The Traitor's Game (The Traitor's Game, #1)
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.

The Traitor's Game (The Traitor's Game, #1) Details

TitleThe Traitor's Game (The Traitor's Game, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 27th, 2018
PublisherScholastic
ISBN-139781338045390
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Young Adult Fantasy

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The Traitor's Game (The Traitor's Game, #1) Review

  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5*
  • Cait • A Page with a View
    January 1, 1970
    Release date: February 27, 2018 "Life doesn't give us what we want. It gives us what we need and asks what we will do with it." Oh, this was so much fun. It reminded me a bit of Ruined by Amy Tintera meets The Winner's Trilogy with hints of The Cadet of Tildor, the Mistborn trilogy, Roar, Red Queen, The False Prince, and a lot of YA fantasy books where a wealthy, sheltered girl has to deal with the consequences that come with truth and then joins the rebellion. The story starts out with Kestra b Release date: February 27, 2018 "Life doesn't give us what we want. It gives us what we need and asks what we will do with it." Oh, this was so much fun. It reminded me a bit of Ruined by Amy Tintera meets The Winner's Trilogy with hints of The Cadet of Tildor, the Mistborn trilogy, Roar, Red Queen, The False Prince, and a lot of YA fantasy books where a wealthy, sheltered girl has to deal with the consequences that come with truth and then joins the rebellion. The story starts out with Kestra being taken hostage by a group of rebels (they're not quite rebels but it's easiest to just call them that here instead of explaining everything). They take her friends hostage and threaten to kill them if she doesn't go back to her father's home to find/steal a mythical dagger that will help them bring down the evil immortal ruler guy. Kestra's life is at risk if her father finds out she's aiding the enemy, so she grudgingly puts on a good show while plotting ways to take down everyone. The story is told through the POVs of both Kestra and Simon. ALL of the characters have so much personality, but Kestra is seriously one of my new favorite YA fantasy characters ever. Her scowling, sarcastic wit is hilarious, yet never overdone to the point of being annoying. Plus, she's totally competent and way more complex than merely "tough." She's pretty terrified at times but still makes the hard choice to do what's right and let that define her instead of any family connections. Simon is a rebel assigned to guard Kestra and kill her if need be, but you can guess where that situation ends up (the whole princess/guard trope totally works here btw). The slow burn hate-to-love romance is believable and Simon ends up being torn between Kestra and his mission/people. I also really appreciated getting a strong backstory for the guy and a solid look into his perspective.The actual plot wasn't the most original thing ever, buuuut I didn't even care because the writing was super engaging. I just got really into the whole story and adored the characters. I suppose a few parts could have unfolded a bit more organically or been more developed (like anything with the villain and some scenes towards the end), but this was still a solid 5 stars because it was just plain fun to read. I truly do love these tropes and the typical YA fantasy story, so I mostly just want to see it told in a way that's still engaging. The execution here was good, so I'm perfectly happy. One of my favorite parts of The False Prince (another book by the same author) was how the main character kept information from the reader until the end. It's not quite an unreliable narrator... just enough to make it interesting. This story kind of did the same thing, so nothing was ever too predictable! You can still guess where it's going, but you aren't exactly sure how it will get to that point. I definitely recommend this if you love YA fantasy!!Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.
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  • Jennifer Nielsen
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, I'm biased, but I hope readers will love this book as much as I do. I adore Kestra's fire, intelligence, and desire to do the right thing - something that isn't always clear to her. I love Simon's dedication, courage, and devotion to the causes he cares about. And I'm fascinated by these two characters who are working their way toward the truth, but coming to it from completely different angles.If you read this and like it, then I also hope you'll follow this story through the sequels. I'm Yes, I'm biased, but I hope readers will love this book as much as I do. I adore Kestra's fire, intelligence, and desire to do the right thing - something that isn't always clear to her. I love Simon's dedication, courage, and devotion to the causes he cares about. And I'm fascinated by these two characters who are working their way toward the truth, but coming to it from completely different angles.If you read this and like it, then I also hope you'll follow this story through the sequels. I'm writing Book 2 right now, with more trouble for your favorite characters and some new characters that continue to build this world!
