The Traitor’s Game – Jennifer A Nielsen



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.


I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Happy Tuesday, chums! Who loves a good hate to love romance? Oh, yes, that’s me. It is absolutely my favorite trope. Of all time. The problem with this favorite trope of mine? It’s almost impossible to get just right. If the characters give in too soon, you won’t believe that they actually ever hated each other. If they are too cruel to one another, it isn’t believable for them to ever fall for each other. The Traitor’s Game romance was, unfortunately, the first for me. However, I really enjoyed the plot of the book, it was well thought out. Let’s break it down a little bit.

Alright, so first off, the plot of The Traitor’s Game was unique for sure. There are politics, intrigue, betrayal, hidden weapons, and so many secrets its crazy. The author’s writing flowed smoothly and the plot moved at a relatively steady pace. First novels in Fantasy series’ tend to get a little info-dumpy and this one didn’t have that problem. I enjoyed all of the main and secondary characters as well as the relationships that developed between them. The villain was definitely easy to hate, something I absolutely love in a book.

Now, the romance. Le sigh, the romance was a let down for me. I liked the romantic interests – Kestra and Simon were both interesting narrators with understandable motives. However, the hate to love thing didn’t really work for them. Within the first 50 pages, they were already falling for each other. Simon wasted to kiss Kestra before the 100 page mark! Much too soon for a real love to hate. I wish that their past had been more deeply delved into. Simon mentions some big huge event that made him hate her, and then discusses it with her once, for about two seconds before forgiving her. It just felt so flimsy and that was a bummer.

Additionally, there were just a couple of things about the world building that threw me off. So, its set in a typical fantasy land, kind of medieval times, fancy dresses, etc. But, there are characters with tablets. What? How…why…I just don’t get it. It was just an added little thing that bugged me every time it was mentioned.

My Takeaway: The overall plot and world building in The Traitor’s Game were fantastic. I liked the politics and intrigue as well as the main characters. The romance was a miss for me, but the rest of the book kept me hooked!

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