Read: April 18th-20th, 2017
Series: Traitor's Trilogy, #1
Format: ARC, 352 pages
Source: Publisher/Raincoast Books in exchange for honest review
Description from GoodReads:
An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.
With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.
As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.
After living the longest and worst days of my life, I can not wait any longer to hold you again.
Before getting my hands on Traitor's Kiss to read and review, I heard quite a few different things about the book. Things ranging from it being a Mulan retelling, to receiving backlash for offending POC. In the end I received a copy for review, and even though I'd usually avoid something that's received bad praise for cases like this, I still ended up reading it for the publisher.
Right as you begin the book you notice why there is the backlash, just as the characters are being described, Erin Beaty insensitively refers to the Asian characters as dark when their complexion is described, and in some cases even refers to them "fading in the shadows". This happens throughout the book, sometimes frequently and sometimes not. With this being Beaty's first novel, one can hope that she has learned from her mistakes when it comes to future novels.
Although I was first introduced to the novel as a Mulan retelling, I wouldn't recommend it to people as one, I find that introduction to be a bit of a stretch from the truth. The novel itself does feature a lot of resemblances to the beloved story, but the story itself as a whole can't be seen as one. With connections to matchmakers, soldiers, and even some disguised deception, it's understandable why it was originally described as such.
I've read a lot of fantasy in my days of being an avid reader, a lot of them featuring soldiers and generals, etc. Never have I read a fantasy so in depth when regarding the tactics and strategies of the soldiers. The way Beaty described how Captain Quinn and his men acted was so intriguing and different all at once. Once I finished the novel I learnt that this was because Beaty was once a weapons specialist as well as a leadership instructor and actually knew her stuff. I found her expertise made the novel all that much more exciting, and found myself wanting to continue on with the book just because of the tactics and strategies.
I was a bit conflicted with our female protagonist Sage, her character fell into the trope of believing that she wasn't like the other girls in the regard that she shouldn't be given to the matchmaker to have her wed. Throughout the book when she travels with the Matchmaker, she even looks down upon the girls who her Matchmaker is setting up with people. When it came to her in these regards, I couldn't stand her. But in another case, I also admired and liked her for her spying techniques. I think the spying made her all that more interesting, but I wouldn't say that I'm a fan of hers.
If you're willing to look past the why Beaty describes her characters complexions, then I think Traitor's Kiss was a hit! I do not believe that a sequel has been purchased by the publisher quite yet, but when it does you can certainly see me on the top of the list of people who want to read it!
"You're a complication, Sage, one I never could have planned for."
Recommend to People Who Enjoy:
Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Military, Matchmaking, Strategy