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  • jv poore
    January 1, 1970
    Abruptly abandoning her beloved Lava Fields, based solely on a demand from her paternal parental unit, is aggravating. The fact that it’s been three years and no reason was given for the reunion, is infuriating. When Kestra’s security carriage is attacked on the journey home, she flips from frustrated to fiercely furious, forgetting all about fear.Certainly, the people of Antora have a healthy respect for that anger. After all, her father is second in command to Lord Endrick. Those who actually Abruptly abandoning her beloved Lava Fields, based solely on a demand from her paternal parental unit, is aggravating. The fact that it’s been three years and no reason was given for the reunion, is infuriating. When Kestra’s security carriage is attacked on the journey home, she flips from frustrated to fiercely furious, forgetting all about fear.Certainly, the people of Antora have a healthy respect for that anger. After all, her father is second in command to Lord Endrick. Those who actually know the scrappy, skilled teen are more realistically wary of her wrath. The band of rebels, however, has too much at stake and too pat a plan to be thwarted. Kestra is kidnapped. Her guard and governess held as collateral. One captor poses as her lady-in-waiting, the other her driver and Kestra is taken into Highwyn and tasked with finding the Olden Blade to overthrow evil Lord Endrick. No one actually knows that the magic dagger exists. If it does, and she is able to locate it; then she will have to determine how much, if any, of the legend is true. This seemingly insurmountable problem pales when Kestra realizes the reason for her return.She is to be wed. Groom selected, arrangements made, the ceremony…stupidly soon. She has no say in the matter. With several sticky situations to solve, and only a small window of time, the story flies faster than Lord Endrick’s condors. Along the way, secrets are revealed. Kestra begins to believe that she fell in love with the idea of her country, without ever knowing the realities of her world. Burdened by new knowledge, the difference between enemies and innocents becomes blurry, but she must choose someone to trust.Kestra may be one of my favorite characters of all time. She is courageous, bold beyond belief and also positively petulant, with a tendency for tantrums. The perfect protagonist for this adventurous, action-packed fantasy. Mixed with a bit of magic, a completely captivating saga is created; a stellar start to a tempting trilogy (I’m guessing, here). This review was written for Buried Under Books by jv poore.
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  • Sabrina The Trash Queen
    January 1, 1970
    => I loved The False Prince so I’m definitely read this one.=> And I already can fell the romance on the description and I’m all for it. Damn, I’m a sucker for romance.
  • R.F. Gammon
    January 1, 1970
    OH WOW. I picked up this book on a whim at the library because it was on the new books shelf and because I had heard of the author from a lot of my friends. I meant to get the False Prince first...whoops. Excuse me whilst I go and preorder both book 2 of this series AND Resistance, the WWII Holocaust novel that Nielsen has coming out. Ahem. Now that that is out of the way...I LOVED THIS BOOK. I know I had it at four stars when I had first finished it, but the more I think about it....the more I OH WOW. I picked up this book on a whim at the library because it was on the new books shelf and because I had heard of the author from a lot of my friends. I meant to get the False Prince first...whoops. Excuse me whilst I go and preorder both book 2 of this series AND Resistance, the WWII Holocaust novel that Nielsen has coming out. Ahem. Now that that is out of the way...I LOVED THIS BOOK. I know I had it at four stars when I had first finished it, but the more I think about it....the more I think it deserves five. SO GOOD. The characters, for starters. I think the one downside to the characters (and this is genuinely the only downside!) was that Kestra's name was very similar to that of Kestrel, the heroine of the Winner's Curse trilogy. I loved Kestra WAAAAAY more than I did Kestrel, but since they were sort of similar stories, that was a little distracting. :P Other than that....I ADORED THEM ALLLLLL. Kestra and Simon were both wonderful little snarky cinnamon rolls, and their romance....ooh I loved it. And Trina was beautifully complicated and conflicted and I LOVED HER TOO. I think the only character I didn't like was Henry Dallisor....he and Lord Endrick (UGH to both of them, but in a horrible villain sort of way, not a bad-character sort of way.) The plot was mind-bending....I saw a couple of the twists coming, but not all of them. And I'm not usually crazy about the whole long-lost family thing, but this time I adored it (no spoilers if you haven't read the book, but it was executed really, really well.) The romance too. Argh I loved it. It didn't feel like instalove, somehow, even with the fact that the story is like four days....and I love childhood friends to enemies to lovers for some reason. (And enemies to lovers is always going to be one of my favorite tropes...) SO SO GOOD. I also loved that this book is a comp title for one of mine (I won't say which because that might be spoilers for MY book....but it is the comp for one of them ^_^) Which is SO COOL!!!!!! And let me just say: WHERE IS THE SEQUEL. Having read the synopsis for book 2 here on goodreads....NO NO NO NO NO NO. GIVE ME BOOK 2. PLEASE. I BEG YOU. 5 stars. 5 glorious stars. I love this book, and I need to get me some more Jennifer Nielsen ASAP.
