I am so glad I decided to read this book! I had a bunch of misgivings after the overall good but uneven first in the series, Rebel Of The Sands, and had prepared myself for more of the same here, but Traitor To The Throne far surpassed my expectations. There were several annoying lapses in logic that could have been remedied with some thought and explanation: I thought the bit with Leyla and the djinn especially underwritten, in part because it felt Totally Obvious what was actually going on despite the confusion of events from Amani’s pov — a bit more storytelling from that last would have done the book worlds of good. Also? The last scene with Amani’s surgery and her thoughts of vengeance needed more writing. These are, however, minor flaws in the face of the sheer sweep of the book, as Alwyn Hamilton shows us both the flip side and the cost of rebellion.
It isn’t a spoiler to say that in this novel our heroine, the gun-slinging, half-djinn Amani, becomes a captive in the Sultan’s court, where she works feverishly to secure her position and earn his trust as a valued aide while siphoning critical information about his plans to the Rebellion. Ms Hamilton has written a really terrific book about politics and court intrigue, as Amani finds herself sympathizing with the Sultan’s quest to secure their kingdom (one should say sultanate really, but why quibble) of Miraji from foreign conquest. Because Miraji doesn’t exist in a vacuum: it is constantly encroached upon by foreign nations eager to take advantage of its unique weapons-making capabilities. Prince Ahmed’s Rebellion displays regime weakness to the powers waiting on the borders like carrion birds, and the Sultan is determined to crush it all, leaving Amani feeling like a traitor to her beloved homeland the more she spies.
In addition to excellent plotting, TttT retains all the wonderful world-building of the first book, as well as the sass and verve of our main characters. I liked that the romance with Jin didn’t dominate the story, and I especially liked the boldness of the twists Ms Hamilton threw in regarding the various characters, and especially Amani’s relatives. Shira is exceptional — a truly complex creation. And I loved how the book set up for the final novel in the trilogy, which I’m waitlisted for at the library now. I have no idea what to expect, tho, honestly. TttT was a game-changer, and I’m eager to see where Ms Hamilton goes with the series next.