amani is captured and spends the majority of the book as a prisoner in the Sultan's harem. The conversations she has with the Sultan were some of my favorite parts of this books, I love when the villains are given more depth, not just evil caricatures. I thought it was very interesting how the author had Amani having an internally battle about what she was fighting for; analytical conflict makes things more compelling.

 

I’d move the whole world to make up for what I’d done to Tamid. But I wouldn’t ever give it up for him. Not for anyone. The difference was, Jin had never asked me to. He’d taken my hand to show it to me instead.

 

If you're looking for a lot of Jin and Amani, you're going to be a bit disappointed, they spend the majority of the book apart. Jin kind of gets the shaft in this book and while I thought all the other characters had great insights and depth explored, he was left out in the cold. When Amani is captured and he “disappears” I was disappointed in how vague and forced his absence seemed to be to keep Amani in the harem, his whereabouts and reasons are given like a sentence to explain it away and didn't make a lot of sense. However, when they are on the page together, they spark enticingly.

 

He stood as tall as one of the huge pillars down here in this ancient palace vault. Only he wasn’t just holding up a palace. He was holding up the world. One of God’s First Beings who had made the First Mortal. Who had made all of mankind. Who’d made me.

 

There was a lot of tales, myth, and history weaved into this, at times I thought it helped with the world building and others it seemed to make things unnecessarily clogged with extra characters and more supernatural ethos that was hard to keep track of. It does set-up the third book nicely though with a new challenge for our Rebel crew and potential for a huge battle.

 

The trouble with belief is that it’s not the same as truth.’

 

Even though it changed the action pace of the first to a more slowed down get to know the characters pace, I really enjoyed this second addition to the trilogy. There is a huge cast of characters and magical world to keep straight and track of but I believe this is worth the effort. I can't wait to read the third where we, hopefully, get more Jin and Amani, and the conclusion to the Rebel Prince's battle for a country.

 

On that day, a hundred thousand men and women would come to watch and each would tell the story of what they saw there.

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text 2018-10-31 07:41
Reading Update: 100%
Traitor to the Throne - Alwyn Hamilton

BINGO!

 

only had to stay up reading until 3am but by god I got it. 

Rushed probably incoherent review tomorrow. Off to get three hours of sleep now. 

 

Happy Halloween!

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text 2018-10-31 03:20
Reading Update: 50%
Traitor to the Throne - Alwyn Hamilton

 

‘The world is a lot more complicated than it seems when you are seventeen, Amani'

 

Definitely can't just pick this on up, want to have had read the first in the series. Started off kind of slow, a good amount rehashing. Has picked up the last couple chapters, though. Missing more Jin and Amani action but I'm kind of digging her time with the Sultan and the conversations they are having. Gives great depth to the villain or opposition that was more of a shadowy evil in the distance in the first book.

 

Still, though, more Jin, please :)

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review 2018-10-28 18:47
Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh - Anna Beer

Disclaimer: I won an ARC of this title via Netgalley.

 

                When you actually sit down and think about, what exactly did Sir Walter Ralegh actually do to deserve almost being a household name in today’s world?  You are more likely to have heard of him than Robert Cecil.  He is one of the famous prisoners of the Tower of London, isn’t he?  Thankfully, Anna Beer’s new book partially answers that question.  In fact, she answers it as much as is humanly possible.

 

                The book is less an examination of whether Ralegh was a traitor but how much he truly relied on self-promotion and proclamation.  It is about treading the minefields that were political life in both Elizabeth and early Jacobean English court history.

 

                While it is helpful to have a working knowledge of English history during the closing years of Elizabeth’s reign and the beginning of James, Beer’s writing is very engaging, and the pace is lively.  The chapters each deal an aspect of Ralegh – solider, husband, and on – and what is undoubtedly more engrossing than a simpler linear biography.

 

                What really sells the book are the subtle, at times funny, asides, such her musing about a codpiece, and her ability to not see her subject through rose-colored glasses.  There are examinations of Ralegh’s various relationships – in particular with his wife and with his rivals.  While one can’t say a better knowing of Ralegh as a man is a result of this book, one does get a better idea of how when he lived affected him.  It doesn’t make Ralegh into your drinking mate, but it deepens your understanding.

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