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  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    Rating ~2.5 While, there wasn’t anything particularly bad about this, there also wasn’t anything particularly good or memorable about it either. The romance, if you can call it that, fell flat. Honestly, I thought Kestra had more chemistry in a few scenes with her betrothed than she did in any of her scenes with Simon. I cared about essentially none of the characters, and one of the few characters I did somewhat like died. It hasn’t even been a month and I sometimes struggle to recall what happe Rating ~2.5 While, there wasn’t anything particularly bad about this, there also wasn’t anything particularly good or memorable about it either. The romance, if you can call it that, fell flat. Honestly, I thought Kestra had more chemistry in a few scenes with her betrothed than she did in any of her scenes with Simon. I cared about essentially none of the characters, and one of the few characters I did somewhat like died. It hasn’t even been a month and I sometimes struggle to recall what happened in this book. Though, admittedly, I do remember if I give it a good amount of thought. But that for me makes it easier to define this book in one word: Forgettable *More detail review come?
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  • m a r y l i z
    January 1, 1970
    I AM SO TORN HOW TO RATE THIS.On one hand, I absolutely LOVED it - the sass, the setting, the plot twists, the character arcs . . . they are all so masterful.But on the other hand . . . I'm so very disappointed. Lovely Things: - Can we just recognize the extreme SNARK levels?? I'm convinced that Jennifer Nielsen is the master of witty writing. I laugh SO MUCH every time I read her books because the sass levels are off the charts. And yet, despite how many snarky characters she creates, they all I AM SO TORN HOW TO RATE THIS.On one hand, I absolutely LOVED it - the sass, the setting, the plot twists, the character arcs . . . they are all so masterful.But on the other hand . . . I'm so very disappointed. Lovely Things: - Can we just recognize the extreme SNARK levels?? I'm convinced that Jennifer Nielsen is the master of witty writing. I laugh SO MUCH every time I read her books because the sass levels are off the charts. And yet, despite how many snarky characters she creates, they all feel DIFFERENT. That is serious skill right there, to be able to uniquely craft wit to match a character's personality.- The character arcs. WHOA GOODNESS - I want to be able to craft character arcs like these! Kestra starts off as naive and spoiled, but her exterior shell crumbles as the book progresses to reveal a hurting, genuinely compassionate person who wears a mask of toughness to hide her desire to feel like she belongs. Truly a masterful character arc, in my opinion. It makes her a sympathetic character who is relatable but also incredibly deep. (Plus, you know . . . she's really snarky. *grins*) And Simon? He was another great character with a wonderful arc. Quieter and more even-tempered than Kestra generally, he has a heart that aches to help others. And like Kestra, he had a difficult past that often makes him put up barriers. Honestly, all the characters are really well fleshed-out, and they keep you guessing all. the. time.- The writing. I've seen a lot of reviews saying the writing is bad . . . but I don't see that at all?? I LOVE her writing style. It feels very organic and flows so well. Not to mention Jennifer Nielsen throws the best plot twists. Even if you occasionally see them coming, they somehow feel exciting and engaging.- The setting. AH YES - I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. I kind of like the darker, more mature feel of this book, but at the same time, it feels a little underdeveloped. I want to see MORE of this new world. (And I'm also not too sure if I like how dark it can get at times . . . ) Not-So-Lovely Things: - The romance. UGH WHY. I'm soooooo torn on this! I feel like it could have worked. It COULD have. But it didn't.Why?Well, for one: the fact that they go from hating each other to loving each other in the span of four days is completely ridiculous. I don't know how we're expected to believe this is actually love and that it's plausible. It's very attraction-based and honestly happens WAY too fast. Not a healthy relationship, in the slightest. Simon starts "falling for" Kestra the first night they travel together (and literally almost kisses her several hours after they meet - like no thanks :P). Another reason this doesn't work: there is next to nothing as far as communication is concerned. This romance is basically a trainwreck waiting to happen. The whole plot revolves around secrets and double-alliances and, well, tricking other people. Kestra and Simon both keep a lot of secrets and frankly don't know nearly enough about each other to start a relationship. A healthy relationship consists of communication, not just "chills" and "feeling a connection." No, that's called ATTRACTION. Not love. Although both characters change and are drawn to each other's personalities later-on (which could be the start of a good FRIENDSHIP), the romance feels very physically-based. (Though thankfully it never goes beyond kissing and thinking about kissing.)It could have worked, though, and I say this because I do feel like they could be a good match. However, in the context of this storyline, it's just kind of a disaster. I believe it would have been a good idea for them to become FRIENDS in this book and then perhaps later on a couple . . . but a romance in four days?? I CANNOT EVEN. *facepalm*- Honestly? It