Review: The Traitor’s Game

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



I am finally finding my way within the YA Fantasy genre. I know what I like and don’t like in my fantasy story and that makes me happy. Hence the reason I picked up The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen. It sounded like everything I wanted to read but sadly it fell incredibly short of what I was expecting.

Short recap: Kestra and Simon grew up together when they were very, very small but they drifted apart after Kestra was sent away for her own safety. While gone she was taught how to defend herself. After being gone for many years, Kestra returns to her home land to discover that she and Simon find themselves on the opposite sides of the political battle that has engulfed her family. See, Kestra is from the royal family and was sent back only so she could be betrothed to someone on behalf of her father. The entire time Kestra is trying to seek out the infamous blade that would help find the one person foretold to end the terrible times the land is going through and bring peace.

I know that recap is choppy but it is okay because the story was too. The story is told from two POVs: Kestra and Simon. No big surprise there. What did drive me nuts was that the voices of these characters sounded the same. There were many times when it sounded like the same voice telling the story when it was supposed to be the other one. It was an utter disappointment. I don’t feel these characters were flushed out enough to make me like them at all. Nothing about these characters impressed me. Not even the side characters! They were just as terrible.

I did not care what happened because everything fit into a ton of tropes and was just predictable from page one. You want a princess that was hidden away for her own protection but yet taught how to fight? Done. You want instalove with the long lost boy the princess spent time with? You got it! You say you want predictable bad character that you know for a fact is faking to be good but really bad? It is right here! You want a special snowflake that turns out to be the mysterious hero but play coy with it? Look no further.

The world building felt sub-par. Nothing was explained properly. There was supposed to be magic but it was rarely talked about and if it was, it was vague. The character kept talking about a huge prophecy but it seemed the only person who could truly understand it happened to be Kestra. No surprise there as she is the Special Snowflake of the story. You cannot honestly expect me to believe that she was able to solve everything in a few hours when people hadn’t been able to wrap their heads around it after a decade? Give me a break.

The biggest disappointment of this story, besides the tropes, instalove, lack of descriptions, and rather boring overalls story – the painfully terrible romance. I have already mentioned instalove but it was just cringe-worthy reading. It was awkward and not believable. I found myself skimming those paragraphs. Simon was always thinking about Kestra and vice-versa but it did not feel romance-y at all. It felt like a crush that never moved out of being a crush.

This was my first Nielsen book and I’m now scared to read the previous series. I know I won’t continue with this series. I don’t have enough of an interest to find out what happens because I do not care. I don’t have a dog in this fight anymore. I’ve washed my hands and am moving on. I know some people will probably enjoy this but sadly I am not one of those people.




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