felt a little too "YA." Does that even make sense? I don't know. All I know is that it FELT more YA than all her other books. It was somehow darker and less unique than her other books. The romance was rushed and physical. It just . . . was kind of a disappointment. *sad face*CONTENT: A good deal of violence/torture that could be disturbing to some people but is never heavily described. Obviously, a lot of attraction between the MC's. Kissing (somewhat lengthily described), thoughts of kissing, touching of each other's faces, etc. One female character is searched for weapons by a man who gives her a thorough pat-down. (It's obviously uncomfortable for both parties, but it never really gets inappropriate.) Also, a male character apparently sees a little bit of when a female character is changing clothes (though she only strips down to a corset/shift). Probably recommended for teens about 14 or 15+.I have to say, this was an underwhelming read in many regards. Though I loved a lot of things about it, the romance was enough for me to round down my rating to three stars. I still loooove a lot of Jennifer Nielsen books, though, and as usual, the snark + characters were vastly entertaining!3.5 stars
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    3.5^
  • Nadhira Satria
    January 1, 1970
    2018 is the year of gorgeous book covers ayeee
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Stopped at 50 percent. I haven't read the very popular The False Prince series by this author, but my expectations were high because of the attention surrounding the other books.I have to say: I'm pretty disappointed. The premise of the book - a princess who must turn spy and traitor against her father - is a story I've read a ton of times already. The characterization was also pretty basic (tough heroine can take care of herself!) and a some big emotional strife is quickly demolished because HE Stopped at 50 percent. I haven't read the very popular The False Prince series by this author, but my expectations were high because of the attention surrounding the other books.I have to say: I'm pretty disappointed. The premise of the book - a princess who must turn spy and traitor against her father - is a story I've read a ton of times already. The characterization was also pretty basic (tough heroine can take care of herself!) and a some big emotional strife is quickly demolished because HELLO lust/attraction!If you're looking for high action/big stakes YA fantasy, then pick up Truthwitch by Susan Dennard or Ruined by Amy Tintera instead.
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  • C.P. Cabaniss
    January 1, 1970
    I really hate how this read ended up for me. The False Prince is one of my favorite novels, so I was very excited to get into another fantasy by Jennifer Nielsen. Unfortunately, this one did not work.DNF at page 266 of 388.I received a signed ARC of this at Yallfest in 2017.I was really excited to get into this book. I didn't even really know what it was about, aside from sparse descriptions, but it sounded like a lot of fun. And what I have appreciated in Nielsen's other books is the vivid char I really hate how this read ended up for me. The False Prince is one of my favorite novels, so I was very excited to get into another fantasy by Jennifer Nielsen. Unfortunately, this one did not work.DNF at page 266 of 388.I received a signed ARC of this at Yallfest in 2017.I was really excited to get into this book. I didn't even really know what it was about, aside from sparse descriptions, but it sounded like a lot of fun. And what I have appreciated in Nielsen's other books is the vivid characters that she brings to life and makes me love. But that didn't happen here. The novel is told from the perspectives of two characters, Kestra and Simon, both in first person. The two characters are on opposing sides of a political and physical battle, kind of. One of the big issues was the fact that there was not enough distinction between the two voices. Sometimes I would have to glance at the top of the page to see whose head I was supposed to be in. The dual perspective works really well in some cases, but the voices need to be more distinct. I was also really disappointed in the circular thinking displayed by both leads and even the side characters. Their thoughts were constantly circling around and around. They would say or think one thing only to contradict themselves a few sentences later and then it would revert back to what they originally said. This was about everything and it drove me insane!The world building was also lacking. The various kingdoms and peoples were not explained well, the technology was sparsely detailed, and the magic was never explained at all. There was also a strange prophecy that made little sense and a lot of the advances in the plot happened suddenly and simply. And the romance. It was bad. I know that Nielsen can handle romance better than this, so it was disappointing to encounter this. It was very much instalove and a lot of the circular thinking I mentioned earlier happened when the characters thought about each other. Also, I got really tired of Kestra thinking about how much she had learned and how strong she was and what she was going to do to make things right. There was little evidence that she had any training in self defense and all of her plans very shaky at best. I wanted to love this, but I just couldn't. There is always a possibility that I will try it again in the future. I do think that some people would really enjoy this, but right now I can't handle it.
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  • Scrill
    January 1, 1970
    bleeehhh.
  • Lona
    January 1, 1970
    I received a short preview of this book, so I only read about the first 20 pages or so. Nonetheless, I can’t see myself picking up the whole book so I’m going to mark this as a DNF. In the part that I read, there was a lot of telling and not showing, and it was really annoying to read. Plus, I really don’t like it when the YA heroines feel like they have to explicitly tell the reader she is tough and is not at all ladylike, heaven forbid! And that is what seemed to be happening with this book... I received a short preview of this book, so I only read about the first 20 pages or so. Nonetheless, I can’t see myself picking up the whole book so I’m going to mark this as a DNF. In the part that I read, there was a lot of telling and not showing, and it was really annoying to read. Plus, I really don’t like it when the YA heroines feel like they have to explicitly tell the reader she is tough and is not at all ladylike, heaven forbid! And that is what seemed to be happening with this book.... I am also seriously not okay with this heroine putting down other girls who do like sewing and other “girly” things! Ugh, the hate is not necessary. So yeah, based on the pages I read, I don’t see myself reading the whole thing.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Have you ever read a book where you felt it that it had so much potential but then it disappointed you . I really wanted to like this book and there were moments which I did but.... The Traitor's Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen follows a young noble lady Kestra Dallisor, who is ambushed on her way back home. The reason why Kestra is targeted is because her father is the right-hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick. The ones that ambushed Kestra want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blad, that could Have you ever read a book where you felt it that it had so much potential but then it disappointed you . I really wanted to like this book and there were moments which I did but.... The Traitor's Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen follows a young noble lady Kestra Dallisor, who is ambushed on her way back home. The reason why Kestra is targeted is because her father is the right-hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick. The ones that ambushed Kestra want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blad, that could kill Lord Endrick. Kestra, however, isn't a girl that will easily be told what to do. What I did appreciate I really liked that the story was told from the POVs of Kestra and Simon, it was really nice to see the two different perspective on the same event. I appreciated Kestra as a female YA character, she has a sarcastic wit which I really appreciated but was not overdone so she is not annoying. She is resourceful but she is not just this "tough kickass" one dimensional character. I know some people didn't like the writing style (based on reviews) but I actually liked it. I was interested in the world and the magic system and wished it was explained a bit more better, although I did like that it was more grim and bleak. Not so much like The Romance The romance between Kestra and Simon I believe is suppose to follow the hate to love trope. I am a sucker for the hate to love trope. I am not ashamed to say to it! However, this "love" between them that grew over four days =| No one falls in love after 4 days. I am sorry but no. I get they used to know each other as children but even then come on. He was a servant child and she was the daughter of the King's right-hand man. I am sure they were not allowed to be bffs. Their romance escalated from 0 to 100 very quickly. Also, there is clearly a lack of trust and communication between these two characters and I didn't really feel that spark you feel as a reader between them. I honestly felt that more with Kestra and Basil. Also, I didn't like how Simon would make judgement calls on behalf of Kestra like she was a child who couldn't think for herself or that it was his duty to "protect her" and just blurt out her secrets. He kept telling her to trust him but then he kept making the decisions of what to tell people. At the same time got angry when she called him out on it. Also, this instant protectiveness that no male was allowed to talk to Kestra (like when she was forced by her father to have dinner with Basil) was very annoying. (view spoiler)[I didn't like how the whole point of Kestra going along with the plan was to save her two servants and then when we find out one actually betrayed her and the other is her biological father (no shocker, I saw that coming a mile away) but then when I think her father died she wasn't more angry (hide spoiler)]Again, its not that I think its a bad book, far from being a bad book but it wasn't the book for me. Therefore, I will give this book 2.5 stars
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  • Olivia (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    This book sounds so interesting! It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy, and now that it’s winter, I feel like getting back into the genre. I am intrigued by the main character’s father being on the evil side and the rebels searching for the only weapon that can kill the king. I can’t wait to see how Kestra’s alliances change, and I am hoping for plenty of suspense. I am eagerly awaiting the release of The Traitor’s Game this February!
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    OMG!! This was so freakin good and I need the next book now and I don’t know when it’s going to come out 😫 Totally recommend!
  • Meekachii
    January 1, 1970
    Maybe a 1.5 out of 5? I'm honestly disappointed in this book. I wanted so much to like it but had so many issues. the only saving grace for this book was the part right before the end, which I almost didn't make it to, because I came so close to DNFing this book. I was honestly shocked to find that this author has written so many other novels before this because I kept thinking throughout this book that it was written very poorly. The characters felt underdeveloped and I didn't care about them.. Maybe a 1.5 out of 5? I'm honestly disappointed in this book. I wanted so much to like it but had so many issues. the only saving grace for this book was the part right before the end, which I almost didn't make it to, because I came so close to DNFing this book. I was honestly shocked to find that this author has written so many other novels before this because I kept thinking throughout this book that it was written very poorly. The characters felt underdeveloped and I didn't care about them...At All. The writing was very cut and dry. It didn't flow and almost felt too structured. Also, it felt as if the reader wasn't smart enough to deduce certain things on their own and we needed our hands held while reading it. For instance, the main character was always looking for weapons to keep herself feeling safe. Yet, when she was in search of new weapons, the author had to tell you over and over why she wanted them. Too many very simplistic things were explained to the point where it was like, why? The love interest was totally unrealistic and weird. It seemed like it came out of nowhere and happened far too quickly given the characters backgrounds. Pretty much everything about the love interest was just weird and made me cringe. The main characters seem to figure out complicated plot twists far too easily... stuff that a normal person would never deduce from the evidence given. Maybe I'm being harsh but this was just not for me....and I feel like that's an unpopular opinion given the ratings so far on the book.
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  • Lila Kims
    January 1, 1970
    Review based on Advanced Reader's CopyJennifer A. Nielsen has done it again! I was looking more at a 3.5 stars during the first hundred pages or so, but then something clicked and I fell. in. love. This book is amazing, guys. Simply amazing.There's not a lot of action, especially in the middle, but the character development is just AWESOME, okay?? At first, I didn't like tough girl Kestra, but as I got to know her and realized how complex a character she was, I became really attached to her. Sim Review based on Advanced Reader's CopyJennifer A. Nielsen has done it again! I was looking more at a 3.5 stars during the first hundred pages or so, but then something clicked and I fell. in. love. This book is amazing, guys. Simply amazing.There's not a lot of action, especially in the middle, but the character development is just AWESOME, okay?? At first, I didn't like tough girl Kestra, but as I got to know her and realized how complex a character she was, I became really attached to her. Simon is a dangerous lil ball of cuteness. Just my type. <3 <3 And even if she was a brat at first, Trina proved to be a complex character also. I mean, the highlight of this book is the CHARACTERS. Waiting for book 2 is going to be torture.Other things I loved: The magic. It was so creative. And the weapons too. Me likey. <3The romance. Dude, the romance was so clean and beautiful. Like, let me go sob in a corner because it was just perfect, how slow-burning it was, and how important to the plot. Just... yes.A bunch of other things. Basically everything.*shakes head in awe* Jennifer A. Nielsen has done it again.
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  • Zane Jones
    January 1, 1970
    I went into this expecting to be disappointed, and was pleasantly surprised. I LOVED a lot of things about this (the backstory! the character depth! the writing style! the characters! oh my!) but was still a little let down on a few points. One is that it still wasn't as good as the False Prince to me (which I really want to reread now) and definitely felt like it was for an older audience. There was a lot more kissing than I would have preferred, especially considering how long the chara I went into this expecting to be disappointed, and was pleasantly surprised. I LOVED a lot of things about this (the backstory! the character depth! the writing style! the characters! oh my!) but was still a little let down on a few points. One is that it still wasn't as good as the False Prince to me (which I really want to reread now) and definitely felt like it was for an older audience. There was a lot more kissing than I would have preferred, especially considering how long the characters had been together... I must admit I skimmed some of the kissing bits because they were too much. It's definitely more YA than the Ascendance Trilogy, so be warned. I DO love (view spoiler)[ Kestra and Simon together, because I think they just go together perfectly and are soooo sweet together, but it DID feel a little rushed. Also, like another reviewer mentioned, there was a lot of lying, betrayal, etc. going on. (hide spoiler)] There were a few other bits that annoyed me, although I can't remember what exactly now - for example, some of the clothing descriptions made me go, "Whaaat?" And a couple of things didn't fit together/make sense. But maybe that's just me. Also, WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THIS WAS NOT A STANDALONE? I THOUGHT IT WAS A STANDALONE AND IT'S NOT AND NOW I MUST WAIT ETERNITY FOR THE NEXT ONE. *growls* I neeeeed it. But the things I loved outweighed the annoyances and I enjoyed this novel very much. I can't quite decide on the rating, definitely 4 stars but maybe closer to 4.5. I'm eagerly awaiting the next one!
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  • Olivia
    January 1, 1970
    This is why you should pay attention to your two Cardinal Rules of book-buying * , Olivia. You brought it on yourself, you foolish girl.*sigh* Reading this felt similar to reading Scarlet. There was less smut, but the frustrating sensation of disliking an author's writing, lamenting the general "overdone-ness" of so many parts, while still being ever-so-slightly, maddeningly interested in the plot was the same.I honestly would have liked reading more about Kestra's time in the Lava Fields -- tha This is why you should pay attention to your two Cardinal Rules of book-buying * , Olivia. You brought it on yourself, you foolish girl.*sigh* Reading this felt similar to reading Scarlet. There was less smut, but the frustrating sensation of disliking an author's writing, lamenting the general "overdone-ness" of so many parts, while still being ever-so-slightly, maddeningly interested in the plot was the same.I honestly would have liked reading more about Kestra's time in the Lava Fields -- that sounded very promising indeed. Still, even as it was, the plot was engaging enough to keep me reading, like I said. That acknowledged, the writing itself was lacking for me. Parts of it showed promise, but in general it was too overdone and cliché. (For the love of everything holy and the sake of my sanity, authors, will you PLEASE stop using ellipses and paragraph breaks and sentence fragments to add this "dramatic impact" effect I keep seeing these days?! IT DOESN'T WORK.)*sigh the second*It seemed . . . sort of generic? Like, (view spoiler)[wouldn't it have been cooler if someone other than Kestra had been the Infidante? Maybe someone other than Simon could have been the "one to Rule"? (hide spoiler)]Speaking of Simon, the romance read like a Christian fiction a lot of the time. I think they work as a couple, given that they knew each other as children, but still. COOL IT WITH THE INSTA-LOVE, PEOPLE.(Also, I'm sorry, but that whole Olden Blade stuff is straight-up One Ring plagiarism territory.) (Though I'm sure it wasn't intended that way.)Will I read the sequel when it comes out, since this one did keep me reading "despite myself"? I don't know. Maybe. I'll probably be frustrated with myself if I do. But I might.Also, fret not thy souls, Nielsen fans -- I'm still very much looking forward to trying The False Prince. This one just gave me conflicted feelings.(The names are cool, though. That's a plus.)2.5 stars* 1) Don't ever buy at full retail price.2) Don't impulse buy.
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  • Rissa
    January 1, 1970
    The traitors game ⭐Just because she was kidnaped that doesnt mean she is going to make things easy for them. She isnt helping them, she is helping her if they fail then She dies. So she has motivation for them to not fail entirely. It was unique yet just like everything but I really enjoyed it. It was fast paced, action packed and I got through it really quick. I was invested in their lives and what happened to them. I loved how they fell in love. It was expected but I loved it! The traitors game ⭐️Just because she was kidnaped that doesnt mean she is going to make things easy for them. She isnt helping them, she is helping her if they fail then She dies. So she has motivation for them to not fail entirely. It was unique yet just like everything but I really enjoyed it. It was fast paced, action packed and I got through it really quick. I was invested in their lives and what happened to them. I loved how they fell in love. It was expected but I loved it!
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  • Alexa
    January 1, 1970
    Well, to be honest: If I hadnt read this book all at once, this probably would have ended as a DNF for me. I kept reading through the first half to see if my predictions were right and as I said only finished it because I kept going then. I really wanted to like this book because people compared it to Ruined and The Winner's Curse, but for me, the whole concept didnt work at all. My two major issues with this book were a) the tropes and b) the implausibility of just everything.Some of the tropes Well, to be honest: If I hadn´t read this book all at once, this probably would have ended as a DNF for me. I kept reading through the first half to see if my predictions were right and as I said only finished it because I kept going then. I really wanted to like this book because people compared it to Ruined and The Winner's Curse, but for me, the whole concept didn´t work at all. My two major issues with this book were a) the tropes and b) the implausibility of just everything.Some of the tropes used here were "the chosen one", the privileged naive girl who discovers injustice and others that would spoil you, so I won´t mention them. The plot lacked some originality and I know that is a harsh thing to say, but its what I felt while reading the book. It also contained one of the worst romances I´ve read about. You can´t call it insta-love because they knew each other for some time, but it felt like it anyways. Simon´s chapters all revolved around Kestra and we don´t get to know anything about his life when he isn´t with her. When an author chooses duo-perspective, the second POV needs to have a true purpose. This time it hadn´t.The implausibility in this book was mostly caused by too many plot twists. Not much was making sense to me after the plotline changed directions so often. (view spoiler)[And I don´t see why these twists even existed when in the end, she was the blade´s master nevertheless and all easy predictions were the right ones. (hide spoiler)]Maybe you might enjoy it, but sadly I can´t recommend it... PS: I gave it to 2s because I appreciate the author`s effort to create a strong female character and an exciting story. Also, the dialogue was cringy, but sometimes in a funny way. I´ll obviously not continue on with this series.
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 25%I decided to quit while I was ahead with this book because it was just so frustrating. It felt a lot like all the other white fantasies I've read in the past and I just wanted something different. This definitely wasn't for me and I'm sure it has the potential to get better, but I'm not going to waste my time with frustrating characters, a whitewashed world (or at least, a systematically white world), bland characters, and mediocre writing.
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  • mills♥
    January 1, 1970
    I REALLY REALLY LIKED IT but hated the characters. Why must they be annoying? Why!? The plot is interesting and I hope that the characters get better in the next book.
  • Lila (Hardcover Haven)
    January 1, 1970
    hahahahaha NOPE! i can't do it anymore--DNF at 30%this was so heavy-handed, cliche, and overdramatic that it became truly ridiculous. it was instalove TO THE MAX (!!!) with a near kiss at approximately 20%! not only that, but kestra begins to question her life-long, ingrained beliefs about politics after one incredibly MINOR brush with a girl in the market who tries to steal food. further, kestra's always super smug about being "smart," but i swear to god, she's one of the most naive and flat-ou hahahahaha NOPE! i can't do it anymore--DNF at 30%this was so heavy-handed, cliche, and overdramatic that it became truly ridiculous. it was instalove TO THE MAX (!!!) with a near kiss at approximately 20%! not only that, but kestra begins to question her life-long, ingrained beliefs about politics after one incredibly MINOR brush with a girl in the market who tries to steal food. further, kestra's always super smug about being "smart," but i swear to god, she's one of the most naive and flat-out senseless heroines i've ever read about. and don't get me started on simon, our second narrator, who supposedly "hates" kestra, but starts mooning over her literally the second he sees her! everything about this book made me groan...
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    Kestra is spoiled, reckless, whiny, headstrong, rude, selfish and by page 110 I loved her. She is a flawed character, due to upbringing, but by no means dumb. Her quick wit, cunningness is reminiscent of Meghan Whalen turner’s Queen’s Thief (though really no one can really compare to Gen). I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the False Prince, but it did have its moments. There were some good plot twists and the action rolled along pretty fast. For me the weakness was the silly instalove r Kestra is spoiled, reckless, whiny, headstrong, rude, selfish and by page 110 I loved her. She is a flawed character, due to upbringing, but by no means dumb. Her quick wit, cunningness is reminiscent of Meghan Whalen turner’s Queen’s Thief (though really no one can really compare to Gen). I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the False Prince, but it did have its moments. There were some good plot twists and the action rolled along pretty fast. For me the weakness was the silly instalove romance. The whole book took place in 4 days and Kestra and Simon went from being mortal enemies to angst-y lovers...whaaaat? The story focused way to much on that and the actual rebellion stuff seemed secondary. Come on Nielsen you are better than that! I’m really hoping to see more of Basil in the next installments. He seemed a decent guy with great potential but was a toss away character in this book. Not looking for romance, just plot development with him. I think he has a lot to offer. Simon didn’t seem so special. He was cookie cutter bad boy Dreamy McDreamson hero like Tobias “Four” or Jace. Expansion on the twist at the end, pertaining to Simon, could make him into a more interesting and well rounded character if done right and if he can stop pining over Kestra.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars
  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    For more of my reviews, visit my blog As the Book Ends or follow me on my Bookstagram!I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest reviewMy Rating: 3.5 StarsHappy 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 c For more of my reviews, visit my blog As the Book Ends or follow me on my Bookstagram!I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest reviewMy Rating: 3.5 StarsHappy 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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  • Morgann
    January 1, 1970
    “One to Vanquish, One to Rule, One to Fall, But All to Fool,”2.5 Stars. I have to be honest and say that although I wanted to love this book, I ended up feeling disappointed... Summary: In the kingdom of Antora lives Kestra Dallisor. After 3 years in the Lava Fields, she is brought back to the kingdom by her cruel father. Beside her father is Lord Endrick, the evil king. But a group of rebels discover her travelling and capture her. The rebels main goal: To retrieve the lost Olden Blade. And now “One to Vanquish, One to Rule, One to Fall, But All to Fool,”2.5 Stars. I have to be honest and say that although I wanted to love this book, I ended up feeling disappointed... Summary: In the kingdom of Antora lives Kestra Dallisor. After 3 years in the Lava Fields, she is brought back to the kingdom by her cruel father. Beside her father is Lord Endrick, the evil king. But a group of rebels discover her travelling and capture her. The rebels main goal: To retrieve the lost Olden Blade. And now with Kestra as their prisoner, they can. The Olden Blade has the power to kill the King, Lord Endrick and the rebels will do anything to get it back. OKAY, one of the things I didn't particularly like about this book was the characters...- Kestra - Although at some points she showed true bravery and heroism, I still didn't like her. She annoyed me for most of the book- Simon - Ugh I don't even know where, to begin with, this guy. All I can say is that he has some DEFINITE mood swings. One moment he's mad, then happy, then in love. - Ceila - Weak. Cowardly. (view spoiler)[ TRAITOR (hide spoiler)]And the other characters weren't much better. Now onto the romance. I hated it. This can't really be defined as "INSTA LOVE" because they knew each other as children, but it could be "SOME-WHAT INSTA LOVE" It was just eh. Simons whole life basically revolved around Kestra's at some points and it seemed really boring. Another thing I didn't like was that there was no expectedness. I don't know if it was just me, but at the end when (view spoiler)[ when Trina was supposedly the Infidante I already knew what she wasn't and Kestra actually was (hide spoiler)] I also just found it kind of boring at sometimes. I am still wishing that I liked it better